On Thursday last, members of Foyle Rowing Club went to the Foyle Hospice to deliver a cheque for E10,210, the proceeds of their very successful fund raising event earlier this year.
On July 9th the club undertook the hazardous Colmcille Challenge, when two teams from the small Foyleside club rowed from Port Ellen, on the island of Islay, to Greencastle.
They were joined for the challenge by two teams from Islay, and a total of 40 rowers rowed in relays across the treacherous 44 mile North Channel.
Foyle Rowing Club rowed their new Celtic Longboats, and the men’s team came home in a time of seven hours 45 minutes, while the women’s team followed them into harbour three hours later. The two Islay teams, rowing heavier traditional yawls, arrived shortly afterwards following a gruelling 12-hour row.
Having been seen off by the Festival of the Sea on Islay, which was attended by Foyle Rowing Club, Moville Boat Club, Inishowen Traditional Music Project and all the many support crews, the teams arrived back to a rapturous welcome in Greencastle, with crowds cheering them on as they rowed the final stretch in front of the village and into the harbour.
There followed a weekend of celebration with the inaugural Colmcille Festival in Greencastle.
Completing the Colmcille Challenge was a tremendous achievement for the Moville based club. In addition to preparing for the physical challenge, members organised funding, made links with their sister community on Islay, and organised a trans-national maritime event.
The club would like to acknowledge the huge support it got from many sources and without which, the event could not have happened. Funding was received from IDP, and many local Inishowen businesses sponsored the event. Practical support came form many sources, including the Coast Guard, local sub-aqua clubs, local fisherman who offered advice and support, Scoil Colmcille, and many individuals who helped.
In tandem with all this, a fund-raising drive was under way for the Foyle Hospice. The Islay team collected £1,700 during the Festival of the Sea and presented this to Dr. Tom McGinley on arrival in Greencastle.
Foyle Rowing Club collected E8,300 from individuals, groups and corporate donations.
The club would like to acknowledge the generosity of all who contributed and a special thanks to primary schools throughout Inishowen, who held no-uniforms days and other fundraising events in support of this venture.
While the club has tentative plans to re-run the Colmcille Challenge in 2013, members are already in training for the Celtic Challenge in May 2012 when they plan to row across the Irish Sea, which at 90 miles, is the world’s longest rowing race.
The club is open to all and new members are very welcome!