St Patrick’s Rowing Club, Ringsend

I developed an interest in the rowing club as a spectator over the past fifteen years because I live facing the river Liffey. I’ve seen the members practice their skills regularly in the evenings after work, and racing on the weekends. Once a year they hold their own regatta, and they also have a service for the blessing of the boats.
St Patrick’s Rowing Club is celebrating its 83rd birthday this year, 2019.The club was founded in 1936 by the hobblers and friends, and their descendants can still be found in the area. There is a memorial beside the clubhouse celebrating their effort, and a Hobblers’ Bench built into an old anchor. The hobblers were men in a very competitive business. They had small lightweight boats and they would row out to meet the large ships coming into port. The first boat to reach the ship would agree a price to guide it in and unload its cargo. This was very dangerous work, as they were often going out into rough seas and, at times, taking cargo on board that was too large for their small boats. They were in danger of capsizing and losing members of their crew.
In 1934 a tragedy involving the drowning of three young hobblers was the reason for a formal prohibition of hobbling by the Ports and Docks Board in 1936.
There are over sixty members in St Patrick’s Rowing Club, and nowadays they are mostly women. The ages range from thirteen to over sixty. Each boat has a crew of four.
The rowing season begins in April and continues throughout the summer. St Patrick’s compete in competitions all over Ireland, England and Wales. The clubhouse has its own gym and a lounge upstairs for members, with display cabinets showing all the trophies they’ve won.
The clubhouse is at the junction of Thorncastle Street and York Road, beside the East Link Bridge. The club also has a workshop for making boats and oars at Pembroke cottages.