Curraghs are an ancient type of boat native to Irish shores built by sewing a tough skin of ox-hides over a light canoe-like frame of wooden splints, and driven by oars and a square-sail of woolen cloth. Canvas-covered curraghs are still used as fishing skiffs in western Ireland, and are very seaworthy in heavy weather. Their ability to undertake deep-sea voyages was proven in the 1970s when the adventurer Timothy Severin crossed the Atlantic, from Ireland to Newfoundland, in a replica of an ancient curragh named Brendan.
Canvas-covered curraghs such as this fishing boat on Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula are the descendants of the skin-covered craft which first carried Irish explorers to the Faeroe Islands, Iceland and, perhaps, beyond.
These vessels were once a common site in the channel between Campbeltown, Rathlin and Ballycastle.
See a replica at:
Derry Harbour Museum
Harbour Square, Derry, Co Londonderry BT48 6AF, Northern Ireland
Tel: +44 (0)28 71 377331, 365151
Fax: +44 (0)