The Boyne Currach
From beneath the shadows of Newgrange
Claidhbh Ó Gibne
This book tells the fascinating story of a remarkable vessel with prehistoric origins: the Boyne currach. Well-informed and imbued with stories from around the globe, it is written in an energetic and accessible style, reflecting the author’s love for these boats. It is a pioneering piece of work that throws new light on an ancient Irish craft. An overview of the history of the Boyne currach and related skin boats is followed by a how-to guide with instructions on how to build your own currach, including the materials needed, where to source them and how to master the age-old techniques of weaving and binding. With so few currach-makers left, the author hopes to preserve this craft for generations to come. The final section of the book details the Newgrange Currach Project, a unique endeavour to recreate the currach used by the builders of the Newgrange passage tombs to transport stones from far away. At 34ft in length, this wicker currach represents an incredible feat of boat engineering and a piece of living history. On completion, it will embark on a journey mirroring that believed to have been taken by the Neolithic tomb-builders, traveling as far south as Spain.
Written by a master craftsman, who brings his unique experiences and skills to bear as he explains the traditional craft of currach-making, this book contains over one hundred colour and black & white images. Together, these comprise a visual history of the River Boyne currachs and the people who made their living from and in them.
Claidhbh Ó Gibne is an artist and currach-maker whose studio and home are located among the remnants of countless monuments in the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Park. The Boyne Currach Centre (www.newgrangecurrach.com) opened in 1997, is the culmination of his life’s work, and it is here that Claidhbh has produced different prototypes of sea currachs, made from tanned cowhides and hazel baskets. He is currently working on a 34ft craft of a style and sturdiness that could have brought some of the earliest settlers to Ireland and transported the giant stones to build the great passage tomb at Newgrange, which overlooks Claidhbh’s home and workshop at Donore, Co. Meath.