History of Rowing on the Garavouge

Rowing & Sailing were common skills for many of those who lived near or beside the shores of Lough Gill with the result that in the early 1800’s many vibrant skiff or fixed seat rowing clubs existed around the shores of Lough Gill including Hazelwood, Gold Diggers, Holy Well, Rockwood and Aughamore. Racing boats were fixed seat clinker-built wooden types with a draft of no more than 18 inches which were crewed by four oarsmen, each with a single oar with a cox sitting in the stern. Regattas courses were typically 1500 metres with a turning buoy being an integral part of the course where races

could be won and lost on the turning ability of the crew and cox. During the summer there was a series of regattas held on the lake with the culmination of the season being the Aughamore regatta. This was always held on the August Bank Holiday Monday and was eagerly anticipated by both the various clubs and spectators. Skiff rowing did go into decline somewhat for a short period but thankfully is now experiencing a revival around Lough Gill where regattas are being held again annually at Parkes Castle.

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Olympic Slide Seat Rowing History in Sligo

Slide seat boats of a much lower draft than the clinkers and termed outriggers because of the oar rigging were first seen on the Garavogue River in the 1950’s when teams were invited from the River Bann Rowing Club in Co. Antrim with the founding of Sligo Amateur Rowing Club with Reb. B. Davis B.A as coach.  

Unfortunately, in October 1958 the Sligo Champion reported the following …

“After only a few years existence, the Sligo Amateur Rowing Club has been wound up. This step was taken at two general meetings held recently when Chairman, Ald. Fallon and Mr James Carroll were appointed to carry out the necessary formalities and realize as much as possible from the assets”

In the 1990’s Peter Osborne founded the club Sligo Olympic and had a men’s novice sweep four on the water with the crew carrying their boat from the Sligo Racecourse

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