Boat building builds bonds

THE first Barrow Cot boat is almost finished and the Athy Men’s Shed members hope to have the boat on the water shortly. The Kildare Nationalist has chosen the project as one of its entrants in the Get Involved 2105 community projects and work on the first boat is nearly complete and plans are in train to hopefully start work on several more boats over the coming weeks and months. Athy Men’s Shed member Pierce McLoughlin explained how the boat has taken shape.

“We were using an old boat as the basis for the design and five of us, Kevin Vernal, John Crenney, Liam Regan, Immed Hammah and myself, have worked on the boat, starting from the bottom up. The boat is a flat bottomed boat and we laid out the base which is three long planks of wood and from there we stepped out the ribs working out from the centre. Once we had that done we started on the sides and put the pieces in place until we had the body shape that we needed. Then we worked up along the sides. We are waiting for the end pieces now and we hope to put them in place shortly. It was like making a large jigsaw. We are waiting for marine paint to come and we will apply underlay felt and a bitumen base to the bottom of the boat to water proof it.

The seats will be black and there will be a black line along the side and the rest of the boat will be sky blue.” Once on the water the boat will be navigated by a long pole similar in style to the one used on the Venetian gondolas. Pierce says the project has brought the men closer together as a team. “We sat down and plotted how we were going to do it before we got started and step by step as we have been going along if someone suggests an idea we trash it out among ourselves to agree how the idea will be executed.

The project has created a great buzz within the group and when the door is open people drop by to see how we are getting on with it. It has increased the morale within the shed. We have pulled together very well to get it done and we are raring to go if we get the funding for the other boats. The idea is that we will have several boats on the river for people to hire and as a tourist attraction in the town.”


Hard at work on the first Barrow Cot boat in the Men’s Shed in Athy
Hard at work on the first Barrow Cot boat in the Men’s Shed in Athy