Said to be the oldest rowing regatta in Ireland and the oldest traditional regatta in the world, the Killarney Regatta is a proper fixture on Killarney’s summer calendar. It’s now in its 229th year and is showing no signs of slowing down as it fast approaches a quarter of millennium as Killarney’s no.1 rowing festival. Held in O’Mahony’s Point, Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, it’s an event which locals just love and visitors too are always welcome to join in in the festivities. This year’s edition is taking place on Sunday the 13th July.
Ok, so let’s give a bit of a lowdown on the Killarney rowing scene before we begin to discuss the 2014 edition. Killarney has a long and illustrious history in rowing which is not a surprise due to our excellent facilities for aquatic activities i.e. our three lakes. This regatta began in the 18th century and has been reported on and documented by countless journalists since. If you’d like to find out more on the history of the regatta you can check out this page. There are currently five rowing clubs in Killarney who compete in this event. They are Muckross, Commericals/St Brendan’s, Flesk Valley and Workmen’s. The regatta is unique as the crews do not compete in the modern, slider boats which you would see in the Olympics or The Boat Race in London but rather in old sixes, which are big, heavy wooden boats that carry, as you may have guessed, six people. Having had experience myself in rowing these boats I can tell you it’s no joke!
A number of different age groups compete in the regatta beginning at underage with U14 boys and girls and continuing right up to the senior men’s and women’s crews. The crews are extremely dedicated and you can probably bet your bottom dollar that they’ll be training daily from now right up until the regatta itself. The day begins with the younger crews and ends with the senior crews which are always hotly anticipated clashes to determine who will get local bragging rights for the year. There’ll be food vans and entertainment on site too and it’s a perfect chance to mingle with the locals.