Barrow Cots’ were the traditional mode of transport on our local waterways. These Cots were beautiful 18 foot long vessels that were expertly hand made by skilled crafts men and boat makers in the locality.
With the advent of motor-propelled vehicles their need was no longer necessary and the sight of gondola type boats with their captains at the helm vanished off the barrow.
However, as part of an initiative with local bodies, including Athy Community Enterprise Centre, a project was undertaken to replicate one of these boats and put it back into the water.
The long term vision is to build more boats in doing so create a social and community amenity that can be enjoyed by all in the town.
There is also the possibility of creating social enterprise, a micro economy and a tourism amenity should the project extrapolate out from a single boat.
The new boat was made of a combination of salvaged cedar and hard wood from local sources. The goal was to replicate a traditional boat using as much reclaimed wood as possible. It was all hand built and hand painted.
The work was shared by the men at Athy Community Men’s Shed. It was a unique and special project that generated excitement and a high level of involvement.
Speaking of the shed’s involvement, David Kenny, one of the boats builders said “The project was a new and exciting challenge for us here in the shed. We had no experience of boat building in itsel;f but we do have a group of skilled and creative guys who decided that we could study boat building and teach ourselves how to do it. I’m more than delighted to say that we succeeded”.
Another shed member, Pierce Mcloughlin explained how the project brought the men together and the benefits the men experience whilst working on the project.
“It was a huge challenge for us, but through teamwork, some trial and error, and some genuine dedication and hard work, we got it done. Working on projects such as this brings the community together, it brings people together, gives them a sense of involvement, challenge and excitement, and completing it has given all of us a huge sense of satisfaction and pride. We hope that this won’t be the last project of this sort for the town!”
The barrow cot is now ready for its official launch!
What the men who took part in the project thought while making the Barrow Cott
Kevin – “ The project strengthened the unity of the membership in the Men’s Shed. It was a pleasure to work on the project – A learning experience”
John –“ very interesting project , we learned so much – can’t wait to build more “
Pierce-“ Learnt new skills working with like minded people – the biggest benefit was discussing with my peers issues I was trying to cope with”
Liam-“ It ment comradeship working with chaps I did not really know that well – it was educational , a great experience. It formed a bond with the lads worked together – took advice and opinion’s and generated respect for each other”
Pat-“comradeship – especially to the lads who never built a boat before, great to see and hear fellows talking to each other , The lads should be proud”
Gerry –“ delighted to of being part of this , never knew we might get such a lovely boat made ,considering none of us had ever tried building one before. The amount of interest from inside and outside the shed towards making a Barrow Cott was huge , not just in Athy , but from Kilkenny where they had made them before and from overseas too”