About Us

The West Cork Maritime Heritage Company is located in Baltimore, with the objective of providing a recreational and educational centre for everyone, especially tourists, by building a Museum of Maritime Heritage with hands-on activities, teaching traditional boat building and sailing skills so that they are not lost, teaching maritime archaeology, and rescuing and conserving traditional West Cork craft.

The beautiful sheltered waters of Baltimore Harbour has provided one of the safest anchorages along the rugged south-west coast of Ireland for centuries, even millennia. This determined the location of the village and it’s central part in our maritime history, linking many nationalities engaged in trade, fishing and piracy, possibly back to the Bronze Age with the Cornish tin trade. There is a wonderful story to tell.

The planning of this project began in 2012, and our Not-for-Profit Company Limited was registered in 2014. The founding members are all committed to our maritime cultural heritage, and include professional archaeologists, boat builders, sailors, artists, historians, and an IT specialist.

We use the name CUAS with our logo, – a West Cork Irish word for a little cove, place of shelter.

Mission Statement

We want everyone to benefit from the unique and fascinating cultural resource that is West Cork’s maritime heritage. This heritage is not renewable, so we aim to enthuse the public by teaching traditional boat building and sailing skills so they are not lost, teaching maritime archaeology, rescuing and conserving traditional West Cork craft, conserving and displaying marine artifacts, and building educational displays on the maritime history and culture of West Cork.

Background

West Cork and Baltimore in particular has a rich heritage of seafaring, trading, fishing and boat building. There is still a living tradition of wooden boat building and all of the ancillary skills in the area, which must not be lost.

A revival of interest in the traditional working craft of West Cork started in Baltimore in 1997 with the construction of the Noble Shamrock, a 33 foot long mackerel yawl displacing about 7 tonnes, built by Hegarty’s Boatyard at Old Court, Baltimore, from measurements taken from one of the last surviving hulls of her type, the Shamrock that was built in Baltimore in 1910, and renowned for her speed and sailing qualities. Three other craft of this type were built over the next few years.

This sparked interest in a revival of the traditional Heir Island Lobster Boat, a 25 foot sailing vessel displacing about 2.6 tonnes. In 1999 the last remaining boat of this type, the Hanora built in 1893, was rescued and from her lines a replica was built in 2000. others were built at Hegarty’s yard, and the Hanora herself was restored by 2005 so that a total of six lobster boats are now sailing locally, and a seventh has been started in recent months.. The most recent addition to the fleet is a 5 tonne, 28 foot gaff cutter built in the Baltimore Fishery School in 1893, fully restored by Hegarty’s boatyard and re-launched in May 2014.

This activity generated a lot of interest in West Cork, and even internationally, and those involved with these craft held the first Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival in 2002, which was such a success that it has been held annually since. The organisers of this festival whose numbers include two shipwrights and two maritime archaeologists conceived the idea of the West Cork Maritime Heritage Centre which is now coming to fruition.

Governance

The West Cork Maritime Heritage Company is working towards compliance with the The Governance Code for the Community, Voluntary and Charitable Sector in Ireland. This process will take about one year, and was started in September 2015. Our name has been added to the List of Organisations on the adoption journey, see http://www.governancecode.ie/organisations.php

Company Details

The West Cork Maritime Heritage Company Limited

Company No. 550352. A Company Limited by Guarantee without a Share Capital

Registered Office: 28 Dun na Sead, Baltimore, Co. Cork

Bank: AIB, Account IBAN IE41 AIBK 9363 7512 1491 85 (BIC: AIBKIE2D)

Charitable tax exemption granted 03/02/2015, Number CHY 231403

Registered Charity Number (RCN) 20141820

Directors: Mary Jordan (Chairperson) Eoin Ryan, Brian Marten, Barney Whelan