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.
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
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