Young canoeists enjoy the sunshine and the Suir.
ARDFINNAN CANOE CLUB
Ardfinnan Canoe Club was formed after a bunch of guys partook in the very successful Canoe-B-Qs hosted by Knockmealdown Active in 2014. Seven participants so enjoyed the experiences that they decided to form a club.
Their aim was to offer as many people as possible the opportunity to explore our serene River Suir.
Clonmel Workmans Boat Club very kindly donated three kayaks which dampened the rancour and members purchased some boats and equipment. Contact was made with Clonmel Canoe Club, who were like a big brother to their fledgling club, providing helpful advice in drawing up a plan. They got in touch with Canoeing Ireland and were loaned a trailer load of boats, equipment and safety gear.
Will Nugent of Suir Valley Adventures explained further: “We now had a fleet and were attracting interest from people who wished to join us. Any experienced kayaker will tell you the most important thing in kayaking, as in all watersports, is training.”
Tipperary Sports Partnership arranged a series of training weekends and in a few months we had 15 members certified level 2 paddlers. There are now 23 junior members and 28 senior members.
Paddling is a unique way to explore the sheer majesty of our River Suir, its stunning landscapes and rich diversity of flora and fauna. There is a thrill when one glimpses the darting turqoise flash of a Kingfisher, getting up close and personal with playful otters, gliding with a balletic family of swans in everchanging views of picturesque county Tipperary. Pleasure/leisure kayaking mixes a good physical workout in Old Momma Nature’s outdoor gym.
But there is also sport to be had and we are blessed to have a top notch slalom course, recently constructed in Clonmel, a perfect training ground for those who wish to participate in the fast and furious. Tipperary Sports Partnership continued to arrange and part-fund, upskilling courses and we competed in several National Championships, bringing home a haul of medals and a strut in our stride. We also received a grant from the Capital Sports Fund which allowed us to buy eight boats and saftey gear and equipment.
Our search for white water takes us to our sister rivers the Nore and Barrow as well as the Blackwater, Lee, Liffey, Shannon, Nire, Aherlow and Anner. We also make the odd dash to the ocean to play in the surf. The club is delighted with the success of Mark and Rory, both of whom have beaten the best in the country in freestyle competition.
Covid put a sudden stop to our gallop and the boats were dry for many months. As restrictions eased we found our past-time is perfect in these difficult times. Healthy outdoor fun and easy to maintain personal distance and a wonderful experience for the senses.
Two club members formed Suir Valley Adventures offering classes for complete beginners and trips around Cahir and along sections of our lovely Suir. To book contact Will 083 1772626 or on Facebook Suir Valley Adventures.
Ardfinnan Canoe Club continues to grow with a strong cohort of senior members and a flourishing junior section who bring a slash of colour on the waters around Cahir. We are very grateful for all the help, support and encouragement we received from individuals, companies and organising bodies. Special thanks to Darren Ward, for in-house competition trophies, Cllr Andy Moloney and Cahir Tidy Towns, SuperValu Cahir, Valerie Connolly and all at Tipperary Sports Partnership, Canoeing Ireland, iCanoe, Ardfinnan Tidy Towns, Knockmealdown Active, Philip McCormack, Paddy McCormack, Susan Doyle, Shay Hurley, Clonmel Workmans Boat Club, Cahir Boy Scouts and the Mammys and Daddys who do trojan work getting our juniors on and off the water safely.
Ardfinnan Canoe Club take pride in the fact that they look after the river too, doing regular clean ups on the river and riverside and special days are organised for cleanups in conjuction with Tidy Towns groups. Their motto is “we take nothing but memories and leave nothing but ripples”.