The sun broke through the clouds right on cue last Sunday evening to ensure that Mullinasole provided a very picturesque setting for the annual Blessing of the Boats and revived Regatta. The evening’s proceedings began with Reverend Huss and Father Dagens blessing all the sea crafts at Mullinasole Pier for the year ahead.
The skiff racing then began in earnest with a strong entry of rowing teams from Killybegs, Cloughaneely, Inver, Mountcharles and Donegal Town. After three closely contested heats, crews from Killybegs, Inver and Donegal qualified for the final. The recently reformed Killybegs rowing club took first place and the team of Jonathan Melly, Teresa Gallagher, Tasha Petters, David Hegarty and Shaun Curran were presented with a cup and medals by Martin Quinn of the Salmon Inn.
The Raft Race quite literally provided a barrel of laughs as well as the winning team’s name. It was the ‘Jelly Fish’ team who started off strongest but then got caught in the buoy at the half way mark. The Donegal Bay Rowing Club team were very photogenic but seemed to flounder soon after the start. Going around in circles, they began to row back for the pier wall and finish line in the hope that the judges had taken a nap, but were still overtaken by the ‘Barrel of Laughs’, who could chance entering their homemade craft in the regatta proper next year. As for the Donegal Bay rafters, there’s always next year girls.
Well done to Dara Quinn who provided a lively commentary as he paced diligently up and down Mullinasole Pier with his microphone. Well done also to Siobhan and Sinead Mc Gowan and Martin and Margaret at the Salmon Inn who sponsored the prizes and helped organise a terrific evening.
It is great to see such a strong revival in rowing clubs among coastal communities right around the Donegal Bay area. Its been 35 years since the last skiff races in Drumholm and there are already tentative talk of training and entering a rowing team from Mullinasole in next year’s regatta which could only further enhance local interest.