The 12 Crew members:
These are the hardy Munster based women's crew assembled to take part in this years Celtic Challenge row. They come from all sorts of rowing backgrounds and most have not rowed together before January 2019. This crew only started rowing in a Celtic Longboat in March 2019!
The ocean is Elaine Winters true home. From summers spent racing with the coastal clubs, to Currach racing with Naomhóga Chorcaí in Barcelona, joining gondeliers in Venice, and crossing the north channel around the Mull of Kintyre.
With the Skelligs, Blaskets, Cape Clear, Aran Islands, Fastnet all conquered - in the company of wonderful fellow passionate rowers - the Celtic Challenge called.
Time to rise and follow the call!
Paula was three, stood on an outside ledge three floors high calling “Hello everybody”
Her mother saved her.
She was eight, walked to an island; the tide came in, cut her off. She saved herself.
May 6th 2019, arrives in Aberystwyth “Hello everybody”. Part of an amazing crew this time!
“I’ve been rowing currachs for ten years. Made it into the finals in the La Regata de Currachs del Mediterráneo en Barcelona.
Opera music heralded the beginning of Il Vogalonga di Venezia. The Italian city’s annual regatta as we proudly rowed our currachs.
Under 28 bridges in London’s Great River Race we rowed to a glorious finish.
Back home, have circumnavigated ‘our own lovely Lee’
Felt white horses crash over us out at Roches Point as an Rás Mór /O2C was under way again for another year.
Raced into Baltimore from Skibbereen for ‘The Wooden Boat Festival’
Entered New Ross Port via River Barrow from Graiguenamanagh in Kilkenny,The Aran Islanders welcomed us as did the wonderful Cork people as we island hopped around Roaring Water Bay.”
“She seemed to see a flash of bright sunlight on dark green water, fragmented into brilliant shards by the splashing rise and fall of oars.”
― J.K. Rowling. The Casual Vacancy
There’s always been a vacancy and a céad mile fáilte to row and arrive
A teacher from Timoleague, Anna O’Sullivan is originally from Ardfert in Kerry.
With Courtmacsherry rowing club, summers are spent at yawl rowing regattas, winters, sculling in FISA offshore craft.
Long distance, Anna has competed in five of Cork’s Ocean to City races, two Great Island Rows, and also completed the Barrow Challenge.
“The Celtic Challenge may finally cure me of this rowing addiction”
“In pursuit of a relaxing, genteel pastime I thought rowing would fit the bill.
Little did I know! Five years later and I'm hooked.
I've rowed in four All Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships and also competed in the FISA World Championships on Lake Geneva (2017) and Vancouver (2018).
As a dentist, wife and mother I'm always looking for an extra challenge and hope this won't be a ‘hard border’ crossing!”
Eat, Sleep, Row, Repeat!!!!!
I’m Susan the baby of the group, although I’m celebrating a big birthday this year!! This challenge is a present from me to me, also known as ‘self gifting’ honestly a much better gift than the amazing pair of Louboutin heels that I have had my eye on for a long time!!
I have been rowing for over 10years with Blackrock Rowing Club. I spent 8 of those ten years coaching our junior rowers along with competing in yearly Regattas, which was a very rewarding role watching as they grew within our club gaining in confidence & success. I have over my time competed & taken home County Finals medals, Irish Indoor National Championships, Round the Island Race & Ocean to City medals but, my proudest medal I received was from the All-Ireland’s which took place in Donegal, 2016.
I have had a successful time on the water competing in many events all very important to me personally as medals are not handed out they are earned & certainly deserved!
Hard work does pay off!!!
Defo, think I was born to row and forced to work 😉. What started 10yrs ago as something to do, very quickly became such an addiction. I first meet Elaine many years ago rowing for BRC, and it was this connection many years later that the journey of the Celtic Challenge started when a quick phone call from Elaine planted the seed in my mind, to take part in an amazing challenge with an amazing crew of women! Both treasured friends that I have been rowing with in a crew for years, Lesley Wills & Claire Dennehy will also make this journey with me & making new lifelong friends, that share something together that only we can understand!
So here we are ‘Beours With Oars’ onwards & upwards my friends!!! X Susan
“I think I have had 'sea fever' my whole life.
Swimming, rowing, sailing, surfing or just walking on the beach.
Not sure if it’s the fresh sea air, the sound of the tide and sea birds, the distinctive sea smell, the taste of sea salt on my lips or just the vastness, the distant horizon and what lies out there and beneath.
Nothing beats a sun set in the open sea when sky and sea merge to a ruby glow.”
My passion for rowing was kindled in my late teens when I rowed with Cork Boat Club. In more recent years that passion turned to traditional boats and I have been an active member of Naomhoga Chorcai, The Cork City Currach Club, for about 13 years.
Rowing leisurely and competitively in some wonderful places from Roaring Water Bay, The Thames, Venetian canals and our own Lovely Lee.
I didn't hesitate for one second when I got the offer to join the 'Beours with Oars' to take on the Celtic Challenge to cross the Irish Sea.
I started rowing with Blackrock Rowing Club just over 6 years ago. My family couldn't believe when I told them what I was doing as I would have been the first to avoid the water over all my years growing up spending summers in Garretstown. To say I haven't looked back is an understatement it really has been life changing.
The medal chest consists of County Medals, several Championship medals, a 4th in Donegal at the All Irelands which still hurts 😢 , Ocean to City and Round the Island Rows but it is not all about the medals (but they do help). The friends I have made through rowing are now friends for life and we have built a bond through our love of rowing that could never be broken.
Over the last 2 years Claire Dennehy has been pushing both Susan O Donoghue and I to compete in these long distant challenges and we could not believe it, when Elaine Winters made the call that has put us where we are today.
The women I now know as "Beours with Oars" consists of 12 women who came together with the same goal to cross the Irish Sea from Arklow to Aberystwyth. Most meeting for the first time sharing the same love of the water. Then the bonding came and now the journey is something more as One Crew, One Team with One Love for each other and the water. Arklow to Aberystwyth here we come. I have no doubt all the fantastic, inspiring, women I have met already during the start of this journey who we now call "Beours with Oars" aka OUR CREW will be the reason that my memories will be some of the finest to be made.
I am excited for the challenge and for what it will bring in all its glory and especially to complete it along side all these wonderful women especially my crew mates from Blackrock Rowing Club Claire Dennehy and Susan O Donoghue.
Arklow to Aberystwyth here we come!!
Cathy Buchanan will row anything!
First took up an oar on Strangford Lough over 50 years ago.
Won ten Irish Rowing Championships in the 80s and 90s; took up currach rowing with Naomhoga Chorcaí, followed by a few seasons aboard Bantry Longboat “Fionnbarra” at Meitheal Mara.
Enjoying a new challenge with the Beours with Oars !
Where to begin?
I started coastal rowing 1998 in schull , all Ireland champion gold medal, plus silver, bronze.
County champion, Ocean to city, great island row too.
Elaine teasing me with photos of long rows to the Fastnet and the Skelligs , what a wind up !!!
Night of Carmel Winters’ film premiere in Cork, Elaine whispered “this your chance, these girls are rowers.” I was hooked the first day!
I didn’t need to be encouraged. Elaine asked Paula and Maria “fancy rowing the Irish Sea?”
The rest is our story.
I have been involved in sport from a young age and It was in my 30's my sister Lesley Wills introduced me to Coastal Rowing and I never looked back.
I have competed successfully so far in Coastal Rowing and hold medals in both Championship Regattas and County Championships, but my highest achievement to date is an All Ireland Rowing medal which I am extremely proud of. I also enjoy in contrast to the championship races the long coastal rows and was lucky enough to be able to compete in The Ocean To City and Round The Island.
I found myself asking, what is next? I was looking for something a bit more extreme. When a call came in offering the chance to row the Celtic Challenge 2019, straight away the excitement levels started to build, there was no hesitation, COUNT ME IN. I like people who commit their time and are willing to work hard to succeed even if goals may seem impossible at the beginning. All of the other women I have met on our team have this determination and drive and I am so lucky to be a part of what is an amazing crew which is making this extreme row an attainable goal.
I am looking forward to competing in The Celtic Challenge with my sister Lesley Wills, my dear friend Susan O'Donoghue and the rest of the Beours with Oars, who will make this goal a reality. I can see us already standing on the pier in Aberystwyth in Wales celebrating , "WE DID IT".
Longtime member of Naomhoga Chorcai Curragh Rowing Club in Cork, having rowed with many winning crews in several Ocean to City races.
Also rowed together with wonderful Naomhoga members to several of the islands all around our beautiful coastline, Rathlin, Cape Clear, Aran Islands, Skelligs and Blaskets.
Having taken part in many challenges, including the Volalonga in Venice, Great River Race in London, Regatta in Barcelona and rowed from Antrim to Scotland and back, I am now ready for a new challenge.
So! Why not row to Wales with these wonderful women!
We row anything!