Golden memories evoked as Whitehead welcomes two new boats

Halcyon days by the seaside were recalled as Whitehead Coastal Rowing Club (WCRC) took possession of two new boats with help from the community and Mid and East Antrim Council funding.

Thursday, 19th September 2019, 6:06 pm
The Mayor, Cllr Maureen Morrow, Jean and John Kelly, former owners of the Golden Dawn café, with one of the two new boats.

The vessels were officially named Golden Dawn and Kittiwake by the Mayor, Cllr Maureen Morrow, at a special fun day attended by members, supporters and fellow rowing clubs.

Golden Dawn is familiar to residents of the town as the name of a café that once stood at the site of the new club and created many fond memories for anyone who came to the area in the 1960s. It sold the usual fare - with the essentials including ice cream and chips - throughout the summer months, alongside souvenirs, buckets and spades. They also hired boats which toured the local shores.

Council provided funding too for oars and a trailer to transport the boats.

Leonard Lawson, chair of Down Coastal Rowing Association, Roy McAllister, chair Antrim Coast Rowing Association, WCRC members alongside the Mayor, Cllr Maureen Morrow and Jean and John Kelly, former owners of the Golden Dawn cafe.

Cllr Morrow said: “This club has formed to strengthen community relations as well as make use of this world renowned Antrim coastline. This equipment will not only enable the club to continue, but grow from strength to strength.

“It’s an honour to launch these new boats and wish the club, and local community many more happy memories and success for the future.”

WCRC started rowing in early 2018 and officially formed a new club in January 2019. It now has 60 members but is currently using rowing boats borrowed from other clubs.

Chris Livingstone, from WCRC, said: “We’re really excited to have our first two boats for the club. To date we’ve rowed Banba and Largy Maid, generously loaned by the Irish Coastal Rowing Federation and Carnlough Rowing Club, so to now have our own vessels is fantastic.

Club members take to the water in one of the new vessels.

“Kittiwake is a St Ayles skiff, the national class for coastal rowing in Scotland, also rowed in Co. Down. It was built in Carrickfergus Marina from a kit bought by the council to encourage community boat building so it’s great to see it being put to good use in the local area.

“Golden Dawn is a yawl, a class of coastal rowing boat used by clubs across Ireland. It’s already been sea-tested and raced on the Antrim coast this summer enjoying victory in Glenarm and has ventured as far as Dingle in Co. Kerry for the All-Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships.

“We’re now the only club currently rowing both yawls and skiffs.”

For more information on WCRC go to Twitter/Facebook @Whiteheadrowers or E: [email protected]

The cafe once stood at the site of the new club.
Jean and John Kelly, owners of Golden Dawn Cafe Whitehead 1960.
One of the new boats for the club.
Whitehead Coastal Rowing Club with their new boats.