Posts Tagged ‘Clinker design boats’

Willie Redmond, Boat Builder

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

My memories of Grandad (Willie) Redmond are of a jolly person well liked and respected within the community of Greystones, Co. Wicklow. Holding station at the end of the lane beside Killian’s Hall, “How are you old man” his stock greeting, Willie was always interested in what was going on in your life and the wider world. Prematurely struck down with motor neuron┬ádisease, Grandfather even in his wheel chair was a big character and a major influence. Early memories include Grandad playing the bag pipes, pint bottles of Guinness in the house when he would come to visit us in England, and his boat shed, all wood shavings, the sound of a circular saw (which frightened the bejaysus out of me), the smell of cut timber, copper nails, and a boat, always a boat at some stage of construction.

Joe Redmond (left of picture) and Grandfather Willie Redmond, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

I learned to row and caught my first fish in the Jean Anne, a clinker design 16 foot boat built by Grandfather and named after my mother. Wide in the beam, deep with a high free board, designed with short east coast seas in mind, powered in the early days by seagull engines supplemented with long, strong, heavy oars, you always felt safe as these boats were well constructed. How many did he build? I do not know, but the last one would appear to have been around 1968. Which makes the following narrative all the more remarkable.

A 17' clinker boat designed and built by William Redmond, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

I am indebted to Barry Cantwell for contacting me about a boat his father bought many years ago which was built by grandad. Life works in mysterious ways, enquiring with restoration in mind and what contacts I might have, there is one thing for certain the conclusion of this story is going to be open ended and very positive. Curious to see the boat, Barry and I arranged to meet with a view to moving the craft from where it was stored to his house. On first viewing I was gobsmacked at its condition, while not quite ready for the sea she’s not a million miles away. This boat was well looked after and given her age of plus forty four years a testament to Grandads skills as a carpenter.

Bow shot of a clinker design boat constructed by William Redmond, Boat Builder, Greystones, Co. Wicklow.

Barry and I discussed its history and possible avenues we could take in getting the boat ready for the sea again, for there is no doubt she will ride the waves at some point during the summer to come. It is hard to not feel that some how Grandad had a part to play in both Barry and I meeting. When you consider that Barry’s wife is named Jean Anne the story takes on even greater significance, synchronicity is a word that has been used. Six degrees of separation, I don’t know, but one thing is for sure, often I have wondered whether any of Willie’s boats survived. Now I have my answer, I’ll be always grateful Barry and thank you.

Plaque below the stern seat.

A simple plaque below the stern seat is testament to the boats creator. She was built to go to sea and her wish will be granted. Life has its moments, God bless you Grandad….