Fiery Dragons Take Over Docklands

dragonboat race3

Hundreds of paddlers flocked to Grand Canal Dock on the 14th and 15th of September to take part in the Annual Dublin Dragon Boat Regatta. The event has built up a cult following locally as a competitive race that promotes team building and athleticism.

“As a sport, it’s not only competitive; but it’s also very sociable and great fun too. What’s more, it’s very inclusive – people of all ages, abilities and fitness levels have a go,” said Julie Doyle, the Chairwoman of the Irish Dragon Boat Association (IDBA).

Organised by the IDBA in conjunction with Waterways Ireland and the Plurabelle Paddlers, it boasted a turnout of a few hundred. Similar races are also held worldwide which, according to the IDBA, boast a participation rate of 50 million. This year participants were split into categories: U18s, International, and a Breast Cancer category which featured the local Plurabelle Paddlers – Ireland’s first breast cancer support dragon boat team who are based in Grand Canal Dock.
“It was a hectic but fun couple of days,” said Fiona Tiernan, founder of the Plurabelle Paddlers. “People turned up in fancy dress, we had a prize for the wackiest team outfit.”

The sport originated from China as a way to train for naval warfare. The boat consists of a gondola style set-up with a crew of 22 people including a drummer who ensures the paddlers are sticking to an even pace by playing a loud drum from the front of the ship.

Proceeds for the event will go towards the development of Plurabelle Paddlers and the promotion of dragon boat racing across Ireland.

Pictured: Passing under the Pearse Street Bridge.

By Liam Cahill