Lough Derg Regatta

The Dublin Evening Mail of 19 September 1849 has come to hand.

LOUGH DERG REGATTA

The Regatta on the above-named beautiful lake came off last week. Monday, the 10th of September commenced the annual aquatic sports: the day was tolerably fine, and at two o’clock, PM, the Commodore, the Right Hon Lord Viscount Avonmore, started four yachts for a 30 Guinea Challenge Cup, with £12 added. After a drifting match (for it fell flat calm shortly after three o’clock), they came in as under:—

Gem, 12 tons, James Spaight, Esq
Hero, 8 tons, Dash Gainor, Esq
Iris, 19 tons, Wills C Gason, Esq
Foam, 24 tons, Lord Avonmore.

This was a time race.

While the yachts were absent several cot races came off.

On Tuesday, the 11th, the yachts sailed down in fleet to Killaloe, but the following day it blew a whole gale of wind, and the match that was to have been sailed for on that day was put off till the next; however, in the evening there were some well contested cot races.

The course was as usual — start from the Jetty, over the diagonal wall (built by the Shannon Commissioners to keep the water to a proper level in summer), under the bridge, round Friar’s Island, and back: to a stranger, it is astonishing to see a boat go down an incline nearly four feet high, which they are obliged to do in the race, and what is more extraordinary, any cot that is not rowed at it pretty fast, is almost certain of being upset.

Thursday, the 12th, at the Commodore’s signal, all the yachts got under weigh, and came to anchor off Derry, and at two o’clock, PM, five yachts started for a Silver Cup, valued at £15, witn £5 added. This was a time race for yachts under twelve tons. The wind was WNW, and blew a fine gaff-topsail breeze; at half-past four o’clock the yachts came in as under:—

Hero, 8 tons, Dash Gainor, Esq
Gem, 12 tons, James Spaight, Esq
Willy Wa, 9 tons, Captain Hon F Yelverton
Vampire, 9 tons, Arthur Vincent, Esq
Midge, 7 tons, Bassett W Holmes, Esq.

This was a beautiful race, all the yachts coming in almost together: the Hero only winning by 27 seconds — indeed she may thank the Midge for winning the prize, as going free the first round she got the Gem under her lee, and kept her back some minutes. Shortly after the signal was given to weigh anchor, and start for Portumna, where the fleet arrived at a late hour. In passing Scilly Island the Foam carried away her rudder head, and was near going ashore.

Next day, Friday the 14th, the yachts assembled off Portumna Castle, and at three o’clock, PM, the Commodore started the following boats for a 40 Guinea Challenge Cup, with a purse of Sovereigns added, for all yachts. A handicap race.

Novice, 4 tons, Dash Ryan, Esq
Midge, 7 tons, Bassett W Holmes, Esq
Vampire, 9 tons, Arthur Vincent, Esq
Gem, 12 tons, James Spaight, Esq
Foam, 24 tons, Lord Avonmore
Iris, 18 tons, Wills C Gason, Esq.

This was a most exciting race, and during the first hour it was difficult to tell which would be the winner. Before rounding the second flag boat the Novice put about and gave up the race, and off Church Island, the Midge carried away the jaws of her gaff, and was obliged to give up the race, which she was almost sure of winning — having gained two minutes the first round. The course was a long one, and the race was not over till after eight o’clock, when the four boats came in as follows:—

Iris
Foam
Gem
Vampire.

During each day of the Regatta, the City of Dublin Steam Company placed one of their fine steamers at the disposal of the Sailing Committee, who took out all their friends, and accompanied the yachts each day during the race.

In the evening, after several cot races and other amusements too numerous to relate. The ladies and gentlemen present were entertained at Belle Isle, the beautiful seat and hospitable mansion of Lord Avonmore; and at a later hour assembled some 120 of the elite of Tipperary, Galway, and King’s County, at the Clanricarde Arms, Portumna, where dancing was kept up with spirit until morning.

The population of the Portumna DED declined by 30.46% between 1841 and 1851.

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