WATCH: Athlone Boat Club - a new dawn in proud history
Athlone Boat Club has a long and distinguished history going all the way back to 1837. In recent years the club has embarked on an ambitious project to build an impressive new boathouse on the banks of the river Shannon.
In this video clip (see below), club treasurer Paul Gallen talks to the Westmeath Independent about what the new development means for the future of the club.
The committee hopes that the new facility - which features marvellous views of the Shannon - will help to open the club up to the wider community. Paul, still an active competitor on the Masters circuit, also talks about how the new structure will offer protection from the risk of flooding - something which has hit the club hard in the past.
The club has had to overcome significant planning and logistical challenges to bring the new boathouse to fruition.
And while it has received funding under the Sports Capital Programme and through LEADER, the club has also undertaken major fundraising efforts of its own.
An innovative fundraiser offered people the chance to secure naming rights of the boat used to wonderful effect by Paul and Gary O'Donovan in the Rio Olympics.
But the club still needs more financial assistance to complete the boathouse project and it is appealing for the local community to supports its 'Buy a Brick' campaign (for more information, check out https://www.athloneboatclub.ie).
Despite all the development work, members have continued to thrive on the water and the club managed to have possibly its most successful year ever in 2021. Indeed, two of the club's young rowers - Donagh Claffey and Martin O’Grady - represented Ireland in the World Rowing Junior Championships last year.