Today was a very exciting day for The University of Limerick and Irish sport for that matter, today saw the official opening of the UL Boathouse. The ceremony was attended by the UL President, the SU president, the Director of Sport (My Boss) as well as staff and students past and present of the UL.
The sun shone on the assembled crowd as the dignitaries reminded us of the many people who have been involved in the project, some for nearly 15 years. It is a true tribute to all those involved to see this world class facility in full flow with current students from the Rowing, Kayaking, Mountain biking and Sub Aqua clubs demonstrating their skills. The Boathouse and in particular the powered rowing tank (A first for Ireland) will be one of my key training venues during my preparation and it is with massive gratitude that I say thank you to all of those who have worked tirelessly to see this amazing project through to completion. In particular I have to give special mention to the students of the University past and present who had the vision to not only conceive the idea but the conviction to vote yes in the referendum to fund this project with their own money, yes the UL students have fronted over €4M to make this happen, that is a first for an Irish University and perhaps a first anywhere in the world.
Today was also important as it gave me a chance to meet with some great friends, all of whom I have spent many happy hours travelling and kayaking with over the past 8 years. What was amazing is that as I stood and marvelled at all the new kayaks and kit that has been purchased by ULKC I could not help be drawn across the divide to rowing store. There in all her glory sits “Tess” an Ocean rowing boat.
She is the chosen craft of local man Sean Mc Gowan who is attempting to row solo across the Atlantic in December. I hope to meet up with Sean before his departure to share notes and of course wish him the very best of luck, if you want to find out more about Sean and Tess check out www.atlantic09.com.
I am off to Italy in the morning for a few days of R & R with my lovely wife for our first wedding anniversary. The past year has been amazing, here’s hoping the next 12 months is just as special.