The Club in Literature and Politics

The club has witnessed many political upheavals and conflicting allegiances since 1862, and some figures of political and literary renown have been linked either directly or more associatively with the heritage of the club. In 1885 for example, the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward V11) passed through Cappoquin. The club membership obviously reflected the fractious politics of the period. Conflict between those club members who wished to celebrate the event by decorating the clubhouse and those who harboured more ambivalent feelings - which resulted in the decorations being removed - soured relationships for some time after.

Notwithstanding such, the love of rowing and common endeavour ensured the survival and strengthening of the club. Literary figures too, grace the pages of the club's history. Molly Keane (1904-96), outstanding chronicler of Anglo-Irish was married to Bobby Keane of the Keane family so illustriously associated with the club. Poet and novelist Tom McCarthy, a Cappoquin native, set his novel 'Asya and Christine' in the Cappoquin of 1943. In it he describes a race between the local club and the Irish Army Officers, a race they win, but only just...

"The crews had different styles. The local crew... had a faster rhythm but dipped their oars lightly in the water. The army crew stroked more sluggishly, but hit the choppy waters like gravediggers, shovelling up bucketfuls of the tide and straining the canvas of the Lady Alex with their ferocious method".

Annraoi Ó Liatlháin (1917-81) was a distinguished novelist in the Irish language. He grew up and went to school in Glendine, on the lower reaches of the Blackwater. In the early 1960s he walked the extent of the river Blackwater from its source in East Kerry to the sea at Youghal. He wrote about his journey in the book Cois Móire (Báile Átha Cliath, 1964). When he reached Cappoquin he first met an old man mending a cot under the bridge and also chanced upon some oarsmen. The boat emerges throught the fog under the bridge, the girls above smilingly call out, and the whole is a wonderful evocation of time and place:

'D' eirigh 1iú ard i measc na gcailíní. Bhí bád á nochtadh , chugainn aniar tríd an gceo. Tháinig sí ar nós foghlaí as an Meánmhuir, an cox ag béicíl go tomhaiste, na rámhaithe ag tarraingt ar mire. Scaird sí mar bheadh roicéad trí shúil den droichead, na rámhaithe ag cromadh is ag tarraingt, na seastaí ag sleamhnú siar is aniar fúthu, bosa na maidí ag gearradh an uisce ar aonbhuile.'

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