The Enniskillen Royal Boat Club, formerly Portora Boat Club, continues to go from strength to strength on and off the water.

Having become one of the best clubs in Ireland, the motivation for its development from a Portorans only rowing club into a club that embraces boys and girls from all schools in the community was the aftermath of the Enniskillen Bomb 30 years ago.

Robert Northridge, then Rowing Master of Portora Boat Club said that after the bomb in November 1987 he wondered if there was anything that he could do.

“As I was from a rowing background,” he said it was one area he knew about, and it was where he could do something positive.

After consulting with the then headmaster, Mr. Richard Bennett, he recalls that he went across town to St. Michael’s and met with Fr. Macartan McQuaid and says he asked him if St. Michael’s boys wanted to row at Portora.

He says they chatted it through, decided it was a good idea, and the venture got up and running in the early months of 1988.

Robert recollects that Dom Corrigan of the P.E. department at St. Michael’s was very supportive in helping set up the collaboration.

Robert remembers that about 10 boys a year from St. Michael’s came to Portora to row over the next decade. He said some were on Portora crews that won Irish Championships and some went on to represent Ireland at rowing. He felt it proved very successful. 

He went on to say that in the early 2000s Portora Boat Club merged with Enniskillen Rowing Club whose members were largely girls.

He pointed out this enlarged club was the basis for the success the club enjoys today, drawing its members from all the secondary schools in Enniskillen.

Robert acknowledges it is the support of the community and the parents that has played a large part in the club’s success. 

The Boat Club are intending to hold a Gala Ball to celebrate 30 years of cross community rowing at the club. 

The club would love to see present and past rowers and all friends of the club at the event which will be held on Friday, April 20, 2018 at the Lough Erne Resort. 

Anyone interested in attending or would like any further information can contact or Gaye Conway on 07860888934.