GERRY MORAN recalls a recent visit with two friends to the largest of our islands that – for him – was all play and no work!

The men and myself went to Achill Island recently for a few days. The men being two friends who share similar interests as myself: hearty Irish breakfasts, a few pints in the pub and heated debates about politics and sport, not least who was the best hurler, and footballer, to grace Croke Park.

The men and myself were in Achill because of a boat, a currach, their currach as it happens, and the men were there to do a bit of work on it and make it sea-worthy for their other great interest: fishing.

I know little or nothing about boats or fishing; to be honest I just went along for the ride – the car-ride, not the boat-ride, and most certainly not the currach-ride, which would do little for my nervous disposition when it comes to sailing and the sea.

I did, however, make myself useful by providing the men with regular cold drinks and supplying hammers, hacksaws and paint-brushes when required.

The men are putting metal runners on the bottom of the boat to help run it along the quay into the sea. It’s a bit like shoeing a horse, they say, except the horse in this case is a boat!

The men have been drilling and hammering for over two hours; occasionally they pause for a little consultation and a gulp of water and then they’re off again like the hammers of hell making ready the currach for the wilds of the Atlantic.

Come high noon and the sun is splitting the stones, the men are spilling sweat as I skip to the shop for some more cold drinks and sandwiches. After lunch the men finish the business in hand and set to tarring the currach, making her sea-worthy for the fishing they’re hell bent on doing.

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