Saints from the Sea 2

(Minehead Development Trust Press Release)

From the 24th to the 29th March Padraig O Duinnin and Dave Nolan from ‘Meitheal Mara’ are working with volunteers and long term unemployed people to build the seven man Celtic longboat outside the new Information Centre and Minehead Museum at the YMCA Beach Hotel and Cafe. The project is promoting the concept of a “Heritage Hub” in partnership with West Somerset Railway to enhance the zone as a visitor arrival and welcoming point for the town and region.

‘Meitheal Mara’, Gaelic for ‘workmen of the sea’ is a boatbuilding organisation based in Cork that specialises in projects with community groups. Padraig said ” It is exciting to be here building a Currach with Minehead people and seeing the enthusiasm of the participants and the interest of the onlookers, I feel we are rekindling the ancient links between Southern Ireland and the Somerset Coast.”

All the materials have been locally sourced, as they would have been in Celtic times. Exmoor National Park felled and milled a spruce tree from North Hill along with green oak, and Dunster Crown Estate coppiced the hazel for the ribs. Price Western Leather donated the material to cover the hull and Gliddons donated the hardware and tools. Dulux gave bitumen paint and Minehead Hire provided lights for evening working. Minehead Vision Manager Stephen Hooper commented ” This project has really captured the towns imagination, the goodwill and support is incredible, everyone has pulled together to help make this happen.”

The week long project has been jointly funded by the Community Learning Partnership, West Somerset Councils Community Outreach Fund, YMCA South West, Job Centre Plus and Prospects Services. Martin Hodgson, Chief Executive of YMCA South West said ” We are very proud to be partners this project, it not only celebrates the YMCA’s Christian ethos but also the establishment of the Somerset Coastal Churches and Minehead’s long association with the sea. Our young people are gaining so much from being involved. ”

The longboat will be launched at 5.30pm from Minehead Harbour on Sunday 30th March following a blessing ceremony.



The Currach build project is a joint venture project in Maritime Heritage combined with adult learning and pre-employment skills. The project is funded by the Community Learning Partnership (CLP) of Somerset Skills and Learning (part of Somerset County Council) the leading provider of adult learning and apprenticeships in Somerset ( ) The Sponsoring partners comprise the YMCA Somerset Coast, The National Trust at Dunster, Crown Estate Dunster, Prospects, Jobcentre Plus, J Gliddon and Sons Ltd., Price Weston Leather Co. Ltd and Minehead Hire.
The project was conceived and is delivered by the Minehead Vision Team as part of the Minehead Vision Project developed by the Minehead Vision Group and funded through Seaside Strategy Funds administered by West Somerset Council.

Minehead Vision Team comprises the Vision Manager Stephen Hooper, Dan Cross, an advanced apprentice, combined with partners and volunteers who are tasked to deliver five strands of the Minehead Vision Action Plan.

The posts are hosted by Minehead Development Trust ( )

Minehead Vision Group, which oversees the work and developments, comprises stakeholders from a wide range of local Community Groups and Local Authority representatives who have combined and consulted on actions needed to regenerate Community, Commerce and Culture in Minehead and District. The result is the Minehead Vision Action Plan, currently approaching the end of its first phase of delivery, which sets out priorities and actions for regeneration in Minehead.
Numerous other elements of the Minehead Vision Action Plan also intended to address deprivation and economic issues in Minehead are delivered by the Vision Team with allocations from the Seaside Strategy Funding by West Somerset Council and matched funding from various bodies.

Stephen Hooper: Vision Manager –
Corinne Matthews:
West Somerset Council Economic Regeneration Officer –