To date, sixty Bantry longboats have been built worldwide, all of which are replicas of the original boat that was captured from the French Armada led by Wolfe Tone in Bantry Bay in 1796. The ‘original’, as it is referred to in ‘AC’ circles, is on display in Collin’s Barracks, Dublin, and is the oldest surviving vessel of the French navy.
Atlantic Challenge Ireland was founded in Bantry in 1988 when Bantry Rowing club was approached by Hal Sisk to participate in an event in Douarnenez, France. Borrowing a boat from the French, the Bantry- based rowers and sailors competed against three other nations.
In 1990, AC-Ireland built its own boat, Unite, and has been representing Ireland all over the world ever since. The Cork-based longboat will become part of an extended family that has become well established globally, and will provide many opportunities for people in the city to travel throughout Ireland and abroad.