The few remaining skiffs still fishing Bullock Harbour, Dublin Bay. Photo Darina Tully

The skiffs worked between Lambay and Wicklow head and they required considerable skill on behalf of the oarsmen. The long tradition of rowing is now carried on through the east coast rowing clubs that are based around the old Dublin pilot stations of Ringsend, East Wall, DunLaoghaire, Dalkey, Bray, Wicklow and Arklow.

Organised by the East Coast Rowing Council each year, a summer schedule of regattas are from Ringsend to Wicklow. The skiffs also take part in the ‘Celtic Challenge’, which is a bi-annual race of over 90 miles from Arklow to Aberystwyth in Wales, and other long distance races. The traditional design is retained in the racing boats. Present day racing skiffs are twenty-five foot long, clinker built, double-enders.

The east coast skiffs are part of the wider sport of coastal rowing and are affiliated to the Irish Coastal Rowing Federation. The ICRF is a very important organisation, fostering the sport of coastal rowing. More than 80 clubs are affiliated to the ICRF, mainly based in Cork, Kerry, Antrim, Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford.

Each area races its own traditional boat, and they come together annually for the Irish coastal rowing championships where they now use an agreed one- design boat. Coastal rowing helps communities to maintain links with their maritime heritage.