A treasure trove of Limerick rowing memorabilia

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

A RATHBANE Road man has unearthed a treasure trove of memories in his attic.

A RATHBANE Road man has unearthed a treasure trove of memories in his attic.

Michael Phayer, a former president of Athlunkard Boat Club in the St Mary’s Parish, has uncovered memorabilia, and photographs from the group dating back to the 1940s.

And after reading the Limerick Leader’s archive section, he has chosen to share his memories with us.

Before he started a more than 65 year relationship with the Athlunkard Boat Club, Mr Phayer was a member of St Brigid’s Boys Club.

The club was founded in St Mary’s Park, and had an outing to Spanish Point in Co Clare, which one of Michael’s pictures is taken from.

He joined Athlunkard Boat Club in 1946, and was president in 1998, where he kept a newsletter which contained his address to members.

Rowing runs in the Phayer family: for Michael’s grandson James Phayer-Sweeney was also a keen rower.

Pictured in 1993 with his grandfather here, James is now aged 37, and remains a coach in Athlunkard Boat Club.

Michael also kept hold of a scorecard, from when Athlunkard Boat Club took part in the 1957 Athlone Regatta.

The team lost to a selection from Queen’s University, Belfast.

Michael has more photos and memorabilia in his home - but he regrets that he has not kept more over the years.

“I received a lot of programmes from different regattas in Limerick. I wish I had held onto more,” he said.

Asked if he would ever row again, he said: “A fella asked me if I wanted to do it. But I said I would not bother. I am still a member of the club just a social one!”