A CLASSROOM in Corpus Christi School, Moyross, has been transformed into a workshop for the building of a gandelow.
And in January 2012, the boat will set sail on the Shannon.
As part of a community project in Moyross, youngsters have been helping build a 20-foot gandelow with the help of experienced builders Toby Graystone, and Pat Doran of Corbally.
The project is now in its final stages, with the youngsters currently varnishing the craft, ahead of its painting shortly.
In the new year, it is then expected the as-yet-unnamed boat will be launched through the classroom window of the Moyross school.
For the last six months, Toby and Pat have been helping the national school students put together the four-seater fishing boat.
The scheme has been made possible thanks to funding from the Department of Education and Skills’ dormant accounts, and the Limerick City Adult Education Service.
Up to 30 children from the school have been involved in the project, and Toby said they are preparing to launch it.
“If we are going to build a 20-foot gandelow in a ten-foot room, then we will have to launch it through the window. I have joked with the lads that we will have to disassemble it all again, and then reassemble it outside,” he said.
Corpus Christi school has set up a ‘Dads and Lads’ club in order to get children - and their fathers - involved in building the boat.
Principal Tiernan O’Neill is delighted with the project: “In the computer age, it is lovely to see kids getting involved in something so earthy and rustic. Limerick is renowned as a riverside city, and being involved in a project like this is what it is all about.”
He also revealed there will be a competition to decide on who names the boat.
“We were thinking of having a sponsored row from Foynes to Limerick, and whoever can guess the actual time it takes will have the privilege of naming the boat,” he said.
Thereafter, the craft will be used for after school trips, and other community events.
After a career spanning more than 50 years - and dozens of gandelows - this will be Pat Doran’s last big project before retiring.
Clutching a paintbrush, 11-year-old Martina Slattery said: “I want to get involved, because it is fun. I didn’t want to be bored after school, and I love working with my hands.”