Artist | Painting a Life’s Journey

Rowing the Camino

Boats & Voyages

The First Build

In 2011, with Danny Sheehy from Baileaglaise, Ballyferriter West, Dingle, Co.Kerry, I embarked on a project to hand make a traditional Kerry Naomhóg. The naomhóg is a type of currach (corracle). The naomhóg is particular to the Blasket Islands and was built for fishing.

We succeeded in our endeavour. The boat didn’t sink! So what do you do once a craft is built? You go on an adventure and so we did, on many voyages.

Boat Trip from Antrim to Iona Scotland 2012

On our first voyage in May 2012 we rowed from Ballycastle, North Antrim, to Iona in Scotland with Danny Sheehy, Breandán Begley and Ann Burke and myself  on board.

A copy of An Bíobla Naofa, the Irish version of the Holy Bible was presented to the monastery in Iona when we arrived.

This was the second part of the Naomh Colmcille voyage from the coast of Sligo to Iona and the first of many journeys in their naomhóg, culminating in Camino by Sea from 2013 to 201

Danny Sheehy checking for holes in the sail of a naomhóg
Liam Holden on one of the voayages in naomhóg naomh Gobnait

Brandon Hill to Mount Brandon 2013

It June 2013 a similar trip took place over a number of weeks – Brandon Hill to Mount Brandon – walking from Mount Brandon in Kilkenny to Inistioge, Co. Kilkenny rowing down the River Nore and following the Irish Coastline around the Southwest of Ireland to Brandon Creek, Co. Kerry and finishing with a walk up Mount Brandon Peak, Co. Kerry.

Launching naomhóg on the river Nore Inistioge

The Camino Voyage 2014 – 2016

Doing the Camino by Sea was our next voyage over three years from Dublin, Ireland to Santiago de Compostela in Spain concluding in 2016.

Encouraged by the first trips, our crew have taken on a truly historic trip and have completed the first leg of our next trip “Camino by Sea” which is following an ancient route from Ireland to Camino in Spain. A truly epic voyage by modern day adventurers which took many months.

This first leg took place in June 2014 and took us in our handmade Naomhóig from from the River Liffey, Dublin to Douarnenez in Brittany, France where we have now rested the boat for the winter. The second leg of this endurance test takes place in 2015. Followed by the third and final leg in 2016.

This was all documented on our Facebook page Naomhoig Na Tinte | Naomhoig of the Tents and subsequently was documented in the film The Camino Voyage.

Glen Hansard | Leave a Light

Glen Hansard, Danny Sheehy, Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, Brendan Paid Ó Muircheartaigh, and Liam Holden arriving into A Coruña Galicia
Celebrating arrival in Santiago de Compostela, the end of many voyages.

Sadly Danny Sheehy (Dómhnall Mac a tSíthigh) passed away on a subsequent trip after the Naomhóig overturned in rough seas off the Iberian Peninsula on June 9th 2017
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h’anam

Danny Sheehy on the Camino by Sea

Restoration of Naomh Gobnait at Museo do Mar de Galicia

In 2019 I traveled with boat builder Pádraig Ó’Duinnín and Breandán Moriarty to Vigo in Galicia to restore  Naomh Gobnait which had been damaged in rough seas in 2017. The work formed part of an exhibition at Museo do Mar de Galicia (The Galician Museum of the Sea). 

Restored Naomh Gobnait at Museo do Mar de Galicia in Vigo

The Celtic Colours Music Festival 2018

In 2018 I was invited to The Celtic Colours Music Festival, Cape Breton Nova Scotia, Canada to perform and make two Naomhogs with a group of Irish, Scottish and Cape Breton musicians and boat builders.

Liam Holden performs at Voices of the Naomhóg Celtic Colours Festival Cape Breton Nova Scotia Canada.

The Camino Voyage Film Documentary

Camino Voyage documentary awards poster
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