IRELAND’s love affair with surfing is explored in a new exhibition tracing the sport’s history around the island’s coast.
Celtic Wave at the Ulster Transport Museum delves into the growth of surfing from the 1960s when waves entered mainstream popular culture, to today, with Ireland a popular destination for casual and competitive surfers from around the world entire.
Through images, film and artefacts, the exhibition chronicles how the hobby developed in island hotspots, including the Causeway Coast, where Portrush remains a hugely popular destination for catching fish. waves, and Co Donegal, Ireland’s surfer’s paradise with world-class locations. including Rossnowlagh and Tramore.
Visitors to the museum will learn how surfing helped provide a welcome boost to coastal economies through tourism and the organization of international competitions.
Influential Irish sports figures such as world competitor and North Coast ‘big wave’ surfing pioneer Al Mennie and longboard champion Gemma Gillespie will feature in interviews and other films shown at the exhibition, which will run at the museum in Cultra, Co Down until next July.
Clare Ablett, National Museums NI History Curator, said: “The exhibit, which was specially curated in conjunction with the surfing community, features 11 original objects that now have a place in the National Museums NI collection. , including locally made surfboards in Larne, Coleraine and Portrush and video interviews with some of the biggest names in Irish surfing who have dedicated their lives to it.”
Al Mennie said it was a “great honour” to be involved with the exhibition, adding: “The surfing community has a very rich history and Celtic Wave is about the people who shaped it and their passion for the sport. There really is something for everyone to discover and learn, including a favorite feature – a simulator where visitors can sit on a jet ski and tow me on a big wave off the west coast. from Ireland to St John’s Point.”