Ardglass friends brighten village after making flower boats in Covid lockdown

Ardglass friends brighten village after making flower boats in Covid lockdown

29 July 2020

ARDGLASS has long been known for its fishing boats, but a new collection of boats is helping to beautify the place even more.

Brightly painted flower troughs shaped as traditional wooden rowing boats have been seen dotted at the marina, outside local pubs and in front gardens throughout the covid lockdown.

They are the work of local boat builder Ricky Le Bloas and a few of his similarly talented friends, Raymond Smyth and Colin Gill, from Ardglass, and Eddie McDonagh, from Strangford.

Ricky said they have been taken by surprise by the demand for the boats that are not built to be seaworthy.

“It really started off as I had time on my hands during the lockdown and my friends also had time on their hands,” he said. “I suppose we have become a bit of a Mens Shed over the last few weeks.”

He explained that he had been approached by a friend about doing something that would have improve the look of the marina and while he was unable to do any further boatbuilding work, he decided to start making smaller ones that could be used for large planters. 

“Once I did a mock-up, a few people decided that they wanted them to use for advertising purposes and donated money towards materials for putting them together, etc. But then once they were seen by others, we had people coming to us looking to buy them for their own places. 

Most of the boats built in Ricky’s shed near the marina are eight feet long, but smaller half-boats at four feet long have also been built.

“So far we have made about 15 of the big boats and about 30 of the half boats which can be 

attached to railings or walls,” he said.

“The reaction to them locally has been very positive. They are mostly seen in Ardglass and the furtherest one away has been at Curran’s Bar in Chapeltown.”

One of the most loved flower boats is one placed at the marina and called Paula, named after the late Paula Mahon, one of the local people involved with the setting up of the marina.