History of the Club

Competitive amateur rowing began in England at the close of the 18th century, with schools such as Eton and Westminster establishing rowing clubs in the 1790s. Competitive rowing in Ireland probably started with the foundation of the Pembroke Club in Dublin in 1836. 

Founded 1841 or 1842?

For many years the club believed it was formed in 1842. However, in October 1841 the Belfast News Letter reported that a newly formed rowing club in Coleraine, later known as Bann R.C., had held a regatta in September of that year.

In 1883 the Irish Amateur Rowing Association (IARA) was formed, with Bann Rowing Club, Belfast Rowing Club, Belfast Commercial Rowing Club (now BRC), City of Derry Boating Club and Carrickfergus Amateur Rowing Club all founding members. 

In 1884 the association adopted the following definition of an amateur oarsman;

“An amateur oarsman or sculler must be an officer of Her Majesty’s Army or Navy or Civil Service, a member of the learned professions, or of the Universities or Public Schools, or of an established boat or rowing club not containing mechanics or professionals; and must not have competed for either a stake or money or entrance fee, or with or against a professional for any prizes; nor have ever taught pursued or assisted in the pursuit of athletic exercises of any kind as a means of livelihood, nor have ever been employed in or about boats, or in manual labour; nor be a mechanic, artisan, or labourer”

This definition of an amateur, largely adopted from the rules of Henley Regatta, caused major problems in Ireland and the IARA was effectively disbanded after 1886. 

Over the following years this issue caused many rifts before Bann Rowing Club in 1899 became one of the founding clubs of a new governing body, the Irish Amateur Rowing Union, now known as Rowing Ireland. 

Our Historic Boathouse

In 1864 the club’s first boathouse was erected in Hanover Place adjoining the ferry slipway but the building was unfortunately destroyed by fire two months later. A new boathouse was built and a second storey added to it in 1881.

The current Club House was built in 1900 to designs by Coleraine’s town surveyor William James Given, and architect W.J. Given, at a cost of about £800. It was thought to ‘compare favourably’ with other boat houses in Britain and Ireland, making Coleraine a model county town by providing for its young men ‘healthy and manly exercise’(Belfast Newsletter).

By the 1930s the club had 60 members who paid an annual subscription of £1.

In 1954 the southern wooden gable of the building, was rebuilt in brick and a bay window was added at first floor level. The bay accommodated the band at dances, which provided the profits to sustain the club