|Examples/ definitions with source references|
cor·a·cle auch currach, curragh, corragh
a small, round, or very broad boat made of wickerwork or interwoven laths covered with a waterproof layer of animal skin, canvas, tarred or oiled cloth, or the like: used in Wales, Ireland, and parts of western England.
[Origin: 1540–50; < Welsh: corwgl, corwg; akin to Ir curach boat; see currach]
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A Currach or Curach is a type of boat with a wooden frame, over which is stretched animal skins or hides. It is sometimes anglicised as "Curragh". The construction and design of the currach is unique to the west coasts of Ireland and Scotland, with variations in size and shape by region. It is referred to as a naomhóg in counties Cork and Kerry and as a "canoe" in West Clare. It is related to the Welsh coracle, but can in fact cover far larger craft than the Welsh version. The traditional all wooden rowing boat found on the west coast of Connacht is also called a Currach or Currach Adhmaid "wooden Currach" Its style of construction is very similar to the canvas covered Currach. A larger version of this is known as a Bád Iomartha.
Historically, the currach was used both as a sea-fishing vessel and also as transport along rivers and coastal waterways. The currach was first mentioned in writing at around the time of Julius Caesar, who reported seeing sailed ocean-going currachs roving the North Atlantic. Later, in the sixth century, it is possible that Saint Brendan made the first transatlantic voyage to The Americas in a currach (a recreation of this alleged voyage was successfully completed by Tim Severin, in 1978 to show that it would have been possible, by sailing a leather currach from Ireland to Newfoundland).
"The curach or boat of leather and wicker may seem to moderns a very unsafe vehicle, to trust to tempestuous seas, yet our forefathers fearlessly committed themselves in these slight vehicles to the mercy of the most violent weather. They were once much in use in the Western Isles of Scotland, and are still found in Wales. The framework [in Gaelic] is called crannghail, a word now used in Uist to signify a frail boat." (Reference: Dwelly’s (Scottish) Gaelic Dictionary: Curach)
Currach is also used in the Gaelic languages to denote a marshy place, such as Currie (a suburb of Edinburgh) and "The Curraghs", an area of the Isle of Man, best known for its wildlife park.