Traditional Boats of Ireland Book
History, Folklore and Construction
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The Congested Districts Board (CDB) was established in 1891. Its objective was to relieve poverty in the overpopulated or ‘congested’ districts of the west of Ireland. Its activities included land reform, improvements in infrastructure and housing and the establishment of craft industries.
It took over responsibility for fisheries from the Board of Works and set about a radical overhaul of the native fishing industry which was then dominated by small inshore craft. The CDB introduced larger, decked boats, powered by sail, such as the Scottish Zulu and the Manx Nobby, which had proved themselves in English and Scottish waters. Instructors in building and fishing methods were brought from Scotland to promote building in Irish boatyards and fishing by Irish fishermen
In all, by 1909 a total of 189 new boats had been commissioned; 90 were built in Irish boatyards, including 30 boats plus two hookers in Co. Galway.
During the 30 years of its existence the CDB made an enormous contribution to improving the conditions of the communities for which it was responsible. The board was dissolved in 1923 and its staff was absorbed into the Irish Land Commission when its functions were assumed by the Department of Fisheries and Rural Industries.