The Hope Row

Welome to this months feature of our website


Started in 2013 by our then Club Secretary David Doyle. Year on year since it has exceeded the expectations that we as a club had on the day David came to the club committee with the idea.

To date, the Hope Row has raised a phenomenal amount of money for several charities. The current grand total being €55,249.00!

So how did the Hope Row come about? We caught up off season with David and went back to the beginning of the story.

“The Hope row started in 2013. The event was originally started to raise funds for St Michaels, Cystic Fibrosis Ward in Crumlin hospital. Two members of the club, Kenneth Faye and Claire Ryan, had a young son Tadgh who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. The club wanted to do something in support of the family. A number of ideas were thrown about and it was decided a charity row outside the rowing season would be the answer, and in doing so, we could bring in the community of Ringsend and all East Coast clubs.

Our club put a new cup in place and gave Kenneth and Claire the honour of naming it, That’s how ‘Cupan Dóchas’ – The gaelic for Hope Cup was chosen.

In order to ensure the Hope Row took place, we needed some help from other club members,volunteers, sponsors etc. Without hesitation, Dublin Port Company and Dyno Rod came up trumps for us, and to this day, they remain the main sponsors of The Hope Row. Their financial support ensures all participants receive a medal on the day and are well fed and watered – Rowers, Runners, Walkers even the spectators are get a belly full.

Whilst the Hope Cup is a Stella Maris cup, it is very much about all the East Coast clubs getting involved and supporting this worthy event. Each of the clubs who take part get their opportunity to pick a charity close to their hearts as each year the charity recipient changes.

It is a collective effort where all clubs can enjoy each other’s company on a fun day out, not like the competitive manner of our East Coast regattas. Part of the fun at the Hope Row is that we opened it up to the whole rowing community and it’s family, friends and supporters – so for those that do not row, we added the Hope Run / Walk, meaning all non rowers could participate and more importantly help us to raise further much needed funds by filling up a sponsor card. As we say to all involved, ‘every penny counts’.

Aswell as organising the above, David along with the club committee, also has to ensure that the rowing course on the river is laid out correctly and runs smoothly, liaising with Dublin Port and local boat owners to ensure there are no obstacles to overcome on the day!

It must not go unsaid, that it really is a thoroughly enjoyable row for all taking on some of the best sights Dublin Port and the River Liffey have to offer.

Our Short course consists of a start line at our club house, up towards the 3 Arena / Eastlink, through our ever changing Dockland area of new high rise buildings, the Jeanie Johnston and Cille Airne boats, past the Ferryman, a Dublin pub steeped in history built in 1780, right up to the Custom House Buildings regarded as one of the Jewels in Dublin City’s architectural Crown, completed in 1791, 10 years in the making. Here all boats turn and row and down back to the Stella Maris clubhouse.

The long course has the same start line but takes you in the opposite direction right out through the pulse of Dublin Port, into the Bay, turning at the lighthouse and back up river past our club to join in on the “short course” up to the Custom House and back.

Funds Raised

Our first year with the Hope Row event was a roaring success, raising €8540.00 for St. Michaels Ward, Cystic Fibrosis Unit, Our Ladys Childrens Hospital, Crumlin.

When 2014 came around, there was no question that we were going to continue running the Hope Row on a yearly basis. Again, our sponsors & supporters stepped up to the plate. This year’s chosen charity – Pieta House received a total sum of €5448.00 from this years sponsor money.

In 2015 we decided to branch out in the Charity stakes and going forward from this year onwards, there would be 2 charities chosen with all monies raised being split evenly between both charities. This time the chosen charities were CRY and Blackrock Hospice. The total raised was €8285.00 with €4142.50 going to each charity.

We could see the momentum growing year on year so from 2016, again to change it up we involved other clubs in choosing the charities. Some of these clubs had supported the Hope Row from the initial get go so we thought it best practice to nominate 2 clubs each year to select the chosen charities going forward. We were now into 2016, the 4th consecutive year of the Hope Row with the interest and participation growing. In total €7171.00 was raised this year with €3585.50 each going to St Vincents Oncology Ward, The Mater Hospital and The Royal Hospital Donnybrook.

When 2017 came around, one of the chosen charities, The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, hit really close to home for not only a stand up club member, but an absolute pillar to the Hope Row itself, Sharon Bolger. Sharon year on year had cooked all the food for every rower, runner, walker, spectator… She was the whole food system to the Hope Row, above the many other ways in which she helps about the club to this day. From Sharon’s own words it is more than evident how important the fund raising element is to any club especially when it can incorporate its own members:

‘I helped out at the first 3 Hope Rows and was so proud and happy to do it but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be doing it for a charity that I had to call on when my adored sister/pal passed away whilst on holiday. The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust were my light in a very dark lonely terrifying tunnel and to be able to repay them by my club choosing them as a recipient of The Hope Row is something I’m so so proud of. I’m a background member of the Stella Maris as I don’t row but in our club that doesn’t matter, you’re part of the Stella family and I can never thank them enough for helping me repay the kindness the Trust showed me and my family and knowing we’ve helped another family (with all the donations every club on the East Coast and so many others gave) get their beloved family members home is something I’ll never forget. So thank you to every person that contributed and helped out on the day I’m forever in your debt … c’mon the Stella 💙’

2017 seen a total of €9650.00 raised, which to this date is the most raised in any one year of the Hope Row. €4825.00 went to Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust and the same amount went to The Irish Society of Autism.

Bringing us up to 2018, another roaring success came for the Hope Row. This year raising a total of €8552.00. The Charity and split in monies seen €4276.00 donated to St. Francis Hospice and the Irish Underwater Search and Recovery Unit.

2019 and our most recently ran Hope Row – The chosen charities were the Laura Lynn Childrens Hospice and the Irish Cancer Society Night Nurse, with a total of €7621 raised, seeing €3810.00 go to each of these charities.

A special mention must go to David for being the brainchild of the Hope Row, but also to the club members who year on year take their sponsor cards, raise the much needed funds, train on a daily basis to allow them take part, show up on event day, not just to participate but to help out on the day, and they show up in their large numbers to support their club.

Emma our current Club Secretary, also does her fair share alongside David in the organising, running and aftermath of the event. Without these dedicated members, some who have been involved from the very beginning, it would not be the success it is.

From our Junior section right up to our adult section, we ALL make it happen.

To those that come from near and far, our East Coast Friends, your participation, donations even the presence of your club members, family and friends. You help bring the fun and atmosphere, without you all it would not be the success it is.

It is a true saying “we wouldn’t have one without the other” and all combined have contributed to the largest fund raising effort ever seen by any club on the East Coast. Our club is extremely proud to be known and held in high esteem for our fund raising efforts not only in our home town of Ringsend, but in communities afar. We are always grateful for the calls, texts, emails, messages that we receive time and time again from those who we have helped and from fellow Ringsenders who are so proud of us and what we do for those who need it most.

The people in this wonderful community always dig deep for the Hope Row / Run / Walk and for that we cannot thank you enough. Our club is about more than rowing. We want to be remembered and talked about for much more than our success on the water. Of course that is our bread and butter but ultimately we want to make Ringsend proud and thankfully, to date, we are doing a fine job of that.

In total from the Hope Row and other various fund raising event’s we have ran, including a benefit night for our club member Louise McCarthy which seen us raise in excess of €20,000 and our part in the Chris Crossing challenge, has brought our fund raising efforts to over €75,000.

For a local rowing club, we sure do know how to pull together with fund raising by the big and large, and we are showing no sign of stopping anytime soon. We are a Team of Us, and we will continue into the bright and blue future doing what we do best on and off the water.

We look forward to seeing you all at this year’s Hope Row / Run / Walk which takes place on Saturday September 5th 2020 at Stella Maris Rowing Club. You can get all the details from our Hope Row event set up on our Facebook page, or click this link

Thanks for reading and as always we appreciate your feedback 👍

#CmonTheStella 💙 #TeamOfUs #HopeRow #FundRaising #Rowing

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