Crafty move by ‘Game of Thrones’ boatbuilder

Craftsman Dave Nolan was recently building boats for dramatic battle scenes in the fantasy blockbuster TV series Game of Thrones. Now he’s exchanged the world of knights, dragons and medieval intrigue for a more contemporary — and local — craft.

Dave regularly takes to the tranquil lake outside Macroom in Co Cork to row in an East Coast skiff. He is part of the Gearagh Rowers Club, which is part of the rowing revolution taking place throughout Ireland over the past 10 years — growth that has been accelerated since the successes of the O’Donovan brothers, Paul and Gary, at the Olympics and World Championships.

At present Dave and his fellow rowers go out every evening on the local lake and row the four or five miles to the Inniscarra dam and back again.

“We intend to go racing next year and we’re always looking for new rowers,” he says. 

The crew get together on the shore of the lake around 7.30 these fine evenings.

“Anyone can do it — it’s a knack really and it’s much easier on the joints than running as you’re sitting down as you row, so there isn’t any impact on your feet and other joints.”

Having worked as a resident boatbuilder on the Game of Thrones production was a challenging task for Dave.

“We had to research different types of rowing boats in order to satisfy the demands of the production team and it all had to be done under a veil of secrecy — they didn’t want anyone to get a glimpse of what they were planning for the drama.”

“One time we spent months building a boat which we had to transport over to Spain for filming — we ended up rowing it ourselves and featuring in the series, if only for four or five seconds.”

Now Game of Thrones is in its final season and the producers don’t need any more boats but there is talk of a spin-off prequel series.

Dave, who has a workshop just outside Baile Mhúirne, is keen to supply the growing rowing scene with oars and boats.

“I’ve built currachs and skiffs and I think there’s an interest out there in rowing as a past time.”