The grand-daughter of Monty O’Leary, Master ‘Naomhóg’ (Currach) Builder, has joined Marine Insurance broker, Insurance Risk & Claims Management (IRCM).  Rebecca O’Leary joins the Marine Trade and Boat Insurance specialists as an underwriter bringing with her not only Marine Insurance underwriting experience but a wealth of knowledge of boatbuilding, boats and all things Marine.

Monty O’Leary (as was his father before him) is located on Scraggane Bay, Maharees,  County Kerry and made the area a huge attraction for curragh enthusiasts.  He is one of the last few traditional Curragh builders left and is highly sought all over the world for his skills; and was featured in a tv programme which covered a 5-months project in the USA where he showed Native Americans how to develop this craft.

Traditionally the currach was constructed with ribs made of sally rods with the ends being brought up through holes in a strong gunwale frame.  Over the ribs were placed longitudinal pieces of thin deal and this was then covered with canvas or hides.  The build was then blackened and made water-tight with bitumen (tar). The ancient boats could be managed with great dexterity as the traditional design provided qualities that are only seen today in modern craft made from advanced technologies. The boat’s natural elasticity enables a curragh to recoil from a shock that would stove in a heavily structured vessel and their lightness provides such buoyancy that they float like ducks on the water. Tim Severin, the late British explorer and seafarer tested, and proved possible, the legend that the early Irish priest and monastery-founder St Brendan discovered America in a curragh almost a millennium before Christopher Columbus.

Rebecca’s familial background and association with currach building has driven her passion and life-long love for all things marine – her father is also a skilled naomhóg builder as well as an All -Ireland Currach Regatta rower and trawler fisherman.  Rebecca told us “Spending many summers off the southwest coast of Ireland with my father fishing lobster, spider crabs, crayfish, salmon, cod etc, lit an ever-growing desire for everything sea-related . . . nothing beats a Sunday morning walk around Fenit Marina in County Kerry.”

IRCM, who recently became an NFP Company as part of NFP’s acquisition of the KGJ Insurance Group, are a specialist Marine Trade, Yacht and Classic Boat Insurance provider.  Mark Elcocks, Schemes manager and Specialist Risks Executive with IRCM said “Rebecca’s move to IRCM comes at the start exciting new era for IRCM and represents a significant step in our growth strategy, as well as enabling us to continue to deliver evolving products and services to our clients and broker panel.”

IRCM can be contacted at or on 01902 766 793

IRCM are authorised & regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

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