About Us

Dragon Boat RaceThe Irish Dragon Boat Association (IDBA) is the National Governing Body of the sport of dragon boat racing in Ireland. The IDBA is responsible for all aspects of the sport from community development through to managing Irish teams racing abroad. The Irish Dragon Boat Association Limited is registered in Ireland as a company limited by guarantee without share capital; registration no. 540321.

Dragon boating was originally introduced to Ireland in the early 1990’s when boats were brought from the UK to hold events. In 2005 the IDBA was formed, though only really in name, until the Association was formally launched in Dublin in October 2010.

The IDBA is a member of both the European Dragon Boat Federation (EDBF) and the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) and as such is recognised as the only Governing Body in Ireland.

IDBA Mission

To make dragon boat racing a mass participation sport throughout the whole 32 counties of Ireland and make the sport accessible to all ages and abilities.

The IDBA aims to:

  • Encourage the development of dragon boat clubs – Regular mixed, junior & BCS.
  • Encourage the highest standards of paddle sport.
  • Promote and develop physical activity particularly in the junior age range
  • Raise awareness about lifestyle and health management in the areas of health, exercise and nutrition.
  • Develop common approaches towards the provision of training and skills development; this in turn will support engagement with local communities.
  • Organise dragon boat regattas to encourage the non-athlete that sport can be enjoyable as well as being good for your physical and mental health,  and that dragon boating is an excellent team building sport.
  • Promote and develop physical activity to support recovery from cancer treatment.
  • Improve the physical and psychological wellbeing of people who have or have had Breast Cancer. (Research has shown that repetitive upper body movement can aid those individuals suffering from Lymphedema).

Dragon Boat History – The Legend

Dragon boating is an ancient Chinese sport which dates back over 2000 years to a time of rivalry, intrigue and corruption. The dragon boat itself is deeply imbedded in China’s dragon culture, with each boat having an ornately carved dragon’s head at the bow and a tail in the stern. The boat is painted with scales and the paddles symbolically represent the dragon’s claws.

In the third century BC a warrior and poet Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself into the Mi Lo River after corrupt court officials removed him from his high office and banished him from the royal palace.

Legend tells us that following his death local fisherman took to the water to search for his body and to protect it from being eaten by fish they beat the drums in their boats and hit the water with their paddles. Then to give his spirit food and appease the water dragons they threw rice dumplings into the river.

To commemorate this sacrifice, the people began to organise dragon boat festivals in his memory and thus the sport of dragon boat racing was born. The dragon boat festival is celebrated every year on the 5th day of the 5th Moon (month) of the Chinese lunar calendar. The practise of making offerings of rice dumplings or Zongzi is an extremely important part of the festival.

Dragon Boating Today

Modern day dragon boating has evolved as a high performance sport, capturing the imagination of the world by storm. With over 50 million paddlers participating annually in competitions worldwide, it is the fastest growing water sport in the world.

Dragon boating is not only competitive; it is sociable, fun, colourful and dynamic. As a sport it is all inclusive and can be used to help tackle obesity and help people stay fit and healthy. It is also very attractive to the corporate and community market as a great team building activity.

Executive Committee

The IDBA is run by an Executive Committee who is responsible for the policy, organisation and administration of the sport in Ireland and for the selection of Irish crews competing abroad.

Julie Doyle | Chairman

Julie Doyle | Chairman

Tara Byrne | Treasurer

Tara Byrne | Treasurer

Dympna Watson | Secretary

Dympna Watson | Secretary