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Coracles and Miracles at the Maritime Museum

27 April — 31 July 2009

Coracles and Miracles is a new display at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, opening on 1 May, which takes a closer look at one of the most unlikely looking of water craft, the coracle.

With a history dating back to pre-Roman times, coracles have stood the test of time as working boats. Although their main use is now confined to fishing and leisure, coracles have also been used as ferries, and for covert military operations. Even St Piran, the patron saint of Cornwall , is reputed to have used a coracle to make the crossing from Ireland to Cornwall .

The new display will feature three different coracles from across the United Kingdom . A Shrewsbury coracle built by the son of Fred Davies who famously used a coracle to rescue footballs from the river during games at Shrewsbury Town football club; an Ironbridge coracle most likely used to cross the River Severn and avoid paying the toll; and a salmon fishing coracle from the River Teifi in Wales.

Andy Wyke, Boat Collections Manager at the Maritime Museum , says: "At first glance a coracle is an odd looking boat with no discernible bow or stern, and a strangely shaped paddle for propulsion. But being made from locally sourced materials, cheap to build, light-weight for ease of carrying, and having a draft of only a few inches for working in shallow waters and easy beaching, has ensured their continued use for thousands of years."

Coracles and Miracles opens on 1 May at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall and runs until the end of July.