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Galway Hooker People are "Extraordinary Ordinary"

23rd August 2021
Restoring the gleoiteog Loveen, the second last Claddagh hooker still in existence
Restoring the gleoiteog Loveen, the second last Claddagh hooker still in existence

Ciarán Oliver's family history goes back over a hundred years to what was then known as the fishing village of the Claddagh in Galway. His great-great-uncle, Máirtín, was the last 'King of the Claddagh'.

The 'Loveen' doesn't go back quite that far, almost but not entirely, just 96 years. It is no surprise that Ciarán is heavily involved in restoring this gleoiteog, the second last Claddagh hooker still in existence.

Ciaran is Commodore of the Galway Hooker Sailing Club which has led a two-year project to restore the 'Loveen'. Tomorrow (Tuesday) the club will announce that she will be going back into the waters of the Corrib next month.

As Afloat reported in June here, a "low key" ceremony was held when the final plank was secured and the occasion was marked with a "modest" round of whiskey.

Ciarán's family were founder members of the club, dedicated to continuing the tradition of Galway Hooker Sailing and the culture around it on the Claddagh, to make sure the next generation knows all about it.

Working on the restoration of LoveenWorking on the restoration of Loveen

The boat was bought by the late Nick Dolan, a close friend of the Oliver family before he died in 2011 and presented to the Port of Galway Sea Scouts. I asked Ciarán how he feels about reaching the completion of the project:

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Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for Afloat.ie. He also presents the radio programme Maritime Ireland on radio stations around Ireland.

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