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Galway Hooker Association

18th December 2009

Galway Hooker Association – Cumann na Húicéirí

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History

The GHA was established in 1978 for the purpose of promoting the restoration and preservation of traditional boats in Ireland, especially the Galway Hooker in its various forms (gleoiteog, púcán, leathbhád and bád mór). As well as that it provided a means of communication between people who shared a common interest. In its first annual newsletter (January 1980) the aims of the association were elaborated in greater detail as follows:

• to promote interest in hookers, púcáns and gleoiteogs

• to supervise and control racing and regattas

• to preserve existing boats and to revive the classes

• to define the class specification for each of the three classes

• to encourage any other activities, which would promote these aims

In the intervening years there has been a great revival of interest in these boats accompanied by the rebuilding and re-commissioning of old craft along with the construction of new boats. The Galway hooker, once a working craft, owes its revival to its new life as a leisure craft and it can be seen at annual summer festivals and regattas in the Galway area (from Kinvara in the southeast to Roundstone in the northwest) as well as at other coastal locations (Portaferry, Dublin and Baltimore). Much of the history and lore of the boats has been preserved – in the GHA newsletter, in Iris Phléaráca, in Dick Scott’s book 'The Galway Hooker' (which has gone into its fourth edition), by programme's produced by Raidio na Gaeltachta, by the documentary films of Éamon and Cian de Buitléar and of Bob Quinn, and by the archives of the Folklore Department of University College Dublin.

As the age and small number of craftsmen were a cause of concern for the future of the Galway hooker, it was decided to set up a training course in the skills of traditional boat building in 1996. Two boat wrights took part in the project, a number of young men were trained and two new craft were built as part of the course - a leathbhád (Colmcille) and a gleoiteog mhór (Naomh Ciarán).

The above information and image courtesy of the Galway Hooker Association

 

Galway Hooker Association – Cumann na Húicéirí, Oifig Forbartha, An Cheathrú Rua, Co. na Gaillimhe. Tel: 091 869750, email: [email protected]

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