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Viking Raiders to Take Galway Tradboat Festival By Pre-Arranged Surprise

23rd May 2017
A quiet evening at the Claddagh, with a classic Galway hooker gliding along on a calm sea. But the peacefulness is going to be rudely shattered with a Viking invasion in the days ahead, just as the many traditional Galway Bay boats are gathering for their annual festival A quiet evening at the Claddagh, with a classic Galway hooker gliding along on a calm sea. But the peacefulness is going to be rudely shattered with a Viking invasion in the days ahead, just as the many traditional Galway Bay boats are gathering for their annual festival

When the Vikings were busy at the day job raiding along the Irish coast, they relied on a considerable element of surprise to achieve success writes W M Nixon. So much so, in fact, that they occasionally worked overtime, and sometimes even at night, in order to close a complex deal on the usual rape and pillage projects.

The memory of this tradition of Viking surprise is still so respected, particularly by the Irish coastal communities which enjoyed their attentions, that they make every effort to allow the heirs to the Viking tradition every possibility of surprising them nowadays all over again.

Or at least that’s the best reason we can think that was given the heads-up only this morning on an intriguing maritime festival which is getting under way tomorrow in the Claddagh in Galway, and runs right through to Sunday. On the other hand, perhaps they’re taking clever account of the fact that last-minute decisions about what to do for the weekend are now the norm. Either way, we’ll let the official announcement speak for itself:

The Vikings Are Coming!

Bádóirí an Ċladaiġ’s (Claddagh Boatmen) Regatta 2017 will not only showcase the most beautiful Galway Hookers and Gleoiteogs in the West, but an invasion of two Viking Long Boats will give this year’s event a decidedly Nordic feel.

The annual regatta will now encompass the inaugural Claddagh Traditional Boat Festival. From Wednesday evening 24th May to Sunday 28th May the Claddagh Basin in the heart of Galway city will showcase twenty uniquely Galway traditional Irish boats. They will include the 5 Galway Hookers and Gleoiteogs built and refurbished by Bádóirí an Ċladaiġ to date.
The talented ship builders are on track in their plans to build a total of fourteen of these iconic vessels, representing the 14 Galway Tribes, in time for 2020, when Galway will be the European Capital of Culture.

The two Viking Long Boats and their crew, from Ardglass in Northern Ireland, are joining their boat making brethren in the West as guests and invaders. The Claddagh Basin will also host a Viking village for the period of the festival. Their presence will be inescapable, with a (weather dependent) full Viking invasion of Salthill on Saturday 27th May.
The Festival will also be an opportunity to demonstrate the City of the Tribes’ traditional Irish music prowess. With the help of many of the local branches of Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann there will be plenty of song and dance on the city’s street corners, and trad sessions galore.

From Wednesday evening to Friday evening the Féile will also showcase some of Galway’s finest music and song talent at the Claddagh Basin.
This festival will engage with 14 primary schools in Galway, Kinvara and out the Connemara Coast so that they "adopt" one of the 14 main traditional boats to be moored in the basin. The school children will learn their history and learn about the boating tradition of the Claddagh and Vikings. They will then take a trip to the Claddagh Basin to see the boats for themselves.

Over 150 primary schools kids in Viking and Medieval Galway costume will, with the invaders from Ardglass Vikings, stage an “attack” and a “defence” of the invasion throughout the streets of Galway, from Lynch’s Castle, down Quay Street to the Spanish Arch on Thursday 12pm, Friday 12pm and Saturday 4pm of the Festival.

At the heart of this festival is a real Galway community and voluntary sector vision and effort. The Latin Quarter, Galway’s Westend, and The Village Salthill business groups are all “on board” with financial support and 14 of the over 20 traditional boats coming will also be supported by individual Galway City Centre and Salthill businesses.

For more information contact Peter Connolly: [email protected]

Published in Historic Boats Team

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