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Dr Brogan Will See All Traditional Boat Enthusiasts on March 11th…

3rd March 2021
Man of the West – Dr Mick Brogan
Man of the West – Dr Mick Brogan Credit: W M Nixon

Dr Mick Brogan is very much at home in the west of Ireland, with his life as a country GP in Mayo neatly balancing his life as a traditional boat sailor, home-ported in Kinvara. In fact, he is so much a man of the west that he becomes restless if he spends any significant time east of the Shannon.

But between the day job and the leisure time interests, there was plenty to keep him occupied along the Atlantic seaboard, and though he had retired from medicine, he was very soon back in harness, re-joining the strength for the battle with COVID-19.

In that capacity, he found his interests over-lapping, as he is Chairman of Cruinniu na mBad in Kinvara. It was way back in early May, when he and his Committee crisply cancelled the mid-August 2020 Gathering of the Boats – always an epic party - that many of us properly realized, for the first time, how anything in sailing that had serious socializing at its core was off the agenda for the foreseeable future.

Dangerously sociable for pandemic times – communal unloading of the turf at Kinvara after it has been raced in time-honoured style across Galway Bay from ConnemaraDangerously sociable for pandemic times – communal unloading of the turf at Kinvara after it has been raced in time-honoured style across Galway Bay from Connemara

The fate of Cruinniu na mBad 2021 is still in the lap of the Roll-out Gods, though if it does happen it will be August 13th to 15th. But meanwhile, Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association have signed up Mick Brogan to Zoom talk on Thursday, March 11th about the new life which has been found for the Galway Hookers and other traditional western craft through restoration or re-building projects.

It's a subject in which he has special expertise, as his own vessel, the much-travelled 45ft 6ins Mac Duach, was designed and built on totally traditional lines by Colm Mulkerrins in Connemara in 1979. Originally, she was cutter rigged with an enormous widow-maker of a main boom, but these days she sets a more sedate ketch rig, yet still sails many miles.

The mighty Mac Duach, built in 1979. Originally she was cutter-rigged, and it was under that rig that Mick Brogan sailed her to the Faroes and many other distant placesThe mighty Mac Duach, built in 1979. Originally she was cutter-rigged, and it was under that rig that Mick Brogan sailed her to the Faroes and many other distant places

Mick Brogan's talk at 200hrs on Thursday, March 11th will to some extent following on from Dennis Aylmer's talk on his acquisition of the Galway Hooker Morning Star in 1966. Mick for his part will chart the early revival of interest in the Galway Hooker during the 1970s and 1980s, following its decline during the previous seventy years.

By the 1960s, there no hookers working under sail north of Slyne Head. The Saint John, Inishbofin's mailboat, was under engine. The "Westport" hookers of Achill and Clew Bay were no more. In south Connemara, lorries and improved roads had replaced hookers after WW2.

Ten years later, the introduction of bottled gas and electricity to Aran was killing the turf trade. Hookers were going the way of the horse and cart, but despite all the odds, a revival of interest in the hooker took place. Mick will describe this revival, identify the factors that caused it, and provide details of the people and the hookers involved.

The spirit of the west – a re-juvenated Connemara Hooker making good speed to Kinvara against the distinctive background of The BurrenThe spirit of the west – a rejuvenated Connemara Hooker making good speed to Kinvara against the distinctive background of The Burren

DBOGA Fundraising for HOWTH RNLI: Pre-Covid, DBOGA listened to talks together at Poolbeg while passing the RNLI Yellow Welly around for the €5 donation. In Zoom Land, they can't 
do that but the RNLI needs funds. Please click here

DBOGA have so far collected €2,399 against their target of €4,000.

The details of this Zoom meeting are:

WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

Email The Author

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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