Foto Friday: The Galway Hooker

Galway Hooker, Ireland

 

They can be seen in the summer months, gliding silently across the Galway Bay, flashes of black and red, reminiscent of the ships of pirates.

The Galway Hooker – a sailing vessel originating in the 18th century – is a gorgeous sight on the sea. Built as fishing and cargo boats for those living on the west coast of Ireland, the term “hooker” refers to hook and line fishing – which makes way more sense than my original thought that they were talking about an Irish prostitute (silly American).

These boats have sharp bows, sides that curve outward, and a sturdiness that allowed the fisherman to navigate the rough waterways. They were also used in trade between Galway and Kinvara, another sea port village located across the bay. The Hookers would load up with turf from the bogs in Connemara (used for fuel) and sail over to Kinvara, an area that has no bogs. In turn, the boats would then be stocked with barley, lime, and timber from Kinvara to bring back to Galway.

Today the Galway Hooker is a proud symbol of maritime history and tradition in the west of Ireland. You can see them in action in annual races, at festivals such as Kinvara’s annual celebration, Cruinniú na mBád (Gathering of the Boats), and you can even hop aboard one in Galway.

They are truly majestic.

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