Thursday, June 16, 2011

Watching the Hookers

We watched the hookers on Saturday sail up to Inisheer Island.

The Galway hooker was a traditional fishing boat used in Galway Bay off the west coast of Ireland. The hooker was developed for the strong seas there. It is identified by the distinctive sail formation. It consisted of a single mast with a main sail and two foresails. Traditionally, the boat is black (being coated in pitch) and the sails are a dark red-brown colour. Recently there has been a major revival, and renewed interest in the Galway hooker, and the boats are still being painstakingly constructed. The festival of Cruinniú na mBád is held each year, when boats race across Galway Bay from Connemara to Kinvara on the Galway/Clare county boundary.

We happened to be there that weekend. The boats originally carried limestone from the Aran islands to the Connemara mainland to be used in the making of lime for lime mortar, and carried turf back for fuel to be used on the island.
So in a way they were surf and turf stone boats.

While we were watching the hookers racing in the bay I couldn't help but notice the very sculptural shape of these Inisheer pier mooring posts and couldn't resist the photo opportunity of clothing one a little better.