An Bád Mór, Cruinniú na mBád
The photo is a memorable for me for two reasons; firstly because I had been trying to capture the Galway Hookers in decent light for a number of years and secondly I ended up wading back to the car with my camera bag held high above my head when the peninsula I had been perched on to get a good vantage point became an island at high tide...
The Galway Hookers have been in use for centuries in and around Galway Bay as the work horses of the western seaboard to ferry cattle, sheep, pigs, turf etc up and down the coast. On of the unique features of the Galway Hookers is their distinctive red sails, a result of the sail cloths traditionally being coated in butter which acted as a preservative. Over the years this butter turned red to give the fabrics their familiar colour. The design of the hookers also meant they were able to sail in shallow waters which made them ideal for the areas around South Connemara.
All of the boats in the photograph are the biggest class of the Galway Hooker and are taking part in Bád Mór race at the Cruinniú na mBád (Gathering of the Boats) festival in Kinvara, Co. Galway. This festival gathers together upwards of a 100 boats for a weekend of racing and celebration each August.
While the last of the Galway Hookers retired from active service in the 1950’s, many of the boats which race in the Cruinniú na mBád are up to 180 years old and have been owned and crewed by the same families for up to five generations.
See my other Cruinniú na mBád panorama photo