The 37th Cruinniu na mBad , “Gathering of the Boats” will take place in Kinvara on the weekend of August 14, 15, and 16. This unique Galway Hooker and wooden boat festival has been held each year since 1979, the brainchild of local man Tony Moylan, who passed away in June of this year.
The Galway hookers were the workhorses of transport under sail, trading mostly turf from Connemara to the Aran Islands and the south Galway and Clare coasts. With the introduction of bottled gas and better road infrastructure in the fifties and sixties, these boats became redundant and most were left abandoned. However, a small number of Connemara families did continue to maintain their old boats, and this was hugely important when the “revival” began in the seventies, when many old boats were restored, and new ones built.
There is no doubt that festivals like Cruinniu na mBad are hugely important in keeping this part of Ireland’s maritime heritage alive, and this year again, three hookers, each more than 150 years old, will load up with turf in Connemara and cross Galway Bay, using their original calico sails, to land their cargo in old Kinvara Quay.
There is lots to look forward to at this year’s event including numerous boat races, plenty of music and entertainment, barbecues, a tug of war, and children’s entertainment including a fancy dress event and a bouncy castle.
To find out more, visit www.cruinniunambad.com