In association with Bádóirí an Cladaig, Port of Galway Sea Scouts, various Sailing Clubs in Galway City & County, and the wider Claddagh Community, Galway Bay Boat Tours is embarking on a new community based project to restore the “Lovely Anne” Gleoiteog and roll out a series of Traditional Sail Training Programmes for 2019.
The Lovely Anne:
This 140 year-old workboat was built in 1882 by Galway boat-wright, Patrick Brannelly (famous for building An Tónaí & the Morning Star).
The Lovely Anne has a fascinating story. After being part of Galway’s hooker fleet in the early 1900s she was sold over 45 years ago in Spiddal to Jim Parkinson, who fished her for many years. Later he relocated to Killybegs, Co. Donegal and the boat has been in his possession ever since.
This boat has recently been brought back to Galway by Ross Forde (Brannelly's Great-Great Grandson), where she will join the rest of the hooker fleet based in the City.
A New Era:
Jim Parkinson has been so inspired by our ambition to breath life back into Galway’s sailing traditions that he has kindly come to an arrangement with Ross and our group to return the Lovely Anne to her home port of Galway.
The Lovely Anne will, therefore, be our dedicated training vessel over the next few years.
Since the outstanding success of Bádóirí an Cladaig over the last 10 years & the inaugural traditional boat/hooker festival in 2017, local Galway Hookers are sailing in Galway Bay more than ever!
With the objective of extending these experiences to non-sailing / fishing families we ran a number of Hooker Crew Training Courses in conjunction with Galway Technical Institute (GRETB), and from this we have been approached by a number of people to run more courses.
Hence we have continued to develop this idea within a community project dedicated to:
• Providing Hooker Skills training to local schools, clubs & individual’s.
• Working with Bádóirí an Cladaig to extend our Hooker Fleet.
• Social inclusion projects to provide people of all ages within the City & County the option of learning how to sail these iconic boats.
• Education programmes focusing upon traditional sailing, culture, heritage & the health promoting benefits of ocean community living.
• Provide opportunities for local community groups to sail in the Lovely Anne & engage in education projects, such as: sailing, survival skills and team-building, as well as link with the local aquarium and Port of Galway Sea Scouts to provide further sea-life educational programmes for children.
• A unique online educational platform engaging conversations around traditional boatbuilding skills, sailing and related activities.
Over 20 adults have already completed our first two Hooker Crew Skills courses since September, and 15 more are currently undergoing training. We are delighted with the response and have plans to announce further bespoke training opportunities in the near future for all age groups.
We very much hope that you will be able to join us for this unique moment in history, where the old meets the new – where our Claddagh heritage engages a whole new generation of people who love ocean living as much as we do.
Skipper Ciaran Oliver explains how Galway Hooker Boats have been around for over 400 years:
“Our fathers & great-great grandfathers fished in these boats. They used to be the lifeblood of our community. They kept our families alive.
We want to share this history and reconnect people to boats & sailing as a way of life. Unfortunately, a lot of our children don’t know anything about Galway’s past, and particularly how the sea fundamentally shaped the development of the City.
So, it is a dream of ours that every child living in Galway City & County have the ‘RIGHT’ & 'OPPORTUNITY' to learn how to sail.
This is what this project is all about… community, boats, sailing, heritage as a living tradition & the health & wellbeing of our future generations!"