The Galway Hooker (Húicéir in Irish) is a traditional boat distinctive to Galway Bay and the coast of Connemara. This iconic craft, sturdy, yet elegant and agile, is characterized by a black-coloured hull (the colour was originally due to a tar coating) and rust-red sails. This peculiar colour, now considered as traditional, was originally due to a process known as “barking”: the cotton sailcloth was soaked in a solution made from tree bark, to ensure long-life of the fabric, protecting the sails from mould, mildew and rot. This treatment had the disadvantage of making the sails very heavy, a problem now solved by using rust-red Terylene.
Built out of native white oak, larch and beech, the hooker has curved lines, a tumble-home hull and a raked transom; she has a single mast with a gaff-rigged main sail, a foresail and a jib extended beyond the bow on a bowsprit. 
Specially developed to sail in the treacherous waters of the rugged Connemara coast, the hooker has a shallow draught; the hull is generally half-decked, except in the smallest craft - the Púcán - which is an open boat. The internal ballast is made up mainly of local stones, carefully selected and skilfully arranged amidships.

Hookers are distinguished by four classes, according to the length and the type of the rig:

1) Bád Mór (Big Boat): length from 10.5 to 13.5 metres (35 to 44 feet), with decking forward of the mast.

2) Leathbhád (Half Boat): length approx. 10 metres (32 feet), very similar to the Bád Mór, with decking forward of the mast; this type is known as a half-boat, because the load it can carry is roughly half of that of the bigger one.

3) Gleoiteog: length from 7 to 9 metres (24 to 28 feet): similar to the previous one, this boat is generally open, even though some can have a small fore-deck. The class is further divided into Gleoiteog Mhór and Gleoiteog Bheag for racing purposes. The name of this boat is probably derived from the Irish term “gleoite”, meaning “pretty”.

4) Púcán: length from 7 to 9 metres (24 to 28 feet), while quite similar to a Gleoiteog, she differs because she is always an open boat. The rig too is different. The Púcán has a large dipping lug and a small jib. Its name may derive from “wrap around”, related to the peculiar swinging of the lugsail around the mast.

Once an utilitarian boat, used for "hook and line" fishing and to carry many different goods (turf, limestone, livestock, seaweeds), the Galway Hooker is now a leisure craft. These boats are used also for sailing courses and for exciting trips along the wonderful coasts of Connemara.

Classes of Hookers


YEAR: 1852
BUILT IN: Inishbarra
BUILDER: Mathias Gorham
OWNER: Dermot O'Flaherty

 


YEAR: 1892
BUILT IN : Black Weir
BUILDER : Patrick Brannelly
OWNER: Máirtín O' Briain

 


YEAR: 1912
BUILT IN: Mweenish
BUILDER: Martin Casey
OWNER: Mike & Sue Fahy

 


YEAR: n.a.
BUILT IN: Tirnee
BUILDER: Patrick Griffin
OWNER: Finn Mac Mullan


YEAR: 2015
BUILT IN: Lettermore
BUILDER: Joe Reaney
OWNER: Dara Bailey

 


YEAR: 1914
BUILT IN: Lettermore
BUILDER: Martin Casey
OWNER: Aongus O' Flatharta

 


YEAR: 1996
BUILT IN: Carraroe
BUILDER: Pat Folan
OWNER: Pat Folan

 


YEAR: 1821
BUILT IN: Mweenish
BUILDER: Martin Casey
OWNER: Peter Molloy

 


YEAR: 2012
BUILT IN: Woodford
BUILDER: Mattie O' Malley
OWNER: Mattie O' Malley

 


YEAR: 2005
BUILT IN: Lettermore
BUILDER: Joe Reaney
OWNER: Dara O' Flatharta

 


YEAR: 2014
BUILT IN: Rosmuc
BUILDER: Patrick Connolly
OWNER: Galway City Council


YEAR: 1990
BUILT IN: Camus
BUILDER: Colm Walsh
OWNER: Matt Flaherty

 


YEAR: 1917
BUILT IN: Mweenish
BUILDER: Pádraig O' Casey
OWNER: Ciarán Mc Donncha, Martin Keane

 


YEAR: 1940
BUILT IN: Inishbarra
BUILDER: Joe Bháitéir Seoige
OWNER: Seán Kelly

 


YEAR: 2002
BUILT IN: Damros
BUILDER: Donal Greene
OWNER: Micheál Kelly

 


YEAR: 1994
BUILT IN: Clynagh, Carraroe
BUILDER: Colm Mulkerrins
OWNER: Patrick Mc Donagh


YEAR: 2015
BUILT IN: Inverin
BUILDER: Patrick Connolly
OWNER: Pádraig Bailey

 


YEAR: 1916
BUILT IN: Galway
BUILDER: Séan O' Domhnaill
OWNER: Cóilín O' hIarnáin

 


YEAR: 2009
BUILT IN: Lettermore
BUILDER: SeánMc Donncha
OWNER: Máirtín Og Mc Donncha

 


YEAR: n.a.
BUILT IN: Rosmuc
BUILDER: James Nee
OWNER: Máirtín O' Droighneáin


YEAR: 2010
BUILT IN: Rosmuc
BUILDER: Briocán Mannion
OWNER: Briocán Mannion

 


YEAR: 1860
BUILT IN: Lettermore
BUILDER: Michael Reaney
OWNER: Bailey Family

 


YEAR: 1852
BUILT IN: Carraroe
BUILDER: Pádraig Mc Donagh
OWNER: Mc Donagh Family

 


YEAR: 2002
BUILT IN: Carna
BUILDER: Colm Mulkerrins
OWNERS: Pádraig O' Cualain,
      Eimer Joyce,
         Máirtín Báiréad

 


YEAR: 2002
BUILT IN: Lettermore
BUILDER: Joe Reaney
OWNER: John Beag O' Flatharta

 


YEAR: 1890
BUILT IN: Black Weir
BUILDER: Patrick Brannelly
OWNER: Tommy Kelly

 


YEAR: 2006
BUILT IN: Carraroe
BUILDER: Pat Folan Michael Mc Donagh
OWNER: Stiofán de Bhailís,
Seán O' Dubháin

 


YEAR: 1896
BUILT IN: Inishbarra
BUILDER: Martin Casey
OWNER: Pádraig O' Cualáin

 


YEAR: 1997
WHERE: Letterard
BUILDER: Colm Mulkerrins
OWNER: Frank Cooke

 


YEAR: 2012
WHERE: Galway
BUILDER: Joe Seoighe
OWNER: Bádoirí an Cladaigh

 


YEAR: 1872
BUILT IN: Galway
BUILDER: Micil Ráinne
OWNER: Joe Ráinne

 


YEAR: 1999
WHERE: Carraroe
BUILDER: Pat Folan, Michael Mc Donagh
OWNER: Séan Mc Donncha

 


YEAR: 1993
BUILT IN: Dublin
BUILDER: John Healion
OWNER: Cian de Buitléar

 


YEAR: 1924
BUILT IN: Galway
BUILDER:  Séan Cloherty
OWNER: Pádraig Seoighe

 


YEAR: 2007
BUILT IN: Carraroe
BUILDER: Pat Folan, Michael Mc Donncha
OWNER: Jimmy Keady

 


YEAR: 1978
BUILT IN: Inishnee
BUILDER: Páádraig Davis
OWNER: Donncha Mac Con Iomaire

 


YEAR: 2003
BUILT IN: Lettermore
BUILDER: Joe Reaney
OWNER: Antaine O' Gríofa

 


YEAR: 1997
BUILT IN: Lettermore
BUILDER: Joe Reaney
OWNER: Colm O' Flatharta

 


YEAR: 2008
BUILT IN: Lettermullan
BUILDER: Martin Mullins
OWNER: Pádraig Barrett

 


YEAR: 1931
BUILT IN: Galway
BUILDER: Séan Reaney
OWNER: Pádraig de Bháldraithe