Last updated: August 22, 2016
The annual gathering of the Galway Hookers in Kinvara is always a lively affair and this Festival has been on the go now for almost 40 years. It is a great celebration of these fantastic boats and, more importantly, the people that continue to maintain and sail them, even though the boats no longer fulfil the purpose for which they were built, except at Festivals such as Crinniú na mBád, when one or two are loaded with turf to maintain the tradition. So it was wonderful for us to attend the Festival and sing a few songs.
We arrived on Friday evening and we sang a set of songs for the diners in the North Pier restaurant, which overlooks the picturesque Kinvara Pier. We wandered around then the various pubs and most of them were heaving with people and music and craic. On Saturday we were back down in the North Pier pub drinking coffee when a large group of cyclists arrived from Dublin on a charity cycle in aid of autism research from Clontarf to Lahinch. Sure we had to sing them Billy O’Shea while they had their soup and sandwiches and we saw them off with a good rendition of Roseanna. Saturday afternoon saw us over at Parkmore Pier where there was a BBQ for the boatmen and their friends. There was lovely traditional music to be heard in the marquee but we sang a few songs and we enjoyed some lovely Guinness too. We adjourned from there to the Thatch Hotel in Kinvara to watch Waterford beat Antrim in the u21 hurling semi-final and we stayed on to see Galway beat Dublin in the other semi final; hopefully too Waterford will beat Galway in the final in a few weeks. Later on that evening we went to a talk and a film on the northwest and northeast passage voyages of the Northabout and that was followed by Coda, a shanty group from Sligo, who sang a selection of beautiful songs, one or two of which we hadn’t heard before. Down then to the North Pier bar where Coda sang a few more songs before they departed for home and we sang a few more shanties, and then we sang a few more songs and ballads and then a great sing song followed with several superb singers participating.
An open air mass was held on the pier on Sunday, followed by the blessing of the boats and we left for home soon after. We opted for the longer coastal route through Ballyvaughan (where we sang Time Ashore for the diners), Black Head, Doolin and the very foggy Cliffs of Moher. While the weather was just a little bit inclement for the weekend, the craic was ninety all the same and we had great fun as usual. Thanks to Michael Brogan for having us and to Pat and Mary for putting us up and especially Pat who fed us and looked after us so well over the weekend.
9 August: Below is a copy of a newspaper advertisement that appeared in the Waterford Mirror in 1834. That's 182 years ago! And Waterford to Halifax in 22 days aboard the Molloy Moore!
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