If you’re ready to see the iconic Galway Hooker in action, there are numerous spots around the UK where you can see her in full sail. Here, we look at some of the top sailing festivals in Ireland where you’re sure to spot this stunning boat on the water.
Cruinniu na mBad Festival
Held every year in Augusty in Kinvara in County Galway, this famous sailing regatta is the best of itskind. Taking the Galway Hooker right back to its origins, this maritime event is one of the top festivals in Ireland, and is known to be the best maritime spectacle in the country. Based on the great boating tradition of this region, this Irish named event is designed especially to celebrate this iconic boat, reminding attendees of the time when turf was brought as fuel to Kinvara by the Galway Hookers. First founded back in the late 1970s by Tony Moyland, this event has been going strong for four decades and looks set to carry on for many more, commemorating the commerce which has traditionally existed between the Kinvara and Connemara coasts.
The Cruinniu na mBad displays the hookers in of their glory, parading around Galway Bay. For sailing enthusiasts, this is a true paradise with many kinds of craft competing and sailing. Another top highlight of this festival is the Climin – a raft which is constructed from seaweed. This commemorates the traditional industry of seaweed harvesting that once thrived on Ireland’s west coast.
The Dublin Port Riverfest
If you want to travel a little further afield to Ireland’s capital, the Dublin Port Riverfest is the ideal event to attend. Held on the North Wall Quay of the historic city, this family friendly event is an exciting festival with events off and on the water. The event is best known for its majestic schooners and tall ships which sail in especially for this occasion, and tourists queue up to get on board and explore the decks of these gorgeous boats. Water lovers love the wakeboarding demonstrations and kayaking sessions, and one of the must-see sights is the tugboat dance. For those who prefer to get their thrills off water, there are stalls, street performers and amusements galore. While the Galway Hooker may not be the star of this event, she will be there in all her splendour, so join the 25,000 other attendees and visit next year!
Wexford Maritime Festival
Head to County Wexford for June’s annual Wexford Maritime Festival. This event is the ideal opportunity to explore Ireland’s ancient Eastern maritime gateway, celebrating the rich long seafaring history of Wexford, this annual festival commemorates everything from as far back as the Vikings to as recently as Commodore Barry, the founder of America’s Navy. Taking place on Wexford’s Quays, the festival boasts an impressive array of children’s events, maritime activities, food stalls and entertainment from raft races and watersports to aerobatic displays, live music, a model village and a BBQ. This event is especially popular with foodies, and the Feast of Wexford food village showcases artisan products from the local area. There is also a Search & Rescue Village where visitors can discover real life stories of heroes and volunteers from the Irish Coast Guard, RNLI, Irish Army, Civil Defence, HSE, Wexford MarineWatch and Irish Water Safety. Again, the Galway Hooker will be in attendance, although she won’t be the highlight of the day.
The Irish Maritime Festival
Held in June, the Irish Maritime Festival takes to another beautiful location, Louth’s Quayside Drogheda Port. If you only attend one Irish maritime festival, this is the biggest, taking place everysummer in the city. As you’d expect from the largest event of its type in the country, you’ll find allkinds of activity going on both off shore and on it. However, the best entertainment, of course, is tobe found on the water and there is plenty of water action from pirate battles to tall ships. There’s something for everyone, from a craft beer zone and artisan food stalls to a health & beauty zone and kids activities. With 40,000 people attracted to this award-winning maritime festival each year, it’s one of the best places to catch the Galway Hooker in action.