Naoimh Barbara was the dream of Connemara-born construction worker Steve Mulkerrins.
It was thanks to the self- belief of Steve Mulkerrins that the largest Galway hooker ever built was not only completed, but sailed several thousand miles “across the pond”.
“All you can do is throw her in and pray to the man above,” says Mulkerrins, who had never built a boat before. “Out there, you find religion very quick.”
Finding a lot more than that when weighing anchor, Mulkerrins and crew sailed the Naomh Bairbre through the Great Lakes, down the St Lawrence Seaway and across the Atlantic via the Azores in 2006.
The white Wicklow oak craft was more than up to the crossing, and a flotilla of some 40 vessels was there to greet it on the home stretch from Aran’s Gregory’s Sound to Leitir Móir.
More than ten years later, the 14m (47ft) Naomh Bairbre is under the care of Bádóirí an Chladaigh as we plan her next big adventure.