Established in 1996, Bádóirí an Ċladaiġ Teo is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the restoration and maintenance of Galway’s traditional Hooker fleet. Our mission is to preserve Galway’s Maritime Heritage by revitalising the historical Claddagh Hookers’ unique place in Galway’s present and the nation's heritage.
By combining the expertise, passion and ingenuity of local experts, we help to educate and pass on the knowledge and skills needed to restore and rebuild these beautiful vessels.
Working in collaboration with the people of Galway, the City and County Councils, government agencies, wider supporters and associations, it is the aim of Bádóirí an Ċladaiġ Teo to revive Galway’s Maritime Heritage by restoring a fleet of Galway Hookers and to sail them again on the Atlantic coast. With their burnt red sails and distinctive black hulls, these celebrated boats have for centuries sailed all over the western coastal region, ferrying people to and from the Aran Islands, carrying cargos of turf, livestock and all manner of supplies. From the emblem of Galway City to the russet iron fountain at the top of Eyre Square, the Galway Hooker occupies a unique and powerful place in the heart of Galway’s past and present culture.
For centuries, Galway Hookers were the maritime workhorses of the west of Ireland, vital for trade with France and Spain. What a sight it must have been to see a full fleet of these beautiful boats moored beside their natural home in the Kingdom of the Claddagh. Early in the 20th century the Claddagh fishing industry went into decline due to increasing competition from huge trawlers. Galway’s Hooker fleet was decimated, until in 1980, for the first time since the ancient ceremony began, there was not a single Galway Hooker available to take the local Dominican priest out to bless Galway Bay. It would be a tragedy to lose the history, the heritage fleet, the knowledge and skills, and the memories that these boats evoke.
Bádóirí an Ċladaiġ Teo are well on the way to realising our ambition of training new craftsmen and sailors and rebuilding the fleet. Our fleet currently consists of five fully restored and in use boats; Croí an Ċladaiġ, Laithbaid, 32ft, The Manuela, Gleoteoig, 23ft, Naomh Crónán, full Hooker, 40ft, Bádóirí an Ċladaiġ, Gleoiteog Beag, 21ft and Bád Micilín, Gleoiteog, 23ft with another five boats undergoing restoration, including the 47ft full Hooker Naomh Bairbre and Laithbaid Meaircín Joe.
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