A short while ago, I had the absolute delight to catch the Regatta in the very charming village of Roundstone in the heart of Connemara. Since then, I have gone mad painting Galway Hooker fishing boats because they are so majestic, beautiful and strong.
Roundstone is on the west coast of Connemara an area of outstanding natural beauty and inspiration for many artists with hills, valleys and beautiful coastlines.
The Galway hooker is a traditional fishing boat used in Galway Bay off the west coast of Ireland. The hooker was developed for the strong seas there. It is identified by its sharp, clean entry, bluff bow, marked tumblehome and raked transom. Its sail plan consists of a single mast with a main sail and two foresails.
There are so many interesting places to visit in Connemara, for example:
The rugged, glacially sculpted backdrop to Roundstone is the majestic mountain of Errisbeg, which rises to almost 1,000 feet. No visit to Connemara is ever complete without a visit to the harbour village of Roundstone. It is an ideal base from which to explore the wonderful ice-age scoured and lake-strewn Roundstone Bog. South of the village the crescent-shaped beaches of Gurteen and Dog’s Bay and their intervening tombolo draw thousands each summer.
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Galway Hookers and Currachs in Roundstone, Co. Galway – Yay!
Having spent a fabulous week in Co. Mayo, I headed on up to Clifden in Galway ( the capital of Connemara!)
Aw! the west coast of Ireland, such raw beauty – I feel so happy and energised every time I head for the west and the Wild Atlantic Way.
You can drive the scenic route around the Sky Loop Road which offers spectacular views of the coastline (unfortunately, this time round, the mist came down like a thick blanket ghosting over the landscape and denied me that beauty I’d witnessed just weeks before).
Roundstone is a charming little harbour village. I see signs along the way announcing the regatta from Saturday 21st – Sunday 22nd July – Yay!
This festival is over 200 years old.
I have always, always, wanted to see a regatta with those beautiful red sails of the Galway Hookers up close.
The Galway hooker is a traditional fishing boat used in Galway Bay off the west coast of Ireland. The hooker was developed for the strong seas that exist along the coast. It is identified by its sharp, clean entry, bluff bow, marked tumblehome and raked transom. Wikipedia
I just couldn’t believe my luck to happen upon such a wondrous event!
I have painted the Hookers so many times. My children had attended Irish college in the Gaeltacht areas (Irish tradition), they too sent me photos, knowing my love of the boats and that my paint brushes would always be at the ready.
A currach (Irish: curach, Irish pronunciation: [ˈkʊɾˠax]) is a type of Irish boat with a wooden frame. They are smaller rowing boats and do not need to be anchored. They have a peculiar shape with a deep hull.
Let the Regatta begin:
I found me a “little spot” where I could watch the whole event with a full view of the bay.
I was the child in the candy shop.
Perched on a grassy bank and nibbling some snacks, I noticed through the corner of my eye, a little four legged creature passing by. It began with R and ended in T). Normally, I would get over-excited by such events, I might even scream. But this time, I picked myself up and headed for a large rock where I could see all around me and my little four legged creature went off about his business – perfect!
The day went on and more and more people assembled with cameras and binoculars. There was great excitement and delight. We could just about hear the muffled announcements over the loudspeakers coming from the harbour.
The currachs took off in races one after the other around the buoys. The Hookers cruised around in the background and then it was their turn to sail. I watched them dissapear off into the horizon!
So …………… all I want to do now, is to get painting. I want to remember this day through paint and try to recreate and capture that magic.