Beer and Boats – Bringing an iconic Galway Hooker back to life

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Galway Daily life & style Bringing the iconic Galway Hooker back to life
Photo Martina Regan.

The Galway Hooker is iconic across the country, both as a boat, and for the range of unique artisan beers.

The two wouldn’t seem to cross over in more than name, but that is no longer the case, as volunteers from Galway Hooker Brewery have taken on the restoration of one of these historic boats.

Galway Hooker Sailing Club was established in 2019 with a vision to make Hookers accessible to everyone and anyone who shares an interest in their revival.

Commodore Ciaran Oliver, along with a core team of people, brought together a community of volunteers to support the expertise of boatwright Cóilín Hernon & Sons.

The past years have seen them restore a number of these iconic craft to their original seafaring condition, teaching people to repair, care for, and sail them along the way.

Galway Hooker Brewery has brought their boat, the Caper Beag, to the sailing club to put it back on the water where it belongs.

Photo Martina Regan.

This will in turn provide the club with an additional boat to use for training crew and providing open community sailing events.

The process of restoring a Galway Hooker is dependent on the condition of the boat – from a full rebuild, to replacing ribs, planks, or spars – with all work done to ensure that the original shape and history of the boat remains intact.

Caper Beag, originally built c1890, has recently been made seaworthy by the Hernons, with the addition of a new back beam, knees and helm seat, a repaired stem plus more.

“It is an inspiration for me to see the passion and dedication the Galway Hooker Sailing Club bring to this beautiful and traditional craft,” said Aidan Murphy founder of Galway Hooker Beer. 

“I am extremely honoured to be associated with the families and friends of the Sailing Club.”

“I’m sure we will have many exciting days out on the bay, and who knows, maybe even a beer or two!”

Galway Hooker Brewery is based in Oranmore, where they brew an award winning range of ales, lagers, and stouts.

Photo Martina Regan.

Not content to stay with the familiar, over time they have experimented with beers in Mango, Citrus, Berry, Cherry, and Honey flavours.

This boat is now with a team of both club volunteers and staff at the brewery for the final stages of restoration work.

Over the next few weeks they will caulk, sand and paint her, so she can join the rest of the Galway Hooker Sailing Club fleet that sail from the Claddagh this Summer.