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Cruinniú na mBád Fleet and Festival Celebration Returns to Kinvara This Weekend

12th August 2022
Maighdean Mhara with it's crew and cargo of turf off Parkmore during Cruinniu na mBad at Kinvara in August 2011
Maighdean Mhara with it's crew and cargo of turf off Parkmore during Cruinniu na mBad at Kinvara in August 2011 Credit: Joe O'Shaughnessy

After a forced pandemic suspension, the Cruinniú na mBád festival of traditional craft returns this weekend to Kinvara, Co Galway.

The opening ceremony tonight, Friday, August 12th, will include speakers Dr Karen Weekes, the first Irish woman to row solo across the Atlantic, poster artist Lily Johnston, and local musicians attending will include Declan O’Rourke, John Faulkner, Tony Trundel, Steve Johnston and Paul Mulligan.

Kinvara’s Friday farmers’ market runs, as usual, this afternoon, while a hurling tournament will take place this evening in memory of festival founder Tony Moylan.

At the 40th anniversary cruinniú August 2019, a plaque dedicated to Moylan was unveiled at the Kinvara pier head, along with a wooden bench made by Kinvara men’s shed group.

Padraig Bailey tidies up the turf on the deck of the Galway Hooker, An Capall, after arriving off Parkmore on the the first leg of the turf race at the 2011 Cruinniu na mBad FestivalPadraig Bailey tidies up the turf on the deck of the Galway Hooker, An Capall, after arriving off Parkmore on the the first leg of the turf race at the 2011 Cruinniu na mBad Festival Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

In 1979, Moylan persuaded three of the oldest turfboats – Galway “bád mór” hookers, An Capall, An Tonaí and An Maighdean Mhara- to revive a sea journey from south Connemara to south Galway.

The wooden-built trading vessels with their distinctive “tumblehome” hulls had delivered turf to south Galway, Clare and the Aran Islands for generations, as neither the limestone Burren on Clare’s coast nor the Aran islands had landscape for turf.

An Tonai sails past Dunguaire Castle to Kinvara pier at the finish of the turf race at Cruinniu na mBad.An Tonai sails past Dunguaire Castle to Kinvara pier at the finish of the turf race at Cruinniu na mBad Joe O'Shaughnessy

As Afloat reported earlier, that vital freight journey will be remembered tomorrow, Saturday, August 13th, when a fleet loaded up with turf sods at Parkmore pier at 2.30 pm will sail into Kinvara at around 5 pm.

Saturday’s first event is horseshoe throwing from 12 noon, a village fete at the quay from 1 pm, the “Green Island” swim at 4 pm, and the fleet “sail-in” at 5 pm. Live music in Tully’s Bar on Saturday night will be performed by the Vibe Tribe.

On Sunday, August 14th, there will be outdoor mass at 12 noon and both horseshoe throwing and the village fete resume.

While Tully’s bar hosts a live “trad” music session from 3 pm, the race of hookers, including the bád mor, leath-bhád, gleoiteog and pucán, will set off from 3 pm out in the bay.

The cargo is thrown ashore from the Galway hooker An Tonai at Kinvara Pier following the 2011 Turf Race at Cruinniu na mBadThe cargo is thrown ashore from the Galway hooker An Tonai at Kinvara Pier following the 2011 Turf Race at Cruinniu na mBad Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

A children’s fancy dress contest takes place at 4 pm on Sunday, and the hotly contested climín or seaweed raft race is on the water at 4pm. Among the participants will be a team including transatlantic oarswoman Dr Karen Weekes.

The cruinniú award ceremony is scheduled for 5 pm, and there will also be an auction of paintings, before it closes on Sunday evening.

Published in Galway Hookers
Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Search and Rescue: True stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116 (2022); Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004); and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010). She is also co-producer with Sarah Blake of the Doc on One "Miracle in Galway Bay" which recently won a Celtic Media Award

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