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Home » Ireland » Regional News »

Print The Irish Times - Friday, October 14, 2011

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Hooker tacks to Abu Dhabi: Galway links up with Arab world
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THE CENTURIES-OLD Galway hooker will be introduced to the Arab world at the end of this month when a hooker is transported to the United Arab Emirates. It is intended also to include two currachs in the consignment and there will be a crew of six for the hooker, including musicians and a sean-nós traditional singer. In return, a flotilla of six traditional Arabian dhow sailing vessels will be sent to Galway Bay next summer for the finish of the Volvo Ocean Race in July. Dhows have become popular once again with the introduction of races involving these traditional craft. The Galway hooker and its crew, who are being supported by Tourism Ireland and private backers, are to join in the celebrations at the Abu Dhabi stopover of the 59,500km (37,000-mile) Volvo Ocean Race from January 1st to 14th. The Emirates Heritage Club is hosting the Irish boat in Abu Dhabi and is also sending the flotilla of dhows to Galway. The club has linked up with Cumann Húicéirí na Gaillimhe/ Galway Hooker Association. Dr Peter Vine who runs a media company in the UAE and has a residence in Co Galway said here yesterday: “Both organisations have been instrumental in reviving traditional wooden boats, which were once working boats”. A global village is being established in Galway from June 28th to July 8th to coincide with the end of the Volvo race. Its purpose is to promote innovation, food products, green technology and marine developments. The main purpose of sending the hooker to Abu Dhabi is to promote the global village, which is being set up by the Let’s Do It Global organisation, chaired by entrepreneur Enda O’Coineen. Let’s Do It Global is also responsible for organising the finish of the Volvo race and it provides backing to the Sanya team of Chinese and Irish competitors. Mr O’Coineen said the visit of the hooker to Abu Dhabi “will make Ireland and Galway stand out as a destination and inspire people’s imagination”. There is to be a regatta of traditional craft in Galway that will include hookers and dhows. Dhows weigh 300-500 tonnes, and have a long, thin hull design.

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