Traditional Boats of Ireland: History, Folklore and Construction
The story of traditional boats reveals much about Ireland's social and economic history - how its people harnessed the sea's resources, and how new ideas, along with people, goods and animals, were carried throughout its extensive inland and coastal waters.
Ireland's diverse marine environments have given rise to a variety of boat types: flat-bottomed craft still dominate inland waters, while smooth hulled 'skin' boats (curachs) have for generations inhabited exposed coasts unsuited to large sailing craft. Viking-style clinker sailing yawls characterised the north and east coasts, while in the south and west, great carvel-built hookers were once commonplace. Many examples of traditional craft still form part of the fabric of coastal and inland water communities - as work boats or pleasure boats. Sadly, many now lie idle in harbours or on slipways, hauled up on the shores of lakes or hidden from view by foliage along the banks of rivers.
This study draws substantially on local knowledge and oral history, as well as archival and contemporary material, to provide a detailed account of traditional craft, from the nineteenth century to the present day. It is a story that will appeal to the Specialist and general reader alike, and to all whose lives are touched in different ways by the power and wonder of the sea.
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