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Tracking history across borders

posted on 15/11/2011: 2173 views

School children in Galway in the west of Ireland are tracking the journey of a 95-year-old Irish sailing boat to Abu Dhabi which will go on show in the UAE capital’s Corniche destination village that will this new year host the Volvo Ocean Race fleet and a fortnight of celebrations to mark the historic occasion.

The traditional Galway hooker Nora Bheag (Little Nora) is already on a container ship on its way to Abu Dhabi and is expected to arrive around the first week of December, coinciding with the celebrations of UAE’s 40th National Day. The crew of Nora Bheag includes musicians Mike and Sue Fahy who will also perform in Abu Dhabi’s destination village which opens free-of-charge to the public from Dec. 31 to Jan.14.

The container also contains a small two-man rowing curach, which is based on a very ancient craft that was built from a wooden framework on which animal hides were attached and later in history the hides were replaced by canvas which was soaked in bitumen.

This particular curach has a skin of fibreglass instead of the canvas but in all other respects resembles the original vessel.

The journey, being tracked online, via the website, an educational exercise by schoolchildren from Colaiste na Coiribe and Community College, Moneenageisha in Galway and the Comprehensive School in Carraroe, Co. Galway.

It is also creating great excitement for Abu Dhabi as a destination, according to Peter Vine, of Let’s Do It Galway, which is behind Galway’s fleet hosting celebrations.

“Abu Dhabi’s participation in the Volvo Ocean Race has heightened awareness of the destination throughout the whole Galway area and with Etihad’s non-stop air links between Ireland and the UAE capital, more people than ever are looking at holidaying here or stopping over on their way to other destinations, such as Australia,” explained Vine.

“There is a cultural link between Ireland and the UAE in that both share much-treasured marine heritages. There are great similarities between the Irish hookers and the Arabian dhows in that both were used for personal transport and fishing.”

The name “hooker” refers to four classes of traditional sailing boats from the west coast of Ireland. â€" The Gulf Today


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