Kinvara Cruinniu na mbad. The Gathering of the boats. 1992.
2023 celebrates the 43rd anniversary of Cruinniu na mbad festival, held on the border of county Clare and county Galway off the west coast of Ireland in August. This gathering is a unique experience celebrating the living traditions of these working turf boats. The Galway Hookers plied there trade between north Country Clare, Connemara in Country Galway and the Aran Islands, which had no turf. The inhabitants in these remote areas relied on the boats to supply them with Turf which was plentiful in Connemara and totally necessary for survival in some of the harshest conditions imaginable in winter, these communities also used turf to cook with.
These festivals in the west of Ireland have been instrumental in the continued survival of local boat building and craftsmanship, keeping alive the traditions as most of these boats have been in the families for generations and were originally built over a hundred years ago. The Galway Hooker is an integral part of the fabric of life in Connemara and the skills handed down from farther to son.
Café Royal Books, established in 2005, is a small family-run publisher based in England, focussing on documentary photography linked to Britain and Ireland, printed and bound locally by a small 170 year old printing company. In 2022 Café Royal Books received the Royal Photographic Society Award for Photographic Publishing.