Galway Hookers are a distinctive form of native Irish boat, and beautiful Carraroe is the epicentre of their preservation and revival. Here the small number of Galway Hookers which are still in seaworthy condition are pitted against each other in the annual “Féile an Dóilín”, the largest Hooker festival in Ireland, and indeed one of the largest maritime festivals in the country. But Galway Hookers sail these waters throughout the year, gliding silently in and out between the headlands and the islands, their black voluminous hulls riding high on the water, and their bright rust coloured sails heeled over in the Atlantic wind. Up until the 1950′s the Galway Hooker was the means by which all supplies and livestock were ferried in and out of the islands, and the Hooker’s hull was built wide and deep to accommodate heavy loads.
Carraroe’s Blue Flag beach, which translates into Irish as “Trá an Dóilin”, is set in an area of great natural beauty. The beach is noted for its very fine coral, one of just two beaches on the West of Ireland with coral shingle. There are lots of little rock pools to explore, as well as excellent scuba diving, and snorkeling opportunities.
Getting to Carraroe
By bus, or car. Bus Eireann Route 424 provides a service from Galway to Carraroe. Alternatively take the R336 west from Galway to Casla, and then the R343 to Carraroe.
Where to stay
Carraroe has a good selection of comfortable places to stay including small hotels, self-catering holiday homes, guesthouses and B&B's.