Traditional Boats of Ireland Book
History, Folklore and Construction
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In 1912 Anthony Nee (Tonai An Faoileán) of Rossmuck, Co. Galway, sailed to Galway in a turf boat, to order a 26ft Pucán.
The Boat Builder Sean O’Donnell who lived at Long Wall was the man approached to build the boat and he accompanied Tonai to Barna Woods to select the Larch and Oak trees which were converted at McDonaghs Sawmills in Galway.
Sometime later, Anthony Nee got a message that his boat was ready for collection. Included with the boat were the spars and the anchor at a total cost of £16.
Faoileán which is now gaff rigged (gaff mainsail, staysail and jib) was originally Pucán rigged (dipping lug and jib). The Pucán rig was considered more efficient on the wind and requires less rigging than the gaff rig. She takes her named from the first owner, know locally as Tonai An Faoileán. The owners father Maitias was pet named An Faoileán, and it became a family tradition name their boats ‘An Faoileán’.
On her early voyages Faoileán was engaged in turf running to Aran as well as fishing.
Faoileán remained in the Nee Family for a quarter of a century before being sold in 1939 to Beartla O’Congaile, Ard West, Carna, Co. Galway. The new owners changed the rig to the more versatile gaff rig. No longer engaged in turf running she now fished herring and mackerel commercially.
The next owner was Patrick Madden, Meenish Island, Carna, who used her for fishing, scallop dredging, and for transporting cattle and turf to and from the mainland.
Faoileán was again sold in the late 50s to Paraic Barrett, Carna. Now de-rigged and fitted with a diesel engine she was used for lobster fishing.
The revival of interest in Galway Hookers, as pleasure boats in the mid 70s, saw Faoileán being bought by Jim Ryan, a marine biologist working in Carna. The engine was removed and she was rigged to compete in the growing Gleoiteog class.
In the mid 80s Faoileán was purchased by Glenans Irish Sailing Club and was used by the club for sail training at Cullanmor and Bere Island before moving to Baltimore.
In July 2001 An Faoilean was purchased by her present owner Pat Tanner and has attended most Wooden boat Gatherings since, including Cruiniu Na mBad in Kinvara and a return to her native Connemara.