Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Pádraig Ó'Sabhain and Brian McGrath
Journal Of Rural Studies
Traditional sailing boats, embodied knowledge(s) and dwelling in coastal rural communities: The case of the ‘Galway Hooker’ in South West Conamara, Ireland
In Press
Optional Fields
In the context of a healthy flourishing within rural studies on embodied knowledges and ‘human-nonhuman-nature’ relations, such a relational focus is of especial significance for coastal places where the relations and knowledges connecting humans with less predictable natural phenomena (tides, weather, rocks, fish) and nonhuman elements, such as sea vessels, served to generate ‘dwelling’. Within wider rural studies there is a need for greater attentiveness to those rural places, traditions and knowledges where the sea rather than land has occupied a more dominant presence in the lives and imaginations of people. This study is based in the coastal and rural region of south west Conamara in the West of Ireland where a distinctive family of boats collectively known as the ‘hooker’ remains a deeply revered part of the region's cultural heritage across generations and continues to be actively used for recreation and leisure. Our qualitative study is based primarily on interviews with thirty-three bádóirí (‘boatmen’) across older and younger generations, as well as participant observation and documentary evidence. We attempt to show how the coalescence of the natural, material and cultural dimensions of place was constituted through the hooker as sailing vessel. Despite the decline in its livelihood dimension, we seek to place its community significance and continuity within the distinctive ‘embodied spatialities of being’ that are quite different in places where the sea has played a prominent element in the assembly of life over time. In charting the historically vital role of the hooker and the bádóirí embodied knowledge for dwelling in south west Conamara, we show to some extent the distinct ‘rhythmic practices of place’ of coastal communities over much of their history. We argue that we cannot fully appreciate how contemporary places, spaces and the experience of ‘community’ and ‘tradition’ are rendered meaningful unless we understand the nature of such connections and their relational dimensions across time.
Grant Details
Publication Themes
Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy