Midsummer is on the way. Exams are nearly over. Another week and the schools will close their doors until the month of September. What is nicer than to symbolize the given freedom by celebrating it with an Rás Báid Seoil (the race of the sailing boats) as a start? Since long the race is held between the Hookers, the boats which were used to bring turf from Connemara over to the Aran Islands until the end of the 19th century. From that time on no turf was used on the islands anymore. But there are still Hookers and the oldest one from the late 90ties of that century, called Tony, is still being used in the annual race. All the three island have the chance to organize the race and it was this weekend Inis Meáin got her turn.
Organising a race with sailing boats always means “weather permitting” of course. Well, the morning started with a sea as smooth as silk.
There was not a breeze of wind either… It was still early though. At one moment no mainland to be seen. Then the fog came over the island turning into a drizzle but…passed on and the sky opened up. This was the sign for the boats to set off from the mainland. The following hours the clouds still reigned the sky. Not much wind at all. So some of the sailing boats were towed to the old pier.
Around 3 p.m. the last boat sailed in.
Then the race could start and the wind gave a hand to all the participants. The sun too contributed to the festive happening.
At some moment one was far ahead, another one was far behind and three were in the middle. A lot of people were standing on the old pier, watching the exciting race while talking with one another in a comforting sunshine.
A lovely start of a weekend full of other activities, such as a barbeque, music at night and a music session on the Sunday afternoon in which everybody playing an instrument was invited to join in.
Slán go fóill,
Elisabeth from Inis Meáin.