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Irish Emigrant Galway Hooker St Barbara Returns

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The Stories Of The Irish Diaspora Discussion:     Irish Emigrant Galway Hooker St Barbara Returns

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“The Irish have been sailing west to America long enough. Now that we are able to, it’s time a few of us made the journey east,” says Patrick Joyce, skipper of the St. Barbara, when pressed about why he plans to make the treacherous journey across the North Atlantic next summer. No sooner has he delivered this observation, than he shrugs it off, cracks a joke and reignites his signature cigar with a wink. Pat, a native of the Aran Islands off the coast of County Galway, Ireland, is no stranger to rough seas.

The sea was the backbone of the economy for the 1800 inhabitants of the three Irish speaking islands. Pat’s ancestors fished. His grandfather and uncle died at sea, as did, eventually, too many of his peers from grammar school. His father taught Pat and his five brothers to fish. Today, having left Ireland some 19 years ago to start a life in Chicago, Pat has never left the water for long. He has sailed since he arrived here, using his first earnings from humble beginnings to buy a second hand sailboat. As his plumbing business gained success (he jokes that he chose plumbing to stay near the water) Pat upgraded his boats and spent more and more time sailing.

The remaining members of the crew are all Irish natives of various sailing ability. Some are expert sailors, others, are good friends or very adept at cooking during high seas.

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Steve Mulkerrins an Irish Emigrant from Galway who left Ireland over 30 years ago returned yesterday to great cheers in his own hand built galway hooker.

Steve Mulkerrins, who runs a successful Chicago based condo development business that he built from the ground up, had a dream to own Galway hooker. When Steve became successful enough to bear the enormous financial cost of building an Irish boat out of imported Irish wood, In an unheated and unairconditioned warehouse, Steve and a small crew of men spent three years building the St. Barbara.

Believed to be the first Galway Hooker built outside of Europe.
In early May, 2006, Steve Mulkerrins embarked on his lifelong dream to sail his own Galway hooker across the Atlantic. The journey will carry the crew past landmarks in Irish history that will tug at their emotions. They will reverse the route of millions of Irish emigrants who fled their native country in search of a better life.

Mulkerrrins has become something of a folk hero in Galway. The crew will be greeted by a frenzy of Irish media. Thousands of people came out to greet the crew – many on boats of their own.

As Steve and the crew of the St Barabara, including the very experienced Joyce Brothers (Patrick Joyce was the skipper) of the Aran Isles sailed into Ireland yesterday. Barabara Mulkerrins was there, waiting on the pier for her son to return home, joined there by Steve’s wife and children.

More including log entries links to St Barbara in County Galway News

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