GalGael Trust raises sail on ambitious boat-building project

November 17, 2009 by  

GalGael Trust, the Govan-based marine heritage and community project, will use their forthcoming conference to announce ambitious plans to build a 50-foot birlinn, a small galley common in the waters off north-western Scotland in the Middle Ages.

The Birlinn: 400 Years event, which takes place at the Pearce Institute, 840 Govan Road, on November 28, will map the history of these boats, their construction, design, and use.

Birlinns were a common sight until 400 years ago. Some scholars argue the Statutes of Iona, which in 1609 signalled the twilight of Scottish bardic tradition and demanded the heirs of Highland clan chiefs be educated in Lowland schools using English instead of Gaelic, also meant the end of birlinn building and the demise of a great maritime tradition.

GalGael’s work was recently feted by BBC Scotland in their Video Lab web feature Clydeside Stories. It showed participants of the Trust’s Navigate Life course. The conference will feature an address from Soren Neilsen, head of the Viking Ship Museum at Roskilde in Denmark.

Booking for the event is essential, and can be done by calling 0141 427 3070 or logging on to www.zealey.com/birlinn.html. Postal applications can be sent to GalGael Trust, 15 Fairley Street, Glasgow, G51 2SN. Admission is free.

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