Two centuries ago sail and oar dominated local Irish trade and fisheries.
At least 60 types of traditional boats operated, such as flat-bottomed craft, smooth hulled 'skin' boats (curachs), Viking-style clinker sailing yawls and great carvel-built hookers.
This remarkable work, many years in the making and arranged by coastal area, describes these craft, their construction and handling, usage and history, with recollections by those who experienced the often arduous life associated with them.
Many examples of traditional craft are still part of the fabric of coastal and inland water communities today as work boats and pleasure boats.
A revival in traditional boats for leisure and sport allows them to prosper as many are restored and replicas built.
Traditional Boats of Ireland goes beyond technical descriptions of boats to the background of their use.
Changing patterns of fishing and water transport are considered, and the wider role of boats in people's lives - boat racing, dramas at sea, and other stories of human interest.
This brings alive the array of craft once a feature of our coasts, lakes and rivers.Line and construction plans, archival and modern photographs and illustrations, historical documents, local tradition and folklore, all combine to piece together this story of traditional boats.
It is a story that will appeal to the specialist and general reader alike, and to all whose lives are touched in different ways by the power and wonder of the sea.
The Traditional Boats of Ireland Project took shape at a summer school at the Glandore Classic Boat Regatta in 1994.
No comprehensive study had been made of Ireland's heritage of traditional boats, and it was feared many would disappear without trace.
Since 1994, local historians, boat-builders, sailors, former fishermen, and 'classic boat' enthusiasts, were 'press-ganged' to collect information and to prepare studies of individual boat types.
The results of this unique project have been brought together and edited by Criostoir MacCarthaigh, of the UCD Centre for Irish Folklore, with the help of Donal MacPolin, an illustrator and maritime historian.