Watch: German artist sets sail in a paper boat on Galway Bay

Frank Bôlter worked with locals to build an 'unfolding' ten-metre vessel from large sheets of paper

A German artist and Galway residents built and launched a paper boat this weekend (1 & 2 July). The project was a collaboration between the Galway 2020 European cultural capital bid and others. Video Joe O'Shaughnessy,

Using origami techniques, a German artist has built a life-size “paper boat” which has been launched as part of the national SeaFest in Galway Bay.

Frank Bôlter worked with Kinvara residents and members of Kinvara Sailing Club in south Galway on "unfolding" a ten-metre vessel from large sheets of paper.

In between blustery wind and showers, the team of about 60 people managed to launch the boat at Kinvara pier on Friday afternoon.

The project is a collaboration between the Galway 2020 European cultural capital bid, the Tulca festival of visual arts, and the national SeaFest event which takes place in Galway docks on Saturday and Sunday.


Bolter is known for his paper creations, and has launched "boats" on the river Thames in London, in German and other parts of Europe.

The vessel has to be between nine and ten metres in length or “it collapses under its own weight”, he explained.

“This is a community-building moment, and it is about doing something you can’t do on your own,”he said, after he tested how watertight it was by boarding it in Kinvara.

“The only water inside was from the rain, so it worked very well, “he said.

Originally, the plan was to sail it across the bay, but weather has dictated a change. It will be on view at Galway Docks from 4pm on Saturday as part of SeaFest.

If Galway 2020 wins its European cultural capital bid, the artist has promised to return and build a paper Galway hooker and sail it across the bay.

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times