#JeanieDelayed - Once again delays to relocate tallship Jeanie Johnston to her normal home-berth closer to Dublin’s city-centre on the Liffey’s northside continue to beset the popular visitor tourist attraction, writes Jehan Ashmore.
As previously reported on Afloat, the delays are due to ongoing maintenance work with the iconic Samuel Beckett swing-bridge. The bridge commissioned by Dublin City Council was opened in 2009.
The works have so far prevented the replica 19th century famine-emigrant museum tallship Jeanie Johnston (ownership of DCC) in finally reaching the Custom House Quay. The tallship was originally scheduled to return to this quay this weekend. Until last month the tallship had been drydocked which in itself was a historic event.
Dublin City Council commented to Afloat to say that the ongoing maintenance works on the Samuel Beckett Bridge are due to take place next week on the Monday and Tuesday. During this work it is planned to open the bridge to permit the Jeanie Johnston to proceed up the Liffey to her customary berth. This will merely involve a short hop across the Liffey to the more conducive Custom House Quay given its proximity to the city-centre.
In the meantime the replica museum barque remains berthed further downriver along Sir John Rogersons Quay on the south quays. Guided tours however are running and will remain so up until next Tuesday. Unlike the Custom House Quay’s pontoon berth, tours of the tallship at this current south quay berth are restricted to tidal conditions and given that boarding involves a gangway.
According to Sea-Cruise Connemara, which operate the tallship on behalf of DCC, tour tickets are on sale at Custom House Quay. This is some five minute walk away.
The tourist attraction explores the Jeanie Johnston’s tragic role during the famine which forced thousands of destitute people to emigrate to North America. In all 16 voyages were taken by the tallship between 1847 and 1855 and notably transporting over 2,500 people with no loss of life.
The previous owners of Jeanie Johnston were the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) which acquired the vessel in 2005. After more than a decade the Dublin Docklands Development Authority Dissolution Act resulted in the assets of the DDDA (including the replica barque) transferred to Dublin City Council.
As for the Samuel Beckett Bridge, the striking structure was designed by the internationally renowned architect and engineer, Dr. Santiago Calatrava. The structure arrived by barge from where it was constructed in the Netherlands. Its distinctive harp-like appearance has made the bridge an attraction in its own right as it elegantly spans the Liffey lined with glazed buildings from the heady heights of the Celtic Tiger era. The buildings house finance, accountancy and law firms in addition residential appartments.
A revival in construction in this financial quarter has emerged in recent years notably with even higher rise newbuilds than the Celtic Tiger. The current construction underway is part of DCC’s Strategic Development Zone (SDZ). Afloat as previously reported on Dublin's 'London' Landings Docklands in which more will be explored about the relationships of other new buildings and ships that call to the inner old port.
The revival of this new-found confidence along this stretch of the Liffey presents an ever changing skyline. Equally as in the case of the shipping scene with vessels arriving and departing. Among them the odd visiting cruiseship bringing economic activity through tourism.