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Visit to Dublin of Spanish Navy Tallship Open to Public Likewise of Former Fleetmate In Glasgow

14th June 2017
Glenlee (seen above in Glasgow) was the former Galatea of the Spanish Navy whose sail trainee ship Juan Sebastián de Elcano is currently visiting Dublin and is open to public tours today (Wednesday 14 June). The Glenlee (a barque dating to 1896) is an impressive centrepiece to the contrasting striking multi-award winning Riverside Museum, Glasgow that was designed by the Iranian born architect, the late Zaha Hadid. Glenlee (seen above in Glasgow) was the former Galatea of the Spanish Navy whose sail trainee ship Juan Sebastián de Elcano is currently visiting Dublin and is open to public tours today (Wednesday 14 June). The Glenlee (a barque dating to 1896) is an impressive centrepiece to the contrasting striking multi-award winning Riverside Museum, Glasgow that was designed by the Iranian born architect, the late Zaha Hadid. Photo: JEHAN ASHMORE

#OpenTallships - As one of the world’s largest tallships from the Spanish Royal Navy is visiting Dublin Port, Afloat also highlights a former sail trainee from the Iberian nation that is the centrepiece of a Scottish museum, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The five-day visit of the magnificent Spanish Navy tallship to Dublin is by the four-masted Juan Sebastián de Elcano. At 370ft long the barquentine is the world’s third largest tall ship and one of the oldest tall ships dating to 1927 and that is still sailing.

As previously reported on Afloat, the steel-hulled tallship is open to public tours only today (Wednesday 14 June) between 10.00 to 13.00 and 15.30 to 19.00. The tallship is located at Berth 18 just beyond the Tom Clarke (East-Link) Toll-Bridge.

In 1931 the Juan Sebastián de Elcano became part of the Spanish Navy and also that year the Galatea another sail trainee ship was transferred from the Spanish Officers training school to the Spanish Republican Navy.

Glenlee (the former Galatea) is a 275ft long three-masted barque that is also impressive. Equally inspiring is where she is berthed at the multi-award winning Riverside Museum, Glasgow. This striking structure was completed in 2011 to a design by the Iranian born architect, the late Zaha Hadid.

It was during a visit on board Glenlee at the museum on Pointhouse Quay, that a nugget of information sprung out from a display panel that revealed during the clipper cargoship's career trading the oceans had included calling to Cobh, Cork Harbour.

The Glenlee is the original name of the ship named after a villa along the Clyde from she was built in 1896 as a sailing bulk-carrier cargoship from the Bay Yard in Port Glasgow. She was one of 10 steel sailing ships built to a standard design for the Glasgow shipping firm of Archibald Sterling and Co. Ltd. Roll on 121 years and the tallship is the UK’s only floating Clyde-built sailing ship left. The barque is also open to the public as a permanent floating exhibit at the museum's dedicated berth along Pointhouse Quay, the site of a former shipyard.

The barque having circumnavigated the globe four times and survived (though not without incident!) fearsome storms off Cape Horn, was bought by the Spanish Navy in 1922. This saw the ship turned into a sail training vessel and in which remained in that role for several decades until 1981.

Galatea was laid up by the Spanish Navy where in Seville Harbour the largely forgotten barque was spotted by a British naval architect in the southern port in 1990. Two years later, the Clyde Maritime Trust succeeded in acquiring the ship at auction for 5 million Pesetas (£40,000) and saved her from dereliction.

After towage to Scotland, a major restoration project was carried to bring the barque back onto the Clyde and revive her original name of Glenlee. She is one of just 5 Clydebuilt sailing ships that remain afloat in the world thanks to a six year restoration project carried out by the Trust’s paid and voluntary crew.

In November 1999, the Glenlee was recognised as part of the UK’s Core Collection of historic vessels. Chosen from a list of over 1,500 ships, the Glenlee is one of only 43 vessels recognised by the National Historic Ships Committee as being of pre-eminent national significance in terms of maritime heritage, historic associations or technological innovation.

Asides the Glenlee, the surviving quartet of Clydebuilt sailing ships are listed below and to locations of the visitor attractions.

Balclutha (San Francisco)
Moshulu (Philadelphia)
Falls of Clyde (Hawaii)
Pommern (Finland)

The Riverside Museum is also home to over 3,000 objects that detail Glasgow’s rich maritime history as a powerhouse in the early to mid-20th Century. For further information click the museum’s website here.

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