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Historic Ketch Ilen Heading for Official Launch in Dun Laoghaire to Create Pride in Preserving Maritime History

9th May 2019
Ilen in Kinsale this week Ilen in Kinsale this week

The Ilen will be setting course for Dublin this weekend for a high profile launch at Dun Laoghaire on Friday of next week.

She arrived at Kinsale this Wednesday night after what was described as a “bouncy bouncy run from Baltimore,” to rest a for a day and then sail toward Dublin this weekend, depending upon weather conditions.

The plan is for a “launch” ceremony for what is described as “the rebuilt auxiliary ketch,” at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire on Friday next, May 17.

ILENS EDUCATIONAL SALMON SAIL BEING PAINTED BY SCHOOL CHILDREN IN ST.MARYS CATHEDRAL LIMERICKIlen's educational salmon sail being painted by school children in St.Mary's Cathedral in Limerick

I have been following the impressive restoration of Ireland’s last trading ketch since she returned from the Falkland Islands, a unique vessel which should evoke pride in the preservation of our maritime history.

ILEN AT HEGARTYS BOATYARDIlen at Hegarty's Boatyard in West Cork

She has had her hull and square sail painted and looked great at Kinsale under the command of the south-coast James Lyons (Sailing into Wellness). In Dublin, she will be sailed into the waiting hands of Paddy Barry and an east-coast crew. The hull was painted at Hegarty’s Boatyard, Oldcourt, Skibbereen, where she was restored and the square sail at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick, the sail emblazoned with the new symbol for Ilen's educational programme - Salmon’s Wake - a migratory wild Salmon amid the vast North Atlantic … Gary McMahon, whose determination has led the long and successful restoration project, says its educational programme will renew interest in Irish maritime culture and explained the focus on salmon. At the start of a sailing and community educational season and all from voluntary and community endeavour, this is project is setting an example for what can be achieved by determination.

• Listen to Gary McMahon on the Podcast below

Tom MacSweeney

About The Author

Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for He also presents the maritime radio programme This Island Nation on community radio stations around Ireland.

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