#DroghedaTallShips- Now that the tallships in Drogheda Port have departed, the memories remain of ketches stretched along quaysides that also date back a century ago and longer, writes Jehan Ashmore
The 1904 built West Country trading ketch, Bessie Ellen, was one of the seven majestic sailing vessels to attend the event officially titled The Irish Maritime Festival. The three-day event follows last year's inaugural festival.
Thousands were drawn down to the quays where the eclectic gathering of vessels had berthed along Merchants and Steam Packet Quays. Both quays conveniently within reach for pedestrians to stroll along from the heart of Drogheda town centre and to where the quays end at the foot of the railway viaduct.
Making an appearance on the Saturday was the Irish-flagged Spirit of Oysterhaven, the 70 ft schooner is Ireland's only 'non-naval' sail training vessel which slipped under the Dublin-Belfast railway line. She berthed close to the 80 year old Soteria with a white hull and red band while alongside her was the all black schooner Vilma.
The distinctive light grey hull of ketch Irene, seen moored alongside Drogheda town quays
Festival-goers roam the decks of Bessie Ellen and berthed ahead the hopper dredger Hebble Sand
Arguably the most rustic of the flotilla was the gaff-ketch former trawler Keewaydin which this year celebates her 101st year on the water. She had sailed from Dun Laoghaire Harbour having departed from her last UK port in Falmouth. Berthed ahead was the former Baltic trading ketch Ruth which as previously reported anchored off Dalkey in recent weeks.
The third and final ketch caller was the light-grey hulled Irene of 1907, which took part in last year’s 'Sail Home to Your Roots' event as part of the Gathering.
Another classic vessel, albeit without sails, the 'Hebble Sand' (pictured above) is a grab-hopper dredger built in 1963 which was made open to the public. The opportunity gave visitors a greater insight into the working operations of the 757 tonnes vessel which remains employed after more than five decades serving UK and Irish ports.
Her most recent job was carried out at the festival's host port in which Afloat.ie previously reported. The Dundalk-registered vessel is from where for many years she was based in the neighbouring Louth homeport port until sold to current owners Abco Marine.