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Sole Surviving 100-Year-Old Lifeboat Celebrated In DLR LexIcon Exhibition

19th January 2019
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Sole Surviving 100-Year-Old Lifeboat Celebrated In DLR LexIcon Exhibition

An important piece of Ireland’s maritime history, the 100-year-old Dunleary Lifeboat, is the subject of a new exhibition in DLR LexIcon from this Monday 21 January to Monday 4 February.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, this exhibition — which has an open launch this Monday evening (21 January) — is being presented by The Dunleary Lifeboat Project in partnership with students from Sallynoggin College of Further Education.

The Dunleary Lifeboat No 658 was built in 1919 and stationed in Dun Laoghaire Harbour from 1919 until 1937. In that time she saved 55 lives.

This boat is unique as she is the sole survivor of the first 11 production boats dating to this time.

She was the first motor lifeboat provided by the civil service fund and has an excellent wartime rescue history across the Irish Sea at Lytham, south of Blackpool, where she served from 1937 to 1951. She has made a total of 81 launches, saving 85 lives.

The boat was recently brought back from the UK, where she was destined to be scrapped.

A group of local enthusiasts recognised the important historical significance of the vessel and formed a community association: the Dunleary Lifeboat Project.

This group garnered enough support to safely transport the boat back to the Coal Pier in Dun Laoghaire, where she is currently stored.

Their goal is to restore her to full seagoing condition so that she can be used as a heritage asset in the harbour, taking groups of visitors on short historical trips.

The exhibition traces the story of the Dunleary Lifeboat, her return to the harbour, her future as part of Dun Laoghaire’s rich maritime culture, and includes:

  • Display of copies of the building plans, the originals of which are held in the Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
  • A copy of the earliest photograph of the boat. This original glass plate photograph is in the RNLI Archive collection.
  • Accounts of her initial journey from Cowes to Dun Laoghaire as well as the official launch.

The Dunleary Lifeboat is currently awaiting a final certificate of assessment before restoration and fit-out to her former glory can begin.

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