The historic first Asgard which was involved in the gun-running to the Irish Volunteers at Howth in 1914 is to be restored after a long controversy, reported Tom MacSweeney on the RTÉ News on Sunday, the 2nd of August. Raghnall Ó Floinn, Head of Collections at the National Museum where restoration is underway, has issued an appeal for artefacts and fixtures and fittings associated with the Asgard. They've also asked for any photographs, images or drawings of the Asgard from before 1968.
The vessel has been stored in Kilmainham Jail for many years and there has been an intense controversy over whether it should be housed in a museum or restored to go afloat again. A voluntary restoration committee was given a licence by the Government to proceed with the restoration. Some Government money will be given to the project and the rest will be raised in Ireland and America.
Asgard I achieved her place in Irish history when she was used to land 9,000 rifles and 26,000 rounds of ammunition at Howth on July 26, 1914 for the Irish volunteers. Erskine Childers owned and sailed her. Later she became Ireland's first national sailing training vessel, but for many years has lain unused behind the walls of Kilmainham Jail. A voluntary committee has campaigned for her to go to sea once more and says it has raised over £200,000 with help from American supporters.
The Department of Defence and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht have been considering the future of the vessel, with varying opinions. Now that the voluntary committee has been given a licence to go ahead with the restoration to full sea-going capability, it seems that Asgard I may take to the seas once again.Raise the Asgard - Afloat's 2008 online petition