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Building The Ilen, a mysterious and ancient craft

8th October 2009
Building The Ilen, a mysterious and ancient craft

It would be a dream come true for some people – working with some of Ireland's few remaining traditional shipwrights, refitting Ireland's sole surviving sea-going sailing ship: The Ilen.

 

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Photos: Courtesy of Kevin O'Farrell and Gary MacMahon/AK Ilen Company 

Ketch Ilen – the last traditional, timber-built, Irish coastal trading ketch in existence. Her importance can hardly be over-stated: she's the sole surviving example of a once thriving maritime culture. Designed by Limerickman Conor O'Brien, she was built by the Fisheries School, Baltimore, West Cork (Ireland's first vocational school) and commissioned by the Falkland Islands Company, launched in 1926.

The Ilen served seventy years in the tempestuous seas of the South Atlantic before being brought back to ireland in 1998. She's the last representative and perfect expression of an Irish sailing vessel and maybe of a new era of trading under sail.

The AK Ilen Company invite you to come and work with some of Ireland's few remaining traditional shipwrights, refitting Ireland's sole surviving sea-going sailinfg ship. The thrills and skills of matching sturdy Irish grown oak to the fluency and might of wind and ocean wave are not yet lost. You can take the opportunity to carry forward this tradition into a sustainable future.

A workshop in Hegartys Boatyard, Oldcourt, West Cork will serve not merely as an initiation into an ancient and mysterious craft but should also bring the Ilen closer to her taking to the sea again.

Click to download Workshop Programme (PDF format)

Click to download Workshop Brochure (PDF format)

For further information call 086 2640479 or email [email protected]

 

Published in Ilen
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The Ilen is the last of Ireland’s traditional wooden sailing ships.

Designed by Limerick man Conor O’Brien and built in Baltimore in 1926, she was delivered by Munster men to the Falkland Islands where she served valiantly for seventy years, enduring and enjoying the Roaring Forties, the Furious Fifties, and Screaming Sixties.

Returned now to Ireland and given a new breath of life, Ilen may be described as the last of Ireland’s timber-built ocean-going sailing ships, yet at a mere 56ft, it is capable of visiting most of the small harbours of Ireland.

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