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Podcast: Ilen's Bowsprit Brooks No Challenge

19th October 2016
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Ilen's bowsprit Ilen's bowsprit

A 22–foot long bowsprit is an impressive sight. ‘Wow’ was my first reaction as I stood on the deck of the historic Ilen looking at it during the ‘decking-out’ ceremony for the vessel which I report on the new edition of THIS ISLAND NATION. It is not a bowsprit to be challenged and it will give the Ilen a distinctive and dominant presence when she goes in the water again. I am looking forward to that day at Hegarty’s Boatyard in Oldcourt near Skibbereen, in West Cork.

It will be some occasion and there is no doubt that it will happen. That was made clear at the ceremony where Conor O’Brien’s famous ketch, the last of Ireland’s traditional wooden sailing ships, now beautifully restored was the focal point of attention.

“There’s a lot still to be done, but this ship is building herself towards going in the water as the skilled people at this yard restore her and she will go in the water, of that you can be certain,” Gary told me. You can hear him on the programme and also Brother Anthony Keane from Glenstal Abbey who summarised the skill of wooden boat building which Liam Hegarty’s yard has demonstrated in the restoration project. And when you listen to the programme here, he has a bit of news for the Minister for Finance!

I have designed THIS ISLAND NATION to be a reflective, informative and entertaining programme about maritime matters… That’s what is regarded in radio land as a “niche programme…” and it’s one where your comments are always particularly welcome… by Email to: [email protected] or by phone to 0872 555197.

In this new edition you can also hear the words of Damien Brazil, Instructor in the Marine, Offshore Safety and Survival sector of the Fisheries and Marine Institute at the Memorial University of Newfoundland: "We always knew who we were. We came here Irish and we didn't change a whole lot.” He is a man with great knowledge of Ireland's maritime/historical connections. His people emigrated from Ballylongford in Co.Kerry.
With a little bit about jigging for squid; the story of what happened to a Lifeboatman on his wedding day and news about a development to prevent the theft of Ringbuoys as well as new volunteer rescue services in Sligo and Clare, this is an edition packed with maritime news, discussion, comment and information.

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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