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Watch out Limerick, Ilen is On Her Way…

29th September 2018
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The Great Skellig as seen from the Limerick-bound ketch Ilen this (Saturday) afternoon The Great Skellig as seen from the Limerick-bound ketch Ilen this (Saturday) afternoon Photo: Gary MacMahon

The restored Conor O’Brien ketch Ilen may have had her first sailing sea trials as recently as yesterday off Baltimore in West Cork, but the current spell of settled weather in the southern half of the country has been too good to go to waste with Autumn moving steadily through writes W M Nixon. The task of getting the 56ft trader to her home port of Limerick for the winter could be a real hassle if the weather broke, so Ilen cleared out of Baltimore pronto and this afternoon (Saturday) we received this image of the Great Skellig in County Kerry, seen from Ilen as she makes knots – admittedly under power - in the right direction. This is good work by stealth……

Published in Ilen
WM Nixon

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WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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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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