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Everyone Welcome to Limerick Party to Celebrate Restoration of Sail Trader Ilen

27th October 2018
Everyone Welcome to Limerick Party to Celebrate Restoration of Sail Trader Ilen

The return of the restored trading ketch Ilen to Limerick after 92 years has been a matter of quiet celebration among all involved since the 56ft “small tall ship" sailed up the Shannon Estuary from Baltimore at the beginning of October writes W M Nixon. And interest has been such that people from near and far want to meet those involved in every aspect of the 20-year project, which eventually saw the ten years from 2008 until 2018 taken up with giving new life to Ilen at Liam Hegarty’s boatyard at Oldcourt in West Cork, with much of the detail work being done at the Ilen Boat-Building School in Limerick.

With the successful Ilen exhibition being staged in Limerick’s renowned Hunt Museum, the ideal venue for a party is available, so there’s going to be a convivial Come-all-Ye within the exhibition in the Museum on Thursday November 1st from 5.30 to 8.00pm. At it, everyone will be welcome to have a good time and an informative one too – the benign presence of the Ilen in the Ted Russell Dock has brought daily interest and greater awareness in Limerick, and an increased sense of the city’s truly maritime nature, with its fascinating past and developing future

ilen foredeck2.jpgContrasts in Limerick’s dockland - the restored Ilen’s complex foredeck speaks of a different world from that experienced by sailors on the modern ships nearby, yet they share the same sea. Photo: Deirdre Power.

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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