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Limerick’s Traditional Ketch Ilen Reaches her Destination in Greenland’s Main Port

19th July 2019
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Ilen's crew on their arrival at Nuuk late this morning (Friday) - Gary Mac Mahon on left, Paddy Barry second right Ilen's crew on their arrival at Nuuk late this morning (Friday) - Gary Mac Mahon on left, Paddy Barry second right

After a swift but cold 26-hour run up the Labrador Sea along the southwest coast of Greenland from Paamuit, Limerick’s restored 1926-built 56ft ketch Ilen reached her primary destination, the Greenland capital of Nuuk, late this morning (Friday) writes W M Nixon. The crew were cold and tired but happy as they adjusted to the sensory assault of a busy modern port 19 days after leaving Limerick and taking their Irish departure on the afternoon of Monday July 1st from Loop Head, the northern sentinel of the Shannon Estuary.

With the first major stage of this year’s Salmon Wake voyaging now successfully completed, there will be time to further their studies and research into the migratory routes and methods of the threatened Atlantic salmon, whose returning numbers have fallen alarmingly in recent years on nearly all European rivers, including those in Ireland.

ilen tecla nuuk2 Ilen’s berth this morning in Nuuk was found alongside the hefty Dutch ketch Tecla

ilen tecla3 Big town……after 19 days at sea or calling at very small coastal settlements, Nuuk is definitely “big town"

Published in Ilen
WM Nixon

About The Author

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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