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Limerick Ketch Ilen is Now Halfway Home to Ireland from Greenland & Headed for Kinsale

30th August 2019
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The Limerick ketch Ilen making knots in Dublin Bay in May. Having since voyaged to Greenland for salmon migration research and the further development of cultural interchange between Limerick and Greenland schools, she is now bound for Kinsale for an Autumn programme of school and health projects before finally returning to Limerick in October The Limerick ketch Ilen making knots in Dublin Bay in May. Having since voyaged to Greenland for salmon migration research and the further development of cultural interchange between Limerick and Greenland schools, she is now bound for Kinsale for an Autumn programme of school and health projects before finally returning to Limerick in October

The 56ft traditional ketch Ilen under the command of Paddy Barry has been making excellent progress since departing Greenland on Sunday evening, and is already halfway home to Ireland along the 1200 mile passage from Prince Christian Sund writes W M Nixon. Fair winds have kept her steadily on her way, and the stylishly-decorated squaresail with its Salmons Wake logo has been earning its keep in maintaining comfortable yet efficient downwind progress.

Back in the early stages of the Greenland project, it had been expected that Ilen would not see Ireland again until around 10th September. But the 1926 Conor O’Brien of Limerick-designed and Baltimore-built ship has been going so well that an extra dimension has been added to the programme, and now she will head straight for Kinsale and be based there for September, fulfilling courses with the Sailing into Wellness movement, and implementing sailing teaching with her own Ilen Boat-building School trainees.

All being well, Ilen will be arriving in Kinsale in the latter half of next week.

aboard ilen squaresail2Ilen’s squaresail in action in one of south Greenland's many steep-sided channels. The squaresail has been exceptionally useful in the current downwind conditions in mid-Atlantic, sailing home to Ireland.

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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