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Ilen
Gary McMahon of the Ilen project in Limerick will speak at the Glandore Summer School
There's only four weeks to go until the 2018 Glandore Classic Summer School (21/22 July) which promises to be another excellent event writes organiser Cormac O'Carroll. We hosted the first Summer school in 1992 and this event has been running biennially…
Ilen arrives in Baltimore for her launch. See launch video below
A video, by Paul Fuller, features the restored historic ketch Ilen motoring down the Ilen River towards Baltimore for her celebratory launch last week at the Wooden Boat Festival in the West Cork town. Conor O'Brien's famous traditional vessel, that has been faithfully…
Ilen steaming down river to the Baltimore Wooden Boats festival. Scroll down for more photos and a pdocast
On Saturday I was at the relaunch of the Ilen at the Wooden Boats Festival in Baltimore, West Cork. It was a special occasion, one of emotion and memories, but also pride in what determined people can achieve. I have…
The restored ketch Ilen makes her public debut at the Baltimore Woodenboat Festival
In 1926, Tom Moynihan and his shipwrights on the waterfront in Baltimore built the 56ft ketch trading Ilen to Conor O’Brien's designs at their boatyard in the heart of the West Cork fishing village writes WM Nixon. However, Baltimore nowadays…
Fully rigged and full restored and finished in  a bright new style, the Ilen is afloat in time to be pride of place at the Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival this weekend
The hard-working boat building team behind the restoration of the historic ketch Ilen in West Cork have successfully launched the 1926–built vessel in time for this weekend's Wooden Boat Festival at Baltimore. As Afloat.ie reported earlier this week, the final touches were being…
A ship transformed. While she is still very much a serious seagoing proposition, the restored 1926-built 56ft Conor O’Brien ketch Ilen will take to the waters this weekend in Baltimore with her new and positive educational purposes emphasised by a fresh colour scheme and a brighter style
The restoration of the 56ft 1926-built ketch Ilen by Liam Hegarty and Fachtna O’Sullivan and their team in the boatyard at Oldcourt near Baltimore in West Cork, working in concert with the Gary Mac Mahon-directed Ilen Boat-Building School in Limerick,…
Work continued on Ilen over the weekend and her appearance at Baltimore is eagerly awaited
The final touches are being put to the Ilen at Hegarty’s boatyard in Oldcourt, Skibbereen, prior to her going down the Ilen River this week, heading for Baltimore. There, on Saturday afternoon, at the Wooden Boats Festival, will be her first…
Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival (May 25th-27th) Has Historic Ketch Ilen as Flagship
The 1926-built 56ft Conor O’Brien ketch Ilen, painstakingly restored in a visionary joint operation by the Gary MacMahon-directed Ilen Boat Building School in Limerick working in concert with master shipwrights Liam Hegarty and Fachtna O’Sullivan at Oldcourt Boatyard near Baltimore,…
Removing the tarpaulin from Ilen as work continues on the historic vessel
Away back in 1997 I stood on the quayside at Alexandra Basin in Dublin Port, watching a very old boat being unloaded from a freighter … I was the only reporter there. The media generally weren’t interested in the story…
With new projects under way for the development of Limerick Docks, it was timely to post a reminder that this will be Ilen’s home port
The restoration of the 56ft ketch trading ketch Ilen (1926) and the re-build of world-girdling 42ft Saoirse (1922) at Oldcourt in West Cork has become a focal point of interest of what might seem to an outsider to be a…
Journey’s end – the ketch Ilen’s new spars arrive from Limerick at Oldcourt in West Cork
Much of Ireland may seem to have endured one bout of meteorological mayhem after another for most of the winter, with this weekend being no exception writes W M Nixon. Yet the Guardian Angel of the Ilen Project has always…
Ilen’s mainmast assembly before most of the steel fittings (except for the mast ring lower right) had been galvanised
You might well say that the Ilen Project has been galvanised into further action writes W M Nixon. The historic 1926-built 56ft ketch’s restoration has been a matter of the hull being re-born at Liam Hegarty’s boatyard at Oldcourt near…
The inter-island communications vessels Ilen (left) and Penelope in the Falkland Islands in 1977. The Irish-designed-and-built Ilen was always reckoned slightly faster than the German-built Penelope, even when Ilen’s skipper and youngest commander, the 16-year-old Stephen Clifton, was still learning the ropes
Efficient travel between the Ilen Boat-Building School in Limerick and Liam Hegarty’s boatyard at Oldcourt near Baltimore, where work continues on restoring the 56ft 1926-built ketch Ilen, has been a key factor in progressing the project writes W M Nixon.…
Boatyard re-positioning, West Cork style. Ilen is moved to her fitting-out berth by the local islands freight ferry. The next lot of bad winter weather is indicated by the high white cloud to the southwest, but by the time it arrived, Ilen was already safely ashore in her new berth
The historic 1926-built 56ft Conor O’Brien trading ketch Ilen is now comfortably under shelter again after her midwinter adventures (on the Ilen River, naturally) at Oldcourt near Baltimore writes W M Nixon. With her hull, deck and deckhouses restored in…
Waiting for the tide. Even the normally snooty boatyard cat shows a measure of approval for the restored Ilen as everyone waits for the tide
The east coast of Ireland may have endured vile weather on Saturday, but in West Cork there was almost a touch of sunny spring in the air when the historic restored ketch Ilen completed the final stage of her short…
The Ilen finally experiences daylight yesterday afternoon. Many people, not just in Limerick and Baltimore, but from other places too, have been involved in the project, and here are some of them with Gary MacMahon on left
The historic 1926-built 56ft trading ketch Ilen has been undergoing a painstaking restoration at Oldcourt near Baltimore in Liam Hegarty's boatyard for several years now for the Ilen Boat-building School, which is directed by Gary MacMahon in Limerick writes W…

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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