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Historic Boats
Ilen departs Foynes, on passage for Kilronan in the Aran Islands. Conor O'Brien – Ilen's designer in 1926 – ensured that all his major voyages essentially started from Foynes, his home port where he lived on Foynes Island
The restored 1926-built Conor O'Brien-designed 56ft ketch Ilen of Limerick found the Atlantic in a challenging mood last week as she undertook a combined educational, cultural, and commercial cargo voyage. Yet despite the vagaries of the Irish weather and the…
RCYC Admiral Colin Morehead on board the Cork Harbour One Design, Jap
Royal Cork Yacht Club Admiral Colin Morehead was aboard Royal Cork's Jap for some pre-race preparations before next Saturday's big race from Cobh to Blackrock.  'She's So light, so responsive, an absolute joy to sail' was the verdict from the…
A new International 12 foot dinghy this year in Ireland by Rui Ferreira of Ballydehob
As the International 12-foot class prepares to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its revived championships next week in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, the historic dinghy class is also welcoming a new arrival. A new clinker-built 12 has recently been completed by…
HMS Caroline, Alexandra Dock and Thompson Dock Pump House.
A major Belfast Harbour attraction HMS Caroline could be towed back to Portsmouth "for its own protection" within the next year, it has emerged. Dr Tim Schadla-Hall, the chairman of the HMS Caroline Preservation Society, writes Belfast Telegraph, has warned…
Back at her real home after 93 years – the 56ft 1926-built restored Limerick Trading ketch Ilen takes up her berth in Foynes for the first time in 94 years yesterday (Friday) evening. On the Foynes YC pontoon are (left to right) Ilen Project Manager Gary Mac Mahon, and Conor O’Brien family relatives Rob, Alison and Stephen O'Brien. Conor O’Brien’s modest house of Barneen on Foynes Island, in which he designed both Saoirse and Ilen and spent his last days in 1952, is just visible above Ilen’s bowsprit.
The 56ft Trading Ketch Ilen has had a busy couple of days of cultural and educational activities in Kilrush during her current two-week cargo cruise, with performances including shows and workshops with noted Limerick Boy and contemporary dancer Tobi Omoteso.…
The trading ketch Ilen berthed in County Clare where traditional sail traders berthed before her, at the quayside in Kilrush
The Shannon Estuary is king size and clearly defined. Where some other great rivers gradually broaden as they near the sea, sometimes dissipating further into a delta, the Shannon Estuary affirms its individuality with a rapid change as it emerges…
The Dublin Bay 21 Naneen of 1905 vintage (foreground) and her 1903 sister-ship Garavoge, elegantly together in Kilrush Marina
The dedicated and detailed process whereby Hal Sisk and Fionan de Barra are restoring the historic Dublin Bay 21 Class (founded 1903) for a meaningful role in the 21st century has taken a major step forward with the 1903 Portrush-built…
 Ilen at the quay in Baltimore yesterday (Sunday) to take on local products for delivery by sea
When - on August 4th - we previewed the planned eco-friendly "cargo cruise" by the restored Limerick trading ketch Ilen on Afloat.ie, it was emphasised that speed would not be of the essence as the 1926 Conor O'Brien-designed and Oldcourt…
Summer perfection – Pat Murphy's 23ft Pinkeen celebrates her seventy years with dreamlike sailing off Cobh
Not everyone gets the opportunity to restore a boat built by their grandfather, a gem of a boat whose construction started 70 years ago. But then, not everyone has had a professional seafaring and recreational sailing career to match that…
If we were to title this photo “Traditional west of Ireland gaff rigger sails past Macdara’s Island off the shores of Connemara”, even in Ireland quite a few people would buy it as the truth. But the rugged little gannet-laden island of Ireland’s Eye off Howth really does looks as if it belongs somewhere in the far west of County Galway. And the thought that they still sail boats of this antique appearance in such a setting within ten miles of the centre of a modern capital city is also clearly absurd….Yet this is the Howth 17 Sheila ( Dave Mulligan) in Howth Sound in training for this weekend’s National Championship, and it’s all happening on the Irish Sea within ten miles of Dublin city centre
The Howth 17s have been racing in their “little piece of Connemara that’s somehow in Leinster” for 122 years. And when some years ago they decided to make their annual championship into something special, they re-titled it the Howth 17…
Ilen enjoys a breeze, and can safely deliver cargo in an environmentally-friendly way
When the restored 56ft ketch Ilen of Limerick gets worthwhile wind conditions, she can give a good account of herself in terms of sailing speed. Yet no-one would claim that her rate of knots on passage afloat remotely compares to…
Gus O'Donovan sailing with friends in his new Pilot Cutter in Cork Harbour
Cork Harbour’s traditional boat fleet got a new gaff rig arrival this season when Crosshaven trawler skipper Gus O’Donovan launched his refurbished 1998 pilot cutter. Gus bought the reproduction cutter on the east coast last year and was busy over…
A handsome ship with a mighty spread of canvas – the 18-ton 1896-built Gull in Harry Donegan’s ownership
Irish boats come, Irish boats go. And while some will always be remembered, others leave barely a twirl of wake in the communal memory. The best-remembered has to be Conor O’Brien’s world-girdling Saoirse. Yet it could reasonably be claimed that…
Telling it like it is: Glandore greetings for 90-year-old Don Street on Saturday as he apparently sails vintage Dragon Gypsy single-handed………..
Much of the rest of the sailing world may be whirling in coronavirus confusion, but in serene and elegant Glandore in West Cork. the strong local division of classic and modern International Dragons went smoothly into their 14-race Dragon Derby…
International 12 Championship racing at Dun Laoghaire Harbour
This class was designed in 1913 by George Cockshott as the British Racing Association ‘A’ Class. The class was adopted by the International Yacht Racing Union on 1st. January 1920 and thus it became the International 12 Foot Class. The…
HMS Caroline, Afloat adds the former UK Royal Navy WW1 C-class light-cruiser which fought in the Battle of Jutland was restored into a tourism visitor attraction based in Belfast Harbour has been closed since March.
A World War One naval heritage vessel HMS Caroline - the only surviving ship from the Battle of Jutland and one of Belfast’s leading visitor attractions - will remain closed until 2021 due to funding pressures. The National Museum of…
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