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Historic Boats
So what else would you be doing in France on a winter’s day but launching a boat? The new 12ft cat ready to go after being built by Skol ar Mor
On America’s East Coast around Cape Cod, there’s plenty of sea. But as the locals say, it tends to be thin – sometimes very thin - in the places where you might want to go sailing writes W M Nixon.…
With the re-building of Saoirse now under way in Oldcourt, for the time being the easygoing open-house atmosphere which prevailed during the restoration of Ilen – as seen here in 2011 – has been put aside as the serious new project is set firmly in place. Photo shows (left to right) Leo McDermot, Nick Cotter, Pierce Ryan, Brendan Lennox, Fachtna O’Sullivan, and David Vurdett, with yard cat Joe keeping a wary eye on Jasper the dog.
West Cork may have the image of an easy-going paradise where life proceeds at a leisurely pace writes W M Nixon. And maybe that is indeed the case in summer, when there are more people around determined to keep things…
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…
Peter Tangvald aboard Windflower at Terminal Island in Los Angeles Harbour, 30 December 1958
#ClassicBoats - WoodenBoat magazine has put out an appeal for any leads as to the whereabouts of Windflower, a two-masted sailboat sold in Los Angeles nearly 60 years ago and whose trace has since been lost. The EP Hart-designed, 45-foot…
Magic from above. A re-creation (above and below) of the classic Kinsale Colleen class is emerging from an Elizabethan 29 hull at Alchemy Marine’s workshop deep in the heart of North Cork.
When Bill Trafford chose the business name Alchemy Marine for his extremely individualistic combination of skills in transforming vintage fibreglass hulls into a new take on classic designs of yesteryear, he made the perfect brand-name choice writes W M Nixon.…
The bell of the liner S.S. Laurentic of the White Star Line, which sank in Lough Swilly, Co. Donegal over a century ago will be on display in an exhibition held in the Guildhall, Derry starting today and running to 24 January.
#HistoricBoats - The bell of S.S. Laurentic, one of the most significant artefacts in local maritime history, will make its return to the Derry this week, following purchase at auction by Derry City and Strabane District Council. The Bell, which…
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…
Ilen as she was this morning, ready to face the rigours of a brief period in the open before a special cover can be fitted over the re-born Conor O’Brien ketch. Photo: Gary MacMahon
The historic 1926-built 56ft ketch Ilen is to exit The Old Cornstore in Liam Hegarty’s boatyard at Oldcourt near Baltimore, the building which has accommodated her re-birth, early in the New Year writes W M Nixon. Much remains to be…
When her restoration is completed and the rigging installed, the 56ft ketch Ilen will be an impressive traditional workboat.
When we recall the exposed conditions in which some coastal boat and ship-builders had to work in the days when life and labour were cheap, and health and safety were considered more important for thoroughbred animals than for workers, then…
The DUP has claimed that Britain accounts for "72 per cent of trade flows" from Belfast Harbour. Afloat adds that the above aerial photo is of the port's main channel, Victoria where the River Lagan flows into Belfast Lough. In the foreground berthed at City Quay is Northern Ireland's fishery and marine research vessel, RV Corystes, see related 'Fishing' report posted on 1 December.
#DUPtradefigures - The Democratic Ulster Party (DUP) has been unable to substantiate its "72 per cent" statistic in relation to trade between Northern Ireland and Britain. As The Irish News  writes, for months the party has been using the figure to support…
In frame. Dublin Bay 21 Naneen at an early stage of her current re-birth in Kilrush. Photo: Steve Morris
The restoration of classic yachts and traditional craft to the recognised international standard is still relatively new in Ireland writes W M Nixon. In fact, it could be argued that the major project in Dunmore East, completed in 2005 on…
The multi-purpose Markets Field in Limerick has been an unexpected source of quality teak. Teak seating slats salvaged from the re-vamp of the Markets Field Gaelic Football ground have found a new purpose in the restoration of the ketch Ilen. In addition to its historic links with Gaelic Football and greyhound racing, the Markets Field has also been used for soccer – as seen here – and by Garryowen Rugby Club before they moved to Dooradoyle.
The process of restoring the 1926-built 56ft Conor O’Brien ketch Ilen in Limerick and Baltimore has seen a countrywide network developing, a network in which anyone with access to redundant classic quality timber has been happy to see it finding…
Seamus-O'Brien (second from left) making the currach with the local workforce in Haiti
This month a collaboration between Haiti Orphanage Project ESPWA, Cork’s Community Boatyard, Meitheal Mara, and Naomhóga Chorcaí saw two flat pack currachs making their way to Haiti. The mainstay of the Haitian economy was agriculture and fishing which were wiped…
It may be November outside, but aboard Ilen the lights glow warmly in welcome
The process of transforming the restored hull and deck of the 1926-built 56ft Conor O’Brien historic ketch Ilen into a living ship continues writes W M Nixon. The programme is co-ordinated and combined between the Ilen Boatbuilding School in Limerick,…
Ilen Boatbuilding School CityOne dinghies racing on the Shannon in the heart of Limerick city – just one aspect of a remarkable organisation’s many activities
Many people have dropped by the Old Cornstore on the riverside at Oldcourt in West Cork to see work progressing on the restoration of the 1926 Conor O’Brien ketch Ilen writes WM Nixon. And naturally they’ll have the impression that…
Paddy Barry’s Galway hooker St Patrick returns to Dun Laoghaire in 1986 after her pioneering Transatlantic voyage from Ireland to Boston and New York
A Paddy Barry book launch is like no other writes W M Nixon. In fact, as with just about everything to do with this extraordinary man of the sea and the hills, a Paddy Barry book launch is unique unto…

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