Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: Grace O'Malley

Youth development, education and cultural charity the Atlantic Youth Trust have made a direct appeal to An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD and Minister Simon Harris TD, to reinstate the €950,000 which came from the National Lottery to support the operational costs of a new tall ship for Ireland. The charity made the call against the clear commitment in the Programme for Government to develop Ireland’s ocean wealth, sustainability, and the environment.

As Afloat reported earlier, the group says it has identified a ship to replace the lost Asgard II. The ship, the trust says, will act as the new ‘flagship’ for introducing young people across the island of Ireland to maritime and careers. In addition, it will have a key role to play in the areas of research, innovation, tourism promotion and providing a support outlet for vulnerable young people.

Chair of the Atlantic Youth Trust, Enda O'CoineenChair of the Atlantic Youth Trust, Enda O'Coineen

Chair of the Atlantic Youth Trust, and former Director of Coiste an Asgard, Enda O’Coineen was introduced to the ocean and adventure on the original Asgard. He advocates for how this opportunity changed the course of his life and is joined by a high-level group of youth workers, people in business and academics behind the project. Commenting Mr O’Coineen said: “With a large research-led support base, we have long since championed for the need to replace Ireland’s lost sail training vessel the Asgard II in a dynamic and creative new way.

“This would be a strategically important move for ensuring we are well-positioned to maintain our island’s rich maritime heritage, skill set and knowledge. This will be vital for connecting future generations with the ocean and adventure who might normally never get the opportunity. As we emerge from the Covid 19 pandemic, the urgency for supporting projects like this has never been more important as we seek to address growing mental health challenges facing our young people.”

In looking for a solution to this, the Atlantic Youth Trust has identified, a 164ft Tradewind schooner lying in Sweden which is an ideally suited replacement for delivering youth maritime development and sail training.

The 164ft Tradewind schooner lying in SwedenThe 164ft Tradewind schooner lying in Sweden

The ship is to be renamed the Grace O’Malley, after the so-called Mayo ‘Pirate Queen’. Built of steel in a modern structure, and elegant lines of a 19th century Tall Ship, she is considered fit for purpose to high safety specifications.

Mr O’Coineen added: “In our recent pre-budget 2022 submission to the Office of An Taoiseach and other Government Departments, we called for the reinstatement of an annual Government subsidy to assist with the day-to-day operational costs of a new vessel.

This funding was previously channelled through the National Lottery. Given the strong training and education remit planned for the new vessel, we believe it’s pertinent that Government funding, if reinstated, is directed via the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, under Minister Simon Harris.

“To support our pre-budget submission, we also included a comprehensive business proposal outlining how the purchase of the identified successor ship will be funded through private and philanthropic sources. This can only happen if the State commits to reinstating the former Asgard II National Lottery funds to support the new ship’s operations budget. We believe the reinstation of these funds would go a long way in supporting a clear commitment made in both the Programme for Government and the Ocean Wealth Strategy to develop Ireland’s ocean wealth, sustainability, and the environment, integrated through the National Marine Co-Ordination Group”

In addition, the Atlantic Youth Trust are seeking a once-off commencement grant from Government of €880,000 to support refit costs, ensuring the ship is fit-for purpose with disabled access as well as the establishment of an organisation to run the ships operation. This commencement budget would represent approximately 20 per cent of the insurance funds retained by the State when the Asgard II was lost.

Head of the National Maritime College of Ireland and Atlantic Youth Trust advisory board member, Cormac Gebruer said: “To have a tall ship back in Ireland repurposed to introduce our younger generations to the maritime would be a significantly important and strategic development for the College. There are huge opportunities to utilise this initiative for research purposes linking in with human behaviour and marine sciences which would complement the work we are doing here in the College.

“The Atlantic Youth Trust has been an exemplary resource in leading a world-class solution for youth development integrated with the maritime across Ireland together with its focus on research and partnering with other colleges, such as NUI Galway. We at the National Maritime College of Ireland very much support the endeavours to secure a suitable replacement tall ship training vessel following the loss of the Asgard II.”

As Afloat reported at the time Asgard sank off the French coast in 2008. More details on the background to the sinking, campaign to raise and then replace her are in Afloat's dedicated Asgard II section

Co-founder of Sailing into Wellness and Atlantic Youth Trust advisory board member, James Lyons said: “Following a recent visit to Sweden to see the proposed successor ship in lying, I’m convinced that she will fire people’s imagination if brought to Ireland renamed as the Grace O’Malley. Built with submarine steel to the highest specifications and modelled on a classic wooden tall ship, she will make an ideal tall ship for Ireland with some small modifications.”

Once the Irish Government commits to the reinstatement of the Asgard II funding, additional financial support for the project will then be sought from the Northern Ireland Executive, with the initiative marked as a North-South venture. It’s envisaged that the ship will act as a fantastic promotional platform for tourism, enterprise, culture and the marine across the island of Ireland.

Chair of Tall Ships Belfast 2009 & 2015 and Atlantic Youth Trust advisory board member, Dr Gerard O’Hare said: “While there is an onus on the Irish Government to honour its commitment to supporting the maritime through the reinstatement of the Asgard II funding, there is also scope to seek support from the Northern Irish Executive once the project is up and running. This could include part-funding the initial fit-out planned for early 2022 in Belfast.”

Published in Tall Ships

#Inishbofin - Archaeologists say a decorated stone found recently on Inishbofin was once part of a 'lost' castle stronghold of Connemara's 'pirate queen' Grace O'Malley, as The Irish Times reports.

References to two castles held by the O'Malley clan on the island off Connemara in the Middle Ages -- part of a string of fortifications along the coast -- have been confirmed only by minor traces, such as a window fragment at Dún Gráinne.

But the doorway stone recently identified within the 100-year-old boundary wall of Daly's pub is said to be the strongest evidence yet of a castle last recorded on 19th-century maps of the island.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#maritime – I was giving a talk at Bishopstown Library on the western side of Cork City during Heritage Week on the subject – "Is Ireland's Maritime Heritage Recognised as Part of Ireland's Heritage?" – outlining what had been achieved by some of the many great Irish maritime figures when a member of the audience asked: "Why is it that we have heard so little about them?"

Thereby hangs a tale.

Is it neglect, ignorance or a failure of our educational system that Irish public consciousness appears to lack awareness of the impact which Irish mariners have made on world and Irish history?

From St. Brendan the Navigator; Grace O'Malley, Granuaile; John Philip Holland; Tom Crean; Captain Robert Halpin; Ernest Shackleton, all Irish, to Admiral Barry of Wexford; Admiral William Brown of Foxford; Francis McClintock; Captain Roberts of the Sirius, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic; Jerome Collins, the first media meteorologist; all are names which, when brought together underline a strong maritime heritage and there are more.

In fact, there are records of Irish seafarers having been involved in fighting the Roman Empire; of Irish ships developing foreign trade in the Middle Ages. Irishmen have explored the Artic regions, developed the submarine and the marine turbine engine and formed navies in several parts of the world.

"I never knew about those people, this has opened a window of knowledge, why do we not take pride in our marine heritage?" one woman asked me after the talk, while another man said: "It makes me proud to know what our mariners have achieved, but it is not common knowledge"

There are people who are trying to remedy the years of neglect of our maritime heritage and one effort in this regard is the symposium which the National Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire will hold later this month. This is being organised jointly with University College Dublin and is a response to the "extremely low level of Irish maritime heritage research."

That lack of research was identified in the Maritime Heritage Gathering Report last year which made a key recommendation that it should be rectified.

Professor John Brannigan, Senior Lecturer in UCD's School of English, Drama and Film, got in touch with the Maritime Museum to find out how students at UCD might be able to use the Museum's library and artefacts to deepen their understanding of Irish maritime history and culture.

That followed the development of a relationship between the Museum and the College which had started with six Library and Information Studies' students assisting Museum volunteers to re-instate the Museum's extensive Library and Archive.


Admiral John Barry Statue - The Irishman Who Founded The Us Navy - Watches Ovr Wexford Harbour

UCD's Earth Institute, UCD's Humanities Institute and the Atlantic Archipelagos Research Consortium have agreed to sponsor an Irish Sea symposium in the Museum. To organise it, Professor Brannigan teamed up with Dr.Tasman Crowe from UCD's School of Biology & Environmental Science and Richard McCormick, the Museum's Director of Library and Archive.

Richard is a former staffer with Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the semi-State fisheries board, who has been carrying out extensive work on re-instating the library and archive at the National Museum house in the Mariners' Church at Dun Laoghaire, following the extensive renovations there. It has a collection of 5,000 books and archival material collected in over 73 years and which has been in storage for 7 years due to the extensive renovations to the Mariners Church.


Inside National Maritime Museum

"The Maritime Museum is a rather impressive 177-year old church building in which the Royal Navy and seamen and fishermen passing through Dun Laoghaire worshipped and we also have the original RN prisoners docks," Richard McCormick told me. "I am very pleased with our association with UCD as if the National Maritime Museum is to prosper it has to broaden its appeal and let people know we exist and this symposium will help by reaching an international audience through UCD's Scholarcast system ( which gets 2,000 hits a month"


Maritime Heritage Gathering In The National Museum Last Year

"This symposium and the Maritime Heritage Gathering last year are small but significant steps in raising the profile of Ireland's rich maritime heritage. This will not only be good for us, but also for all the Irish maritime museums around the coast and justify the sterling work that is being done in this field by the voluntary sector."

Quite a lot of local maritime museums and independent researchers attended the Maritime Heritage Gathering last year from all around the Irish coast and from the UK. Museums and heritage researchers can often find themselves working in isolation on maritime heritage and, perhaps consequently, this work does not get the official attention that it deserves.

"The serious recommendations that arose from that event will simply have to gain momentum and traction in the years to come," says Mr.McCormick.

"Our Museum Library & Archive forms a very important component of our maritime heritage. The merchant marine and leisure sectors are very well represented, so is the Royal Navy from historical times and I am very keen in the coming years to acquire documentary, photographic and audio visual material about the fishing industry so that its story can also be recorded for posterity."

At the symposium, twelve speakers will cover topics as diverse as the Irish Sea's underwater heritage, its fisheries, marine biology, coastline and seabed mapping, in addition to its rich maritime art, history, poetry and literature as well as the prolific smuggling industry that once thrived in North County Dublin. This mix of interests is designed to stimulate debate about the Irish Sea and will conclude with workshop sessions to ascertain how the various constituencies might collaborate together in a large interdisciplinary research project. The speakers' presentations will also be recorded for a worldwide audience on UCD's Scholarcast Series and, should this event prove successful, consideration will be given to expanding the geographical range in future years.

The symposium will begin with a free public lecture in the Maritime Museum on 'The Nature of the Irish Sea Coast' on Friday September 19 at 7 pm by Richard Nairn, with the Museum being open to the public prior to that as part of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council's Cultural Night celebrations. Entry to the Symposium on Saturday, September 20, will cost €10 for the day, payable on registration at the Museum. There will also be an optional €30 dinner for participants in the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire on Saturday night, also payable at registration.

For information on the symposium and to register for the event visit here. More than half the available places have already been booked.

• You can view the interior of the national Museum by clicking here

• To read the report of last year's Maritime Heritage Gathering click here

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @Tom MacSweeney @AfloatMagazine


Published in Island Nation
Tagged under

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.


The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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