#TALL SHIPS - Celtic Mist - the yacht once owned by the late former Taoiseach Charles Haughey - will soon take to the waves in its new guise as a research vessel as its refit nears completion, today's Sunday Independent reports.
After completing a leg of the Tall Ships Races from Waterford to Greenock in Scotland, the boat sailed to its new birth at Kilrush in Co Clare last July while the group raised the necessary funds to enter dry dock for refurbishments and refitting as a marine research vessel.
By January of this year the IWDG had reached 75% of the more than €60,000 required to complete the work, which involved stripping out the main cabin to increase space for equipment and crew berths.
"We are finishing off the renovations at the moment and we're hoping to have it back on the water in the next few weeks," said the IWDG's Simon Berrow. "We estimate it will cost around €80,000 by the time it is finished."
The refurbished yacht includes a fitting tribute to its previous owner in the form of a clock over his former cabin with a photo of Haughey in his skipper's cap on the background.
Berrow also hailed Haughey's love of the sea, which prompted his declaration of Irish waters as a whale and dolphin sanctuary.
The IWDG will use the Celtic Mist to train and teach its members how to survey and record whales and dolphins. As well as research projects, it will be used for educating schoolchildren about marine conservation and the abundant life in Ireland's coastal waters.
It is also hoped that President Michael D Higgins - who became patron of the IWDG in February - will be on hand to officially launch the vessel this August.
The Sunday Independent has more on the story HERE.