#tallships - The magnificent historic French tallship Belem dating to 1896 is to make a visit to Galway Port early next month and will be open to the public, writes Jehan Ashmore.
121 years ago the three-masted Belem was constructed near the city of Nantes and to begin a career transporting cocoa beans from her Brazilan namesake city to France. On arrrival in Europe, this involved heading upriver on the Seine to supply the cocoa for a Parisien chocolate maker.
After a career sailing between South America and Europe, Belem was transferred to the British flag having became the property of the Duke of Westminster, who converted her to a luxury pleasure yacht.
She was subsequently renamed Fantôme II having been sold to the Hon. Arthur Ernest Guinness. The tallship took part in the Cowes regattas. In addition the Guinness family made a world cruise between 1923 and 1924.
In 1952, the ship was sold to Italian interests, the Cini Foundation in Venice and she was renamed Giorgio Cini. At that stage a conversion took place to undetake a role as a sail training that plied the Mediterranean Sea until 1966.
At the age of 83 the tallship returned to France in 1979 and revive the original name of Belem. At that stage preservation of the tallship was entrusted to the Fondation Belem. The Paris based foundation decided to use her as a sail training ship open to a wide public.
The Belem in 2002 retraced her commercial cargo maiden voyage to Belém do Pará which last occurred in 1907.
In 2008 she sailed from Bordeaux across the North Atlantic Ocean to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the city of Quebec by French sailor and tradesman, Samuel de Champlain.
A French wine company based in Languedoc-Roussillon had transported cargo on board the Belem also during this voyage to the Canadian city.
Belem's Galway Port visit details:
When? Thursday 3rd of August
Where? Dun Aengus Dock, Galway
Price? 6 euros per person
To Visit Register on the French Galway facebook page by clicking here.
Group 1 – 6pm – maximum 20 people
Group 2 – 6.30pm – maximum 20 people
Group 3 – 7pm – maximum 20 people
To find out more about the ship Le Belem, please check their website on: https://www.fondationbelem.com/