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Displaying items by tag: Naomh Eanna

#HistoricBoats - Afloat has noted work has recently begun in Dublin's Grand Canal Dockyard to transform a former CIÉ Aran Islands passenger /freight ferry as previously covered into a floating 5-star luxury hotel on the Liffey, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Commenting to Afloat, the owners Irish Ship & Barge Fabrication Co said the initial works are to clear the vessel of combustible materials in preparation for the €6.6m restoration project which is scheduled to be completed next year.

The first stage of the project will require work to survey the vessel's hull, but this can only be done with the ship removed out of the Grand Canal Dock basin's historic Georgian built graving dock of more than 200 years old. This is to facilitate the installation of docking blocks that will correctly position the ship's keel before any further works can take place. 

Naomh Éanna was built for Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) to serve the Galway-Aran Islands ferry route. For almost the last three decades, however the small passenger, freight and livestock carrier ship has languished in the Grand Canal Dock basin. The basin at Grand Canal Dock opened in 1796 which has three locks linking to the Liffey and were last in use by commerical ships until the 1960's. 

In 2015 the IS&BFCo. for €1 acquired Naomh Éanna from the Irish Nautical Trust, as the vessel completed in 1958 is a rare surviving example of an Irish built ship (Liffey Dockyard) and constructed by rivetting. Then the practice was at the end of an era not just in Ireland but in Europe. Following the ferry's withdrawal from the Aran Islands service in 1988, the ship transferred from the state transport company to the ownership of the Trust. They intended to make the ship into a museum about the Aran service in addition to be in a seaworthy state.  

Naomh Éanna's berth in the basin's Georgian graving docks in Ringsend is notable given the facility was disused (see save architecture). The IS&BFCo is working to restore the veteran vessel now in its 60th year in the drydock for a new career as a luxury hotel berthed on the capital's city centre quays.

Naomh Éanna's transformation is to involve a 28-cabin hotel complete with a glazed restaurant on the boat deck. The work follows Dublin City Council awarding a licence earlier this year, which permits the vessel to berth on Custom House Quay along the Liffey following a public tendering process. The waterbased process seeks to animate the river frontage lining the 'Docklands' quarter, the modern financial quarter downriver of O'Connell Street.

Roll back three decades when safety concerns from the Irish maritime authorities, chiefly stability, led to the withdrawal of the 483 tonnes Naomh Éanna from the Aran Islands service. The closure of the three-hour seasonal route on the Atlantic Ocean became the last passenger service directly linking the mainland mid-west city port and the trio of islands. A cargo-only service remains through a private operator, Lasta Mara Teo using the Bláth na Mara. 

Up until recent years the former ferry in Grand Canal Dock was home to a watersports shop. The shop occupied the former cargohold, as shown in a rare photo overlooking the vessel's deck layout. On that occasion a visit involved having to access a quayside building for the purposes of a piece published in Ships Monthly, May 2014. 

In that same year, the fate of Naomh Éanna could of been all so different, as the principle authority in charge of Grand Canal Dock, Waterways Ireland intended to dispose the vessel through scrapping having been alongside Charlotte Quay for decades. Other laid up and abandoned vessels, albeit smaller craft were also subject to a removal clearance programme as the area had become run down.

Fears that the old Aran Islands ferry cargoship would sink led Watersways Ireland to tow the vessel to the nearby Georgian built dry-dock, though this procedure required firstly a digger to widen the entrance to the dry dock. From within the drydock the ship was to have been scrapped. 

A campaign was raised for Naomh Éanna, the Save Our Ship (SOS) group which was led by those concerned in assisting to secure the unique ship launched from the Liffey Dockyard. The shipbuilder no longer exists, though it was rathar apt to have observed the vessel occupy a berth a stone's throw of the shipyard site in Alexandra Basin. On that occasion the visit to the port took place in the year the former ferry returned to the capital in 1989.

Campaigners protests resulted in the Seanad, upper house of the Irish Parliament, to grant a reprieve given the vessel's historic Irish maritime heritage, despite a previous appeal rejected by the Department of Heritage.

An extended timeframe was made to allow efforts to concieve a restoration project, where the IS&BF originally proposed to return the Galway registered ship back to its western homeport. The Port of Galway was where the former ferry would become a floating boutique hostel, micro-brewery and museum recounting the Aran service. However, plans fell through resulting in Dublin retaining its own built ship.  

Afloat's recent visit to Grand Canal Dock basin also noted waterbased commercial boat activity, albeit only applies to the regular traffic of Viking Splash Tours. Their amphibious excursion / tourist craft use the Grand Canal Dockyard's slip, exactly at this location is where the largest of the three Georgian graving docks had occupied but is now infilled. 



Published in Historic Boats

#HistoricBoats - Former ferry cargoship that CIÉ serviced the Aran Islands will writes The Irish Times become home to luxury five-star accommodation berthed at Dublin’s Custom House Quay as its owners plan a significant investment.

The Naomh Eanna, acquired by Sam Field Corbett of Irish Ship & Barge Fabrication for €1 in 2015, has been awarded a licence for berth on the river Liffey following a recent public tendering process that seeks to animate the river.

The ferry built in Dublin in 1956 will now see preliminary work commencing its restoration following Dublin City Council’s decision to offer it a berth once completed.

Private funding of €6.6 million has been secured to restore the ship and refit it as a 28-cabin hotel, to a five-star standard complete with a glazed restaurant on the boat deck.

Once complete the Naomh Eanna will have glass decks and all cabins will be 15-20sq m themed in a classic 1920s style of hardwood and brass.

For further reading on this unique Irish maritime heritage project, click here. 

Published in Historic Boats

#SaveShip! -The owner of a heritage ship is seeking about €2 million from a joint investor to convert the Naomh Éanna into a boutique hotel/ hostel, cafe and restaurant, which he then hopes to berth close to the CHQ building on the north Dublin quays and open for business.

This venture writes The Irish Times would be similar to the Cill Airne in front of the new Central Bank building as recently reported by Afloat which adds this is another rare example of a Dublin built vessel remaining in the capital.

Sam Field Corbett of Irish Ship & Barge Fabrication bought the iconic four-deck Naomh Éanna two years ago for €1. Despite attempts to fund the restoration, the ship still sits in a graving dock at the far end of Grand Canal Dock close to the river Dodder.

The National Asset Management Agency, which until recently was responsible for the graving dock, allowed the Naomh Éanna to dock there for free.

Mr Corbett now says the site could be redeveloped for an iconic building, which could involve filling in the 250-year-old dry dock. In short, the Naomh Éanna will be scrapped (as previously reported) if it can’t be restored or a new home found for it.

‘Act of barbarism’

The clock is ticking because, while the ship is currently docked for free, it costs more than €1,000 a day to keep a ship of this size in dry dock – and there aren’t many available.

“Scrapping the Naomh Éanna would be an act of barbarism to our maritime heritage,” says Mr Corbett. “She was built in Dublin at Liffey Dockyard in 1956 and is one of the last riveted ships, as welding replaced this labour-intensive and highly skilled construction method in the 1940s.

“But she is probably best remembered for her 30 years as the Galway-to-Aran Islands ferry before being decommissioned in 1986.”

His plan for the Naomh Éanna, which he says would take nine months to restore, is to convert it into a 128-bed boutique hostel, a 64-seat cafe and a 52-seat restaurant. There would also be a micro-brewery and exhibits detailing the ship’s history.

For much more on this development on this rare surviving Irish built ship, the newspaper has more here

Published in Historic Boats

#NaomhEanna - The Minister for Transport is being urged to back a campaign to bring Naomh Eanna back to Galway, writes The Connacht Tribune.

The ship once carried passengers (and freight) between the city and Aran Islands, before being withdrawn from service in 1989. It has been lying derelict in Ringsend, Dublin for over two decades.

However, the engine room of the ship is still operational, and campaigners say if enough funds are raised, it will be possible to sail the vessel back to Galway.

Previous attempts to bring the Naomh Eanna home to Galway suggested that the ship could be a major tourist attraction for the city – by changing it into a floating museum.

The proposed project would cost in the region of half a million euro – but a recent application to Fáilte Ireland has been rejected, and campaigners feel the rejection was unfair.

The campaign group has now written to Minister Shane Ross asking him to intervene. Campaigner Sam Corbett says grant support is crucial if the Naomh Eanna is to return home to Galway.

Afloat adds that this rare surviving example of a Dublin built ship dating to 1958 had faced the prospect of been scrapped, however a campaign was launched to save her several years ago. 

The disposal of the ship was to be undertaken by Waterways Ireland in a disused Georgian graving dock. This historic dry-dock (see proposal to save) is located also in Ringsend, at the Grand Canal Dock Basin from where the veteran vessel languishes. 

Published in Historic Boats

#NaomhÉanna - previously reported that restoration of the former Aran Islands ferry Naomh Éanna required solid financial backing before a number of ambitious future plans for the boat could proceed.

Now campaigners for the historic vessel have turned to the internet to seek funding for the first step of their rejigged refurbishment plan – now starting with the proposed micro brewery.

Organisers believe that setting up the brewery first – with a funding target of €3,000 for the necessary equipment and licences – will provide the revenue stream needed to get further restoration works in motion, as well as "show investors and banks that we are actually doing something", as the project's IndieGoGo page explains.

It's hoped that the micro brewery will operate from the Naomh Éanna at its Grand Canal Dock berth – and tours of the ship and the proposed brewing facilities are among the perks available for contributors to the crowdfunding campaign, which has 55 days left to go as of Wednesday 20 May.

Published in Historic Boats

#NaomhÉanna - A campaign continues to transform a former Aran Islands ferry which plied the route from Galway, into a major tourist attraction, reports the Galway Advertiser.

However if a financial plan is not established within a number of weeks there is a risk that the Naomh Eanna will have to be consigned to the scrapyard and Galway will lose out on an attraction which could, in time, be worth millions to the local economy.

The Naomh Eanna was withdrawn from service in 1989 and has been lying derelict in Dublin Port for more than 25 years. Last year it emerged that there were controversial plans by Waterways Ireland for her to be scrapped.

She has now been acquired by the Irish Ship and Barge Fabrication Company as also previously reported on back in September. The firm specialises in the restoration of high quality heritage maritime holdings.

There are ambitious plans in place for a major refit of the Naomh Eanna to include an 80 bedroom boutique hostel, a restaurant and cafe, an island museum and micro brewery.

It is proposed she will be moored at Long Walk and become a focal point for tourism in Galway.

The Irish Ship and Barge Fabrication Company has begun work to try to structure a financial package to deliver the finished product. It is estimated that the project, which has been approved as a tax efficient investment, will cost €2.4 million.

For more on this development surrounding the Dublin-built veteran vessel, click HERE.

Published in Historic Boats

#FormerAranFerries - In recent weeks St. Bridget another former Aran Islands ferry entered Dublin's Grand Canal Dock Basin to join Naomh Éanna, the 1956 built ship that served CIE until withdrawn from service in 1988, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The veteran 300 passenger and freight ferry is berthed in a disused dry-dock and was the topic of a TG4 documentary recently broadcast. Moored nearby is the 1977 built St. Bridget with a 120 passenger capacity that is in winter lay-up following a second season operating coastal excursions for Dublin Bay Cruises.

It is ironic the pair should be sharing company together, given plans to restore and refit the riveted 137ft hulled Naomh Éanna as a tourist attraction and return her westbound to her old homeport of Galway. Whereas St. Bridget, formerly named Galway Bay, was repositioned last year for east coast duties for newcomer Dublin Bay Cruises.

St. Bridget's season this year involved an expanded network of excursion routes linking Dublin city-centre, Howth and Dun Laoghaire harbours in addition to running an evening cruise to Killiney Bay.

According to the operator, the most popular excursion service was Dublin City via the Dun Laoghaire to Howth service. As well as these sight-seeing services St. Bridget served clients for private charters.

As the Galway Bay, not to be confused with other ferries of the same name, (notably the restored Calshot in Southampton), her career on the western seaboard included Rossaveal to Kilronan. She then had a spell on the Cleggan-Inishbofin service.

In recent times it is understood she returned to Aran service when running from Co. Clare under her current owner's sister company Doolin2Aran Ferries.

The 26m steel-hulled St Bridget is one of five passenger ships owned and operated by the Garrihy family which run both the companies. She is scheduled to resume regular sailings in April 2015.


Published in Coastal Notes

#naomheanna – Donncha Mac Con Iomaire's maritime programme on the Naomh Éanna ship airs tonight on TG4 at 21:30. Rusted and with little future she was sentenced to be scrapped, until a few men embarked on a plan to bring new life to the Naomh Éanna. The news of the bid to rescue her from Grand Canal Dock was told by last February and now the tale makes the small screen.

The Naomh Éanna provided all the neccessities the three Aran Islands had with the mainland for 30 years. CIÉ's rivited ship brought everything from summer students and sheep to Galway, and ice cream and coal to the windswept isles. The Naomh Éanna was at the end of a great era of shipbuilding in Dublin but was ill-designed to service three islands in which she could only moor at one pier! The curragh men of Inis Meáin and Inis Oirr battled the wild Atlantic to keep connected to the outside world.

If you missed it the Docu is now on the TG4 player here

Published in Maritime TV

#IslandNation - Readers of this blog have been kind in welcoming me back to the airwaves, for which I am grateful. Community radio on which I now broadcast is quite a big operation about which I did not know a lot until I met the people who run Community Radio Youghal, CRY104FM, in the seaside town on the East Coast of County Cork. At their invitation I returned to the airwaves, broadcasting THIS ISLAND NATION every month and with more development now ahead, thanks to the positive response of listeners.

Every week 2,000 radio volunteers around the country engage with 307,000 listeners, broadcasting from 22 fully licensed stations, in addition to which there are a number of stations at different stages of development. Community radio is a rapidly growing broadcasting sector and a force for community development, identity and expression.

A community radio station is not focussed solely on broadcast schedules, which are subject to the diktats of commercial interests for advertising purpose. So it has a stronger focus on the values and interests of the community to which it broadcasts and can provide a wider variety of broadcasting. It appears to me that it can offer what is missing from mainstream media, newspapers, radio and television - and that is a regular forum for maritime news, information, comment and opinion, related directly to communities. The mainstream media, with a few exceptions, does not give sufficient regular, informed, balanced coverage of the marine sphere.

Transmission of THIS ISLAND NATION as a monthly radio programme about the sea, with the well-known signature tune ‘Sailing By', began earlier this year and interest has grown. ‘Sailing By’ was dropped by RTE as the signature tune for the programme Seascapes, which I had developed and broadcast there for over 20 years.

NEAR FM 90.3 community radio for Dublin North East and Raidió Corca Baiscinn 94.8 FM in County Clare also broadcast THIS ISLAND NATION, as does on this website. I am hopeful that more community stations around the country will join in broadcasting the programme, for which the plan now, in response to growing interest, is to increase transmission from monthly to fortnightly from next month. CRAOL is the national representative body for the community radio movement.

With modern technology it is quite easy to listen to radio stations broadcasting from anywhere around the country. The app Tune In Radio, which can be downloaded from the Google Play store, is great for listening to radio anywhere. Download it and you have access to all radio stations on Adroid smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. That includes, of course, those which broadcast THIS ISLAND NATION.


After what has been a long battle against what seemed to be the complete disinterest of Government and State agencies in maritime heritage, Sam Field Corbett tells me that his Irish Ship & Barge Fabrication Company has acquired the heritage ship Naomh Éanna – “effectively securing the vessel for the next three months,” he says. “During this period IS&BF will complete the in-depth survey required to calculate the cost of repairing the hull and machinery to compliment the calculations for her refit as a boutique hostel, restaurant, cafe and museum.”


The Naomh Éanna was built by the Liffey Dockyard and launched in the late 1950s. Until 1988, it served as the Galway-Aran Islands ferry and had been operated by CIE. The vessel was purchased by the Irish Nautical Trust and moored at Grand Canal Dock in 1989 after it was decided that it could no longer operate as a passenger-carrying vessel.

Waterways Ireland, owners of the Grand Canal Dock, had determined to scrap the ship, maintaining that its condition was unsafe. WI had little interest in listening to proposals for preserving the ship. There was a debate about it in the Dáil which was told that the underwater archaeological unit of the Department of the Environment did not consider that the Naomh Éanna should be protected and disregarded the fact that it was “an example of the shipbuilding techniques used in the Liffey Docks in the 1950s”. That type of history, according to the Department, did not “justify the expense that would be involved in its preservation”.

Closed minds towards maritime heritage continue to dominate official circles but Sam Corbett refused to give up. Those supporting him had to fight against the attitude of officialdom which sought to exclude several of those who could be considered ‘stakeholders’ from meetings about the future of the ship, according to those who had an open mind the future of the vessel.

Sam Corbett tells me that “the final part of the negotiations” lies with NAMA “who seem close to issuing the three-month lease on the site which will allow surveyors to access the ship and determine her condition.

“Difficulties regarding a €50,000 bond in favour of Waterways Ireland should they be expected to step in and remove (scrap) the ship should IS&BF efforts to secure funding fail, may be close to being resolved. IS&BF presented Nama with an undertaking by a recycling company experienced in specialist breaking and NAMA are considering this option. We hope to have a decision shortly.

"IS&BF are intent on approaching a number of venture capitalists to invest in the project which is presented as a viable business. How the business plan is received by potential investors will ultimately decide the ship’s fate. We have chosen to approach potential investors who have an interest in supporting Irish heritage and jobs.

“This was the original proposition since we became aware the ship was going to be scrapped many months ago. It has been a long process. Without support it would not have been possible. Indeed, it would have surely been scrapped if it had not been for the direct intervention of TDs Kevin Humphreys, Sean Kyne, Joan Collins, Eamonn O Cuiv, Senator David Norris and Councillors Mary Freehill and Dermot Lacey among others.

"Many challenges lie ahead. However, it’s a great accomplishment to have got this far. The money donated by our supporters will be used to conduct the survey as planned and the reimbursement of this money to the RNLI has been included in the project costings. We hope to be able to invite all our supporters to visit the ship when she is being restored and look forward to meeting everyone then.”

Sam Corbett Field is the man who led the restoration of the former Cork Harbour liner tender MV Cill Áirne which could also have been destined for destruction but is now a floating restaurant on the Liffey in the Dublin Docklands near the IFSC. He is also involved in the operation of barges like the Riasc on the Dublin canals. He is not a man who gives up!


Sam Corbett Field by the Riasc on the Grand Canal


It did not get a lot of public media attention at the time, though it was well-known in maritime circles, when the satellites in the Russian GLONASS GPS system failed for 11 hours last April. It was an unprecedented total disruption of a fully-operational satellite positioning service. As a result, the Russian GPS system was completely unusable to all worldwide GLONASS receivers.

The extent of the disruption has become clear following information released by the General Lighthouse Authorities of the UK and Ireland. GLA readings from their GLONASS receiver in Harwich showed location errors of over 30 nautical miles off the UK coastline.


Apparently the problem occurred because of what were described as “bad ephemerides” being uploaded to satellites. Navigation messages from every satellite requires ephemeris data which is used by the satellite to check its orbital position and information about the time and status of the entire constellation. This data is then processed by user/receivers on the ground to compute their precise position. Less than a fortnight after the first failure, a second malfunction occurred temporarily knocking-out nine GLONASS satellites.

There are, according to information, quite a lot of GLONASS users, including some mobile phone systems. The GLA said that what happened “is a timely reminder that alternatives to satellite navigation are essential”.

The GLA themselves are supporting eLoran as an alternative to GPS for the UK and Ireland. This system transmits long-range position, navigation and timing signals from a ground-based radio network. Its primary use is for ships and others in the maritime sector, but it could provide a back-up for GPS, GLONASS and GALILEO (the long-awaited European system) when it arrives. But eLoran is still proving a hard sell to gain acceptance, according to those in the business.

A Royal Academy of Engineering report in 2011 declared that the UK was becoming dangerously over-reliant on Global Navigation Satellite Systems. Use of space-borne positioning and timing data is now widespread, in everything from freight movement to synchronisation of computer networks. The academy found that “too few of these applications have alternatives should the primary sat-nav signals go down”.

There is a detailed article about the failure of the GLONASS system and the implications for GPS in the September edition of Seaways, the international journal of The Nautical Institute.



There are a lot of interesting things happening along the Shannon, the latest of which is the decision of Clare County Council to buy Holy Island on Lough Derg, which is the largest lake on the River Shannon. The island has links back to Brian Boru. Called also the 'Jewel of the Lough', it is an important historical and ecclesiastical site, covering 50 acres of which four are in the ownership of the Office of Public Works. There are monastic ruins, including a 24m-high round tower, an oratory and church buildings. The island is still used as a burial ground. It is not far from the village of Mountshannon.


The European Fisheries Commission wants to prohibit the use of any kind of drift nets for fishing in all EU waters from January of next year. It would also be made illegal to keep drift nets aboard fishing vessels. It is an all-embracing ban, typical of EU bureaucracy which does not give sufficient consideration before action to the socio-economic effects on, for example, coastal fishing communities, against whom its effects could be discriminatory.

While a ban on the abuse of these nets by big fishing boats from major fishing nations has had some positive effects on salmon stocks and protection of marine mammals, the EU and Irish Governments are ignoring the need, which is clear, for a comprehensive, long-term plan to be devised, with the involvement of local people, for the future of sustainable coastal fishing communities.

As an example of the disregard for coastal communities, the Government has still not responded to the Report of the Oireachtas Committee on Fisheries published last December that called for a Dáil debate and specific attention to be given by Government Departments to the socio-economic problems of Ireland’s coastal and island communities.


Rarely does the general media report afterwards what happened to a ship aboard which a disaster has occurred. One such vessel was the MV MSC Flaminia, a German-owned container ship which caught fire on 14 July 2012, forcing the crew to abandon ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Three seafarers were killed.

Due to the damage and the cargo she was carrying, no country would give her ‘safe haven’ after the fire was put out. Eventually, nearly two months later, the German government had to respond to the requests of salvage crews and allowed the damaged vessel to be towed into Wilhelmshaven in Germany on 9 September.


The MV MSC Flaminia on fire in the mid Atlantic

In March 2013 she departed Wilhelmshaven for the Daewoo shipyard at Mangalia in Romania, where repairs were carried out. They were completed this July and the Flaminia, a post-Panamax container ship with a capacity of 6,750 TEUs and deadweight tonnage of 85,823 tons, 980 feet long and 130 feet wide, drawing 48 feet when fully laden, has returned to service. The repair work on the badly-damaged vessel included conversion into a modern eco-ship to reduce fuel consumption.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @TomMacSweeney

Published in Island Nation

#NaomhEanna - Naomh Éanna a former CIE Aran Islands ferry due to be scrapped earlier this year as previously reported, has been acquired by the Irish Ship & Barge Fabrication Company, effectively securing the heritage vessel, writes Jehan Ashmore.

There are plans by IS&BF for a major refit of the veteran vessel that would see her become a tourist attraction back in her former homeport of Galway, as she would feature a boutique hostel, restaurant, cafe and museum in the harbour's single Dun Aengus Dock.

Naomh Eanna is a riveted hulled ship completed in 1958 at the Liffey Dockyard, she carried some 300 passengers and freight including livestock between Galway and the three Aran Islands. She has been lying derelict in Dublin Port for more than 25 years.

She is one of the last such ships built in Europe using rivetted construction technique. In addition she is one of the last ships to be built in the capital and is one of the oldest surviving Irish built ships remaining in our waters.

According to the Naomh Éanna Save Our Ship Campaign, there are negotiations with NAMA over a lease of the graving dock site in Dublin's Grand Canal Basin. This would allow surveyors to access the ship (currently in the graving dock) and determine her hull condition and machinery which is understood to be in working order.

Subject to the outcome of her survey, IS&BF intend to carry out the major refit of the 483 tonnes vessel with her new owners seeking investment from venture capitalists to invest in the project.

Since her shift of berth within Grand Canal Basin earlier this year, there has been an ongoing dispute by campaigners to save Naomh Eanna from scrapping by Waterways Ireland, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and NAMA.

Prior to Naomh Éanna's relocation earlier this year, she had been laid-up at her long-term berth alongside Charlotte Quay within the Grand Canal Dock since 1989.

The previous year she had been withdrawn from the west of Ireland service as she failed an inclination test and sailed to Dublin Port. She initially berthed in the capital close to the shipyard from where she was launched into Alexandra Basin.


Published in Historic Boats
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