Sea Echoes: A major step forward for the Ilen restoration project

Sea Echoes: A major step forward for the Ilen restoration project
Ilen in the open once again. Pic: Gary McMahon.

“It took three days of nudging to get her out of the shed. It was attended by many frustrations not least the very strong winds of last week. ILEN now sits inches from the shed awaiting the barge to bring her to hard-standing in her new location so that the interior accommodation fit-out can commence along with the stepping of masts.” 

That is the positive news from Liam Hegarty’s Boatyard at Oldcourt outside Skibbereen where the task of moving the restored ILEN from the shed where she has been restored was completed. 

It was a difficult one, but a further stage achieved in the restoration of the historic 1926-built 56ft. trading ketch, the last of Ireland’s traditional trading vessels.

A substantial multi-wheel trolley was assembled under the vessel, which weighs as much as 30 tons, for the move. 

The restoration is progressing very well to the eventual re-launch of the ILEN in West Cork, her original birthplace 91 years ago.

MEITHEAL MARA GOES ON BUILDING

The revival of interest in building and maintaining traditional boats is also being continued in Cork City where Meitheal Mara has built canoes, Dunfanaghy currachs, Owey Island currachs, Naomhóga, as well as a plywood clinker Arctic Tern, during the past year at its boatyard at Crosses Green.

“We’ve worked with over 200 participants and 39 community groups from over 27 organisations, both in the workshop and on the water as part of our Bádoireacht programme and, for the first time we offered a rowing program to families in Direct Provision,” Cathy Buchanan, General Manager of Meitheal Mara said. “The National Learning Network from Clonakilty and Midleton have been with us since October building canoes.” Plans are underway for this year’s Ocean-to- City Race and the organisation is looking for an experienced Temporary Events Manager for the race and the Cork Harbour Festival. The position will be on a fixed-term, temporary basis to provide maternity leave cover. If interested Email to: recruitment@meithealmara.ie by next Weds, Jan 17.

NEW COLUMN FROM NEXT WEEK 

From next Wednesday, I will be writing a new column 'Maritime Cork' focussing strongly on the history, culture, tradition and modern developments of Maritime Cork. This city and county has so much to offer in the marine sector and so much to remember. I hope you will continue to join me on Wednesdays in the Evening Echo as we voyage through Maritime Cork.

DOWNWARD TRAJECTORY 

Scientists have identified a new aspect of the plastic waste problem affecting the oceans. Unseen below the surface, they say, another problem is growing:

deoxygenation. This is the “downward trajectory of oxygen levels” which appears to be increasing in areas of the open ocean and coastal waters.

OCEAN SUPERHIGHWAY 

The “ocean superhighway” is the name given to the waters around the Revillagigedo Islands off the coast of Mexico where 37 different types of sharks and rays are found, often in huge numbers, including both the world’s largest type of ray, the manta, and the largest type of shark, the whale shark. Altogether, it has 366 species of fish, of which 26 are nowhere else in the entire world. The Mexican Government has announced that the area is to be declared a marine park. “It is an area that must be preserved for future generations,” the Government said. It will be larger than Greece and be the largest protected area in the waters of North America.

Email: tommacsweeneymarine@gmail.com

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