Community & Cargo 2020

The Ilen Marine School’s – Community and Cargo 2020 Programme continues. Transportation of cargo to coastal communities was the original purpose of our flagship (floating Classroom) Ilen. Consequently, late last year, pre-pandemic, we decided to recommence her seaborne cargo trade which had come to an end sometime in the early 1980s. We planned to do this by facilitating trade between local food and beverage producers out from six ports on the south and west coasts of Ireland.

The Community and Cargo 2020 voyage unfolded over two weeks in August – fourteen happy days that we somehow found between two unseasonal storms and two unprecedented lockdowns. Our seaborne cargo voyage seemed a very tangible and successful dimension of the Community and Cargo 2020 programme. It was well-matched by the engagement with the schools on land, with children handling the crates of produce and being thrilled at the thought of cargo coming to them from over the waves.

Ilen departing Limerick, August 2020

Last week the first two Limerick City schools each received a delivery of our Community and Cargo boxes. This delivery was the first step in a socially distanced Ilen Marine School Educational Programme which we designed to meet with schools and HSE policies around COVID 19. In essence, this programme allows us to continue the very popular schools programme we rolled out in the previous term.

The programme will see its outcomes becoming the content of a cargo box for delivery under sail onboard Ilen to another school down or up the coast. Depending on the relationship between schools, the programme fosters in the coming weeks.

Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, Limerick

Pupils were visibly excited on arrival of their cargo boxes last Tuesday – swiftly conveying them to their respective class settings. The cargo box comes with a teacher’s guide packet (digital and printed) which contains:

  • Instructions and scripts for each activity.
  • Class videos to watch on each activity.
  • A digital database in Google Classroom, accessible to all the teachers for ease
    of access to supporting material.
  • Four activities that guide the student and teachers through a creative process
    which takes them into the watery world of cargo trade and sailing tradition.

The programme, as it moves forward, will host three online virtual zoom sessions designed to facilitate the making of new relationships between participating schools. Moreover, our programme should stir pupils’ imagination both in the classroom and at home – for where we designed it.

This programme is a fantastic community and educational work from the crew of the Ilen Marine School.

Ilen on the Shannon Estuary

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