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Excerpts from our diary

10-12-15: Two New Jaws for Ilens Main Gaff


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Matt slowly releases two new jaws for Ilen’s main gaff, both from prodigious local logs. One of Oak, the other of Black Locust, a gift of Storm Darwin which ripped through Glenstal Abbey, Limerick in February 2014 and brought down the great trees that bore them.  

30-11-15: Rebuild and Relaunch of the Auxillary Ketch Ilen


Glenstal-02_Cutting-black-locust

For many years now, since her return from the Falklands, the Ilen has been nursed back to strength by the best of Ireland’s traditional shipwrights in Liam Hegarty’s yard in Oldcourt. To those who wondered whether and when, to those who asked about times and seasons, the answer was that the destination was the journey itself, and that the Ilen served as an educational … Continue reading 30-11-15: Rebuild and Relaunch of the Auxillary Ketch Ilen

16-11-15: Designing & making a new traditional rig for the good ship Ilen


Front Row: Patrick Beautement, Wooden Boatbuilder UK; Matt Dirr, Wooden Boatbuilder US; James Madigan, Wooden Boatbuilder; Colin Frake, Traditional Ship Fittings UK; Dermot Kennedy, Traditional Ship Sailor.

Back Row: Eoghan O’Mahony, Traditional Sailmaker; Liam Hegarty, Wooden Boat Specialists; Trevor Ross, Traditional Ships Rigger NZ; Gary MacMahon, Director Ilen School; Br Anthony Keane OSB, Ilen School Director.

An international gathering at the Ilen School, Roxboro, Limerick of expert marine traditional riggers, sailmakers and classic boatbuilders, might induce one to speculate that a sailing ship is somewhere in Ireland nearing completion. And yes, this gathering of last Friday, clearly marks a significant juncture in the rebuild of Ireland’s 1926 wooden sailing ship Ilen  The … Continue reading 16-11-15: Designing & making a new traditional rig for the good ship Ilen

12-06-15: Caulking Ilen’s Plank Seams


Caulking the Seams

This week Fachtna O’Sullivan commences the task of caulking with Oakum the plank seams of the Ilen. This process will take many weeks over the summer and will require the discerning hand and eye of experienced shipwrights.  

10-06-15: An Inevitable Juncture


Ilen-Hull-Finished

The process of rebuilding the good ship Ilen, for an operational and voyaging life at sea, reached an inevitable juncture this week. A juncture that sees new personalities about her decks – with conversation equal to their respective skills, they merge with those who with much joy have brought her to where she is today. … Continue reading 10-06-15: An Inevitable Juncture

23-02-15: Limerick’s historic sailing vessel, AK Ilen, will reclaim high seas


Limerick’s historic sailing vessel, AK Ilen, will reclaim high seas

Excerpt from Limerick Leader Feb 23rd 2015. Article by Anne Sheridan A RARE celebration for Limerick’s growing fleet of boat builders has been witnessed, as the ‘whiskey plank’ was nailed into the hull of the historic AK Ilen. The famous vessel was sailed to the Falklands Islands by Conor O’Brien, an Oxford-educated Limerickman and the … Continue reading 23-02-15: Limerick’s historic sailing vessel, AK Ilen, will reclaim high seas

17-02-15: Minister guest of honour at “whiskey plank” ceremony


Minister at Whiskey Plank Ceremony

Extract from West Cork Times, February 17, 2015 SAILORS, shipwrights, well wishers and the plain curious gathered in the Great Corn Store at Hegarty’s Boatyard, at Old Court between Skibbereen and Baltimore, recently to witness a major milestone in Irish shipbuilding. They were there to witness Minister for the Marine, Simon Coveney hammer home the … Continue reading 17-02-15: Minister guest of honour at “whiskey plank” ceremony

20-09-14: Gandelow Races a mix of waterborne activity and sailing craft


Gandelow Races Sat Sept 20th

Today’s Ilen School Gandelow Races were a big success. The event, boosted by wonderful September weather, was a magnificent mix of waterborne activity and displays of Limerick sailing and rowing craft. Sixteen teams of rowers and sailors, from Limerick City and beyond, generously put on display their passion for excellence in boat handling and competition … Continue reading 20-09-14: Gandelow Races a mix of waterborne activity and sailing craft

17-09-15: Sailing & Rowing Races in Limerick City Sat Sept 20th


Gandelow Races to come Sept 20th

This year’s Gandelow Races include a special event: The CityOne Limerick Sailing Challenge, which involves the launch and racing of four new and spectacular performance sailing boats, designed for racing between the bridges of Limerick and custom-built at the Ilen School in Roxboro, a Limerick City of Culture #madeinlimerick Legacy Project. Expect to see dynamic … Continue reading 17-09-15: Sailing & Rowing Races in Limerick City Sat Sept 20th

16-09-14: Exhibition of CityOne fleet at St Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick


CityOne_StMarysExhibition

You are invited by the Ilen School to the Naumachia at Saint Mary’s Cathedral Limerick, where the new CityOne Limerick fleet will be exhibited and launched by Mr Michael Noonan TD Minister for Finance 11.00am Friday 26t September 2014 St Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick This is an exhibition of four performance sailing boats, an outcome of … Continue reading 16-09-14: Exhibition of CityOne fleet at St Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick

11-07-14: CityOne gets her new fin


CityOne Gets her New Fin

CityOne is drawing close to splash date. Final optimisation continues with the addition of her new daggerboard which adds a wonderful menacing look.

26-05-14: Gandelow Gang Races, Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival


Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival

The Ilen School’s Gandelow Gang travelled to the 2014 Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival, West Cork, on May 23rd. The school’s busy winter educational building programme, which successfully produced four new 23′ Gandelows, has given much impetus and pleasure to the school rowers and racing teams they comprise. The Baltimore Festival, the fourth event attended by … Continue reading 26-05-14: Gandelow Gang Races, Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival

04-05-14: Gandelow Races Limerick May 5th for #riverfest


Riverfest 2014

Come and welcome the Gandelows and racing crews home from Venice for moreGandelow Racing in Limerick City, Monday May 5th – boats launching on O’Callaghan Strand at 10am, racing starts at 11am from Howleys Quay, Limerick (outside Peter Clohessy’s Bar). Tomorrow’s races are being held as part of the Riverfest2014 celebrations. Picture Above: The Gandelow Gang … Continue reading 04-05-14: Gandelow Races Limerick May 5th for #riverfest

25-04-14: Munster v Leinster – Battle of Clontarf Gandelow Races, Dublin


Battle of Clontarf Gandelow Race

The Ilen School’s fleet of Gandelows, crews and builders gently entered the River Liffey on the morning of April 23rd. Their arrival was not a spontaneous one but one that emerged from a conglomeration of elements, some stretching back a thousand historical years. The myth that is the Battle of Clontarf draws as much historical … Continue reading 25-04-14: Munster v Leinster – Battle of Clontarf Gandelow Races, Dublin

11-04-14: River Trial of First 23ft Gandelow for Venice


23ft Gandelow Trial

The first of four new Ilen School 23ft Gandelows was launched on O’Callaghan Strand today. The river trial was a great success and the boat rowed the waves beautifully. A wholesome outcome of a community building project within the Ilen school.

12-02-14: Meet The CityOne Crew


An international and local team of boat builders and naval architects have assembled at the Ilen School, Roxboro, as part of the Limerick City of Culture 2014 celebrations. The school is well underway towards the rollout of its Limerick City of Culture Sport and Legacy Project, which involves the design and build of a new … Continue reading 12-02-14: Meet The CityOne Crew

15-11-14: Learn To Row


Learn to Row - Limerick

The Ilen Wooden School would like to involve the public in learning to row Limerick’s traditional boat – the Gandelow. Our free rowing Saturdays are available to all and offer the community a wonderful opportunity to engage directly with the river, within the city. The session will also serve as an opportunity for the public … Continue reading 15-11-14: Learn To Row