We are anyone who can handle a sail or a shipwright’s maul, or who wishes to learn or would prefer to let others do so. We are a school and a network, based in Limerick with a national and international theatre of operations.

Ilen School and network for wooden boat building Limerick Ireland
School and network for wooden boatbuilding and traditional craft


Our approach to teaching and learning is to let it happen. We are confident that the elemental forces of materials and environment can nurture and release the deep buried treasure of people’s inner selves.

Ilen School and network for wooden boat building Limerick Ireland
Woodworking workshops for Limerick educational and therapeutic agencies

Our goal locally is to rebuild the cultural interface between Limerick and its surroundings, realising the munificence of our natural and built marine inheritance.

The educational, economic and life enhancing forces of river, estuary and sea are powerful, and the recovery and development of the cultural traditions of engaging with them allows us to participate in their beauty and energy. The truth and beauty of materials, their constancy and their lending of themselves to be shaped, invite the worker to participate, in ways beyond previous imaginings, in the ongoing moment of creation. The shape-shifting thrill of transforming a land creature like a tree into a ship that moves on wind and sea, invites us to discover the mysteries of the cosmos.

national sailing training programme Ilen School
Sail Training Programme commenced July 2015 on board the Spirit of Oysterhaven

The fleet of smaller Gandelow boats already launched has allowed young people discover with piety the noble traditions of their forbears, as well as opening them to the kindly and liberating influence of the elemental forces that surround us.

boat handling and rowing for limerick's youth Ilen School
Boat handling and rowing skills and events for Limerick’s youth

Anaerobic allegations of personal and social pathology simply vanish in the iridescent light of the sun and the salutary terror of wind and wave.