Tall Ships Return To Dublin

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Three tall ships with over a hundred young trainees berthed in Dublin Port on the morning of Friday 30th May to help kickstart the weekend’s river festival. The flotilla was escorted up the River Liffey by the Irish Naval Services yacht LE Creidne and featured trainees from both north and south of the border, aged between 16 and 30 years old.

The arrival of the tall ships is a project run by Sail Training Ireland, which aims to increase the number of tall ship voyages to and from Ireland. The vessels, named the Gulden Leeuw, the Morgenster and Pelican of London, sailed from Belfast to Dublin, where the ships were berthed at North Wall Quay above the East Link Bridge.

To commemorate the occasion, Sail Training Ireland hosted a social gathering aboard the Dutch ship, Gulden Leeuw. The evening itself featured a presentation by the many young trainees currently away at sea, who described in detail the trials and tribulations that go in tandem with life aboard a tall ship. They extolled the virtues of teamwork in their speeches and described how they have formed friendships due to the wonderful teamwork that exists aboard these vessels in the open waters.

The evening also provided an opportunity for guests to tour the ship, with information available to those who are interested in becoming future trainees. The social gathering also featured refreshments and music, with some songs being performed by a colourful cast of characters known as the Brotherhood of Zebo, a pirate fraternity formed on Liverpool’s Albert Docks.

Sail Training Ireland manager Michael Byrne was optimistic about the success of the gathering and of the overall project. He said that young trainees were “coming from literally every corner of Ireland,” and went on to say that the gathering was “an excellent way to expose the general public to life aboard a tall ship at a competitive price”, which was €25 on the day, rather than the usual price of €100.

Speaking to NewsFour at the event, Michael Byrne said that he has been in contact with Ringsend and Irishtown Community Centre about potentially expanding the project within the Dublin 4 coastal area, as part of a wider strategy developed by Sail Training Ireland. “What I do is, I get funding in and then I make it available for youth organisations and I nominate a young person to get involved,” Byrne said.

NewsFour also spoke to Conor and Suzanne from Sail Training Ireland, who operate a yacht called 2041. The 2041 is based in Poolbeg Marina in Ringsend, and Conor and Suzanne take people out sail training in the bay.

The Dublin Port Company pay for their berthing down in Ringsend, although they were initially meant to be based down by the Samuel Beckett Bridge.

The tall ships, working with the Sail Ireland training programme, remained open to the public for the three days of the Dublin Port river festival.

Further details on upcoming Sail Training Ireland events and memberships can be found online at info@irishsailtraining.com

By Craig Kinsella