18th October

Centenarian vessels still sailing hard in Norwegian waters

In a brisk south-southwest wind, several Colin Archer designed ‘Redningsselskapet’ (Norwegian Lifeboat Institution) vessels raced with other classic boats in the relatively sheltered waters inside the archipelago off the mainland at Risør on the southeast coast of Norway.Risor II held off a strong challenge from Larvik to take the gun to the delight of the home crowd.

Risor 2013

 Designed by the very same naval architect and builder of Asgard (1905) preserved and on display in Collin’s Barricks, Dublin, these pre-1936 vessels ― now mostly privately owned and superbly restored and maintained ― would set to sea whenever the weather got bad to shepherd the local fishing fleets safely into port. These sail-only vessels are therefore very well suited to racing in these conditions.

Upwards of 100 craft of various designs participated in the annual wooden boat festival now in its thirtieth year. The three-day event also featured age-old maritime craft displays and demonstrations along the town’s quayside. Risør once prospered as a flourishing exporter of timber to the Netherlands.

Typical of the era, traditional wooden buildings were built very close together and wood, oil and candles were used to heat and light homes. In 1861, a major fire destroyed almost 250 houses; however due to strong local economy, the town was rebuilt. Today, just a few original buildings remain.

In 1991 after a 30-year debate, a plan to protect the town was agreed by the municipal committee. This involved the restoration and maintenance of almost 600 of the distinctive white clapper-board houses, and work to the streetscapes and lighting.

(Visit the 'Archive' Issue 9.4 (Aug/Sept) to view more images of the event)

Clare Island Survey Past & Present

A re-survey of Clare Island currently underway (first conducted by the Royal Irish Academy, 1909-1911) has completed 26 fieldwork studies encompassing five disciplines: archaeology; history and culture; botany; geology and zoology).

The survey is a major Academy venture, bringing together more than 100 experts from all over the island of Ireland and Europe to document changes in all aspects of the island's heritage, environment, and biology.

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The Clare survey team who conducted their first survey in 1909. Photo RIA

The survey provides a fresh baseline study using up-to-date methodology, and gives a comprehensive description of the island from its bedrocks to its biotic communities. The survey also traces the history of human occupation and the impact of human activity on Clare Island.

Read more: Clare Island Survey Past & Present

A ‘preserved’ Asgard is unveiled to the public but continues to prompt debate

Tim Magennis

The Chinese, they say, have a way of putting it when they declare, ‘May you live in interesting times.’ There are, I admit, a number of interpretations that may be put on that particular statement.

At the unveiling of Asgard on August 8 in Collins Barracks was a very special guest – and indeed for her, and her distinguished family, these are interesting times.  She was Carainn Childers, grand-daughter of Robert Erskine Childers of Asgard fame and daughter of the late President Erskine Childers.
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Photo: Tim Magennis speaking at the annual Poolbeg Yacht Club regatta

Read more: A ‘preserved’ Asgard is unveiled to the public but continues to prompt debate

Recreating history that goes back over a Millennium

Replica 400ft Viking longboat

Construction of a replica 40ft Viking longboat in Waterford City by 18 FÁS students under the watchful eye of shipwright, Michael Kennedy is almost complete. Final work on rigging the sails, setting reefing pennants and making the oars is underway, along with some minor work on the rudder.  

Waterford has a very strong Viking heritage, dating back as early as 812 when Vikings settled in Woodstown near Mount Congreve. In 914 however they moved to a new settlement, Waterford City, which became a well-defended stronghold that survived and prospered.

The Vikings called it ‘Vedrarfjord’, meaning windy harbour, which over time became ‘Waterford’ – the only city in Ireland to retain its Norse name.

The project secured a longboat drawing from the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark.
Begun in June 2010, it is a joint initiative of FÁS, Waterford Museum of Treasures, Waterford City Council and the private sector including the Waterford Chamber of Commerce.

Warships, U-Boats and Liners: A guide to shipwrecks mapped in Irish waters

Tim Magennis

Of the 700 U-boats sunk during WWII it is estimated that approximately 60 were lost in the waters surrounding Ireland. 116 subs that survived the war ended up there too.

One of the many stunning photographs shows the mass of surrendered craft that were herded into Lough Foyle prior to being towed out between November 1945 and February 1946 to the Northern Approaches ̵ 120 miles northwest of the Donegal coast ̵ and put to the bottom. In total, between 30,000 ̵ 40,000 mainly young German submariners gave their lives.8.6Bookreview Warships

By its very nature, the work being done in coastal and ocean surveying in general in Ireland does not lend itself to easy or accurate translation for the understanding of the public at large. It can be technical and not easily translated into readily understood language. This is unfortunate because in its short life – a mere 12 years – it has been acclaimed by people who know what they are talking about [that the project is] the finest of its type currently being undertaken anywhere in the world.

Read more: Warships, U-Boats and Liners: A guide to shipwrecks mapped in Irish waters

Spread the News

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