Progress continues on the restoration of Ilen – the last of Ireland’s traditional wooden sailing ships.
Designed by Conor O’Brien and built in Baltimore, Co Cork in 1926, she was delivered to the Falkland Islands where she served for seventy years, enduring the Roaring Forties, the Furious Fifties and Screaming Sixties.
Brought back to Ireland by Gary McMahon in 1997, Ilen is being painstakingly restored, beginning this journey in Liam Hegarty’s boatyard in Oldcourt, West Cork, where shaken oak frames were replaced with Bavarian larch, fixed with bronze.
The latest work sees blocks being fitted across the oak beams to receive the deck planks which are quarter sawn and machined with a wide caulking seam and traditional beading on the underside. The new Douglas fir deck should be in place by the end of September.
Meanwhile, two greenheart supports are being fashioned to support Ilen’s huge bowsprit and the deckhouses have also been fixed to scalloped hardwood sills.