I grew up hearing stories about the Asgard - MEP Nessa

By Fiona Dillon

Independent MEP Nessa Childers has grown up hearing about the Asgard.

The yacht was a wedding present for her grandparents, Erskine and Molly Childers, from Molly's parents in Boston.

Nessa, who will be joining the centenary commemoration in Howth on Sunday, said that she was aware of the episode from a young age.

"The fate of the boat was very important to my family and to my father in particular," she said.

"The boat started off as wedding present, and was designed with Molly's disability in mind. She was injured as a child and was partly paralysed for many years. She walked with a stick."


Nessa told the Herald that the history of the Asgard is something she would have first heard when she was very young.

Her grandmother died when she was seven, but Nessa would have known about the story.

"Probably at some level, it would have influenced me, not directly, but that type of willingness to take risks and speak out would possibly have come from that part of my history," she said.

Nessa said that Molly was "a very unusual woman of her generation", as were some of the others on the boat, like Mary Spring Rice.

"They wouldn't have followed the traditional role of women that would have been carved out for them," she said.

"My grandmother was a good writer as well, a good raconteur too."

Nessa was at the National Museum of Ireland when they opened their exhibition about the Asgard in 2012.

"It's a splendid exhibition. The boat has been restored lovingly by experts and it's just wonderful.

"It's quite moving for me. It's part of my family and it's like as if things have gone full circle in many ways.

"Quite a number of my family are coming over this week and that's important as well," she added.

Nessa added she is happy that the commemoration is taking place in Howth this Sunday.

"It's an important event in Irish history. There is no question about that," she added.