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Dawn departure for Dunbrody to get €700,000 dry dock makeover

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The Dunbrody replica famine ship being pulled to New Ross Boat Yard. Photo: Mary Browne

The Dunbrody replica famine ship being pulled to New Ross Boat Yard. Photo: Mary Browne

The Dunbrody replica famine ship being pulled to New Ross Boat Yard. Photo: Mary Browne

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Shortly after dawn on Monday the Dunbrody Famine Ship was brought by tug across the Barrow to New Ross Boat Yard to go into dry dock for three months, during which time she will have extensive works carried out.

Work began on removing the vessel and the gangways from 5 a.m.

A crane was used to lift the gangway onto a truck and to disengage the rollers from the piles, prior to a tug bringing her safely across the river on a high tide, where she slipped into dry dock at 8 a.m.

Preparatory work was carried out over the previous fortnight.

Dunbrody Experience Visitor Centre CEO Sean Connick thanked local boat owners and New Ross Boat Yard staff for their work, along with Tom Byrne and John Dimond.

'The funding is to convert her from sailing into exhibition mode,' Mr Connick said. A schedule of works has been drawn up and boat yard staff will be prioritising which works are carried out to ensure they remain within the allocated €700,000 budget from €5.5m in Rural Regeneration Developing funding announced by Minister Michael Ring in 2018. The funding was also for the development of the Michael Murphy building into a visitor centre and works at the Dunbrody centre and the development of a medieval park on the Hill High.

The boat was due to go into dry dock last October, but this process - overseen by Wexford County Council - was delayed. Mr Connick said due to Covid-19 restrictions it is not an issue as people will not get to board the revamped vessel until June or July, in all likelihood.

The foremast of the vessel snapped in two in November, prompting a section of the boardwalk to be sealed off, highlighting the urgent need for repairs for the 176ft, 20-year-old vessel, which attracts around 65,000 visits annually.

Mr Connick said people can look forward to seeing new masts and for everything to be back in situ in May.

'Professionals will be dealing with it. We hope she will be back in very good order and we're all looking forward to seeing her on the quay again.'


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