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Dunbrody ship to remain in dry dock for weeks as repairs continue

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The Dunbrody ship along the quay in New Ross

The Dunbrody ship along the quay in New Ross

The Dunbrody ship along the quay in New Ross

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Repairs to the Dunbrody Famine ship are taking longer than expected, meaning it will be at least late July before it is back moored outside the visitor centre.

It was early March when the vessel was tugged across the Barrow to New Ross Boat Yard to go into dry dock, set to return in late May or early June.

Dunbrody Experience Visitor Centre CEO Sean Connick said works have gone a little slower than expected. 'It will be late July but she will look fabulous.'

Serious structural issues in the vessel were exposed in November when its foremast snapped in two in November, prompting a section of the boardwalk to be sealed off. This highlighted the urgent need for repairs for the 176ft, 20-year-old vessel, which attracts around 65,000 visits annually.

€700,000 was set aside for the repair works.

'The funding is to convert her from sailing into exhibition mode,' Mr Connick said. A schedule of works was drawn up and boat yard staff have been prioritising which works are carried out to ensure they remain within the allocated €700,000 budget.

Mr Connick said he is hopeful that the Famine ship tour guides can return to work on the boat as soon as it returns and is reopened.

He said bookings are very slow this year as international tour groups have not yet made a call on travelling to Ireland due to uncertainty about international travel, while domestic tourists are more likely to book last minute. 'We are doing our best here in terms of outdoor dining. We are hopeful to have the ship back in July and we'll go straight to tours. We'll be looking at different ways to make money. It's all hard on the staff and management and it's a really difficult time for the sector.'

He paid tribute to his staff, adding that 2022 will be a year for recovery at the attraction.


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