Historic Limerick trading ship is London bound 

The Ilen under sail

THE last timber-built, sail trading ship in Ireland, the Ilen, will set off from Limerick next month for London.

With fair winds, the Ilen should arrive at St Katherine Docks, having passed between the double-leaf bascules of Tower Bridge, at the beginning of May. It will remain berthed at the Docks until May 14.

The purpose of the voyage is to celebrate the centuries-old cultural and trading relationship between the two port cities.

It will be the culmination of a series of voyages undertaken by the Ilen in 2021 to many of the Irish towns and cities that have grown from medieval walled settlements built on tidal river estuaries.

Since its re-construction and launch in 2018, the Ilen has become a much-voyaged national icon of Ireland’s sea-going history.

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It is both a mobile ’embassy’ of Irish maritime heritage and a practical, real world’ context for teaching traditional shipwright, rigging, and seamanship skills.

The Ilen has voyaged 8,000 miles in the last three years – across the North Atlantic to Greenland and between most of Ireland’s more significant ports.

The Ilen will also be inviting groups from Limerick and London to share in its latest venture.