Famine Ship to Go on Display

By Frank Shouldice, Contributor
August September 2005

Replica famine ship Jeanie Johnston was bought by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority as a permanent attraction on the River Liffey. The replica, a tall ship modeled on the design of the original Jeanie Johnston, was built for $20 million, the cost of which was borne primarily by local authorities in Co. Kerry.

The original Jeanie Johnston sailed from Co. Kerry to the United States 150 years ago, at the height of the potato famine in Ireland. Two years ago the replica vessel made a transatlantic voyage to New York to commemorate that historic journey. It has since sailed around the Irish coast and made a visit to northern Spain before wintering in Dublin’s dockland.

Due to the high cost of maintaining the vessel, there were fears that nobody would take possession of the Jeanie Johnston. It had been owned currently by the Kerry Group plc, Shannon Development and Kerry County Council but attempts to find a buyer proved unsuccessful. Despite its historical significance the Irish State declined to purchase the craft as the state already has a sail training ship Asgard II.

The decision to purchase was warmly welcomed by enthusiasts everywhere. The Docklands Development Authority hopes to put the vessel on permanent display on the River Liffey in Dublin. ♦

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