The last surviving intact ship built at Liffey Dockyard in Dublin, has been saved from the scrapheap by a Dublin based consortium. The 150foot steel riveted ship; TSMV CillAirne was built in 1961 for Cork Harbour Commissioners as a passenger tender to service the great transatlantic passenger liners visiting Cobh. She brought dignitaries such as President Truman and comedians Laurel & Hardy ashore, not to mention countless emigrants out to sea, during the twilight days of the ocean liners. After the collapse of the transatlantic passenger trade she was presented to the National Maritime College of Ireland in Cork where she has been training merchant marine cadets since.
It was feared the ship would not find a home here in Ireland and may have been towed to Pakistan for breaking.
Dublin based investment company; Richmond Properties Ireland Ltd and Irish Ship & Barge Fabrication Co Ltd will restore and refit the vessel for her proposed use as a Restaurant, Cafe Bar, Art Gallery and Maritime museum. The 2.5 Million Euro investment should see the ship restored to her original 1960s condition. The ship is due to be sailed to her home port of Dublin where she will be moored in the Docklands area as a semi-permanently moored attraction. The investors are keen to explore the possibility of active charter work for her in Dublin Bay. Work begins immediately at Cork Dock, Rushbrook where the ship is presently lying in Dry Dock.
This marks an exciting turning point in the interaction between Irish urban dwellers and the sea. This is the first marine heritage preservation project of its kind in this country, highlighting a fresh interest in the preservation of Irelands sadly ignored maritime heritage. The ship has special significance to Dubliners as many of the Liffey Dockyard workers who built the ship are still active in the maritime sector today!