Marine Content

Our maritime heritage has cultural, physical and ecological dimensions. It embraces the legacies of past generations their traditions and natural features of both coastal and offshore environments.

Heritage and Traditional Boats

The Heritage Council has been active in the sphere of heritage and traditional boats since 2003. For example, in 2010 the Council funded the second phase of the audit of boats in Galway County, a survey of curraghs along the west coast of Ireland, a cot building project in Wexford, and a series of workshops on AK Ilen in Skibbereen. For more information on these projects, please visit the Grants section of this website.

The History of the Initiative

In late 2003, the Heritage Council commissioned a scoping study of the heritage boat sector. Carried out by Reggie Goodbody, his recommendations were circulated in a discussion document in 2004.

Following further consultation with people working in the area, a seminar was held in November 2004. Entitled Irish Boating Heritage – the Future?, it was attended by 90 people from all over the country, representing inland and sea-going vessels. The seminar consisted of presentations by Jim Horgan, Donal McPolin and John Kearon, with workshop sessions which gathered views on the main issues facing the sector.

Visit our publications section to download the proceedings of the seminar.

Major initiatives such as these discovered huge gaps in the documentation of maritime and inland waterways collections. In July 2005, the Heritage Council commissioned Darina Tully to carry out an audit of such collections. The audit was primarily concerned with three-dimensional objects, sea-going and inland boats, and ancillary objects associated with boat-based activities such as navigational technology and fishing. Collections of naval and merchant marine memorabilia and collections of wreck artefacts were also considered.

Visit our publications section to download the audit.

With the audit completed and its results published, a seminar was held in October 2006 to discuss the findings. Presentations concentrated on marine and inland collections and their care, and were made on Greencastle Museum, Waterford Treasures, Irish Naval Collections and the collections held by the National Museums. Conservation projects included the Davin boat, the Peggy Bawn, as well as the Chang-Sha and the Thomas McDonagh.

Visit our publications section to downlaod the proceedings of this seminar.

In 2007, the Heritage Council set up a working group on Maritime and Inland Waterways Collections which advised on how best to proceed with the recommendations of an Audit of Maritime Collections, published in 2006. The working group comprised of members of the Marine and Inland Waterways committees, the National Museum of Ireland, and various heritage boat experts from around the country.

Following on the work of this group, a report on the potential and scope of a ‘Boats at Risk’ grant scheme examined the implications of providing financial assistance for the repair and upkeep of heritage boats. While it is beyond the resources of the Heritage Council to provide such as scheme at present, the findings of this report will be used in the current Heritage Council grant schemes.