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Calls to save Claddagh boat

Wednesday, 5th July, 2017 11:16am

The Claddagh culture ship could be demolished, unless someone is willing to adopt and restore it.

The Bonny Roy, which has been permanently based at the Claddagh Quay for the last 12 years, was damaged during bad weather in February of this year.

Owner Sean T O Sallaigh is putting a call out to people to see if someone can be found to restore the boat.

It’s estimated the boat could cost up to €30,000 to restore – money Mr O Sallaigh doesn’t have.

Mr O Sallaigh said he would hate to see the beloved boat demolished and is putting a call out in an attempt to find someone who may want to restore it.

“We did our best with it but it would cost too much for me to restore it,” he explained.

“The interest in it is unbelievable and there’s a lot of people that don’t want to see it ended, including myself.”

The Bonny Roy was built from oak in 1945 by renowned Arklow-based boat builder Jack Tyrrell and is considered to be one of his “masterstrokes” according to Mr O Sallaigh.

“There’s a replica of it in a maritime museum in the Isle of Man and it has a lot of history and heritage to it,” he added.

The boat has become a firm favourite with locals and tourists alike, and is regularly involved in cultural events around Galway. Last Halloween the boat was transformed into the Galway Bay Ghost Ship and brave trick-or-treaters were invited to have their imagination ignited by the haunted fishing trawler on the scariest night of the year.The boat was also involved in Culture Night. Mr O Sallaigh said he is anxious to find someone to take the boat.

“I’ll have to do something soon because it’s rotting away in the Claddagh. It looks great there but I think the community would probably start to get worried that it might become something that’s just dumped there and left for them to deal with.

“The locals are trying to rescue it and I keep saying to them we can’t delay on it anymore. We’ve delayed since February and every month we delay the boat decays more and it could become dangerous and if it becomes dangerous I feel responsible and I need to do something.”

Finding someone to restore the boat is the preferred option, however Mr O Sallaigh said he has also been approached by Micheal Kearney from Castle Ellen in Athenry who has volunteered to take it up to the castle and hold it in one of the sheds as a museum piece.

Mr O Sallaigh said he is grateful for this but ideally would like to see the boat restored.

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