Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has appealed to both the government and Wicklow County Council to act immediately to purchase the iconic three-masted auxiliary schooner, DE WADDEN. The vessel is a symbol of the long history of the sea trade between Ireland and Liverpool. It is also the last trading ship to visit the port. She is one of only three surviving Irish Sea schooners and the only surviving steel auxiliary schooner. DE WADDEN has close and historical links to Arklow and would make an exceptional addition to the Maritime Museum in the town. It has huge tourist potential. DE WADDEN has also featured in a number of films and was used in the production of the famous BBC series ‘The Onedin Line’.
DE WADDEN operated out of Arklow under the ownership of Richard Hall, who purchased it in 1922 and remained in the Arklow fleet of merchant sail vessels until 1961 when it ceased trading. DE WADDEN is held currently in dry dock in Liverpool under National Museums Liverpool, which recently announced its intention to commence to deconstruct the famous and historic vessel unless a viable alternative solution is brought forward before a deadline on Monday 6 February.
“I have written to the Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, Brian Gleeson, and the Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue asking that they make every effort to ensure that DE WADDEN is purchased for the people of Arklow.
Failure to act will mean this famous and historic connection to Arklow, and Ireland’s maritime history will be lost forever, following the announcement by National Museums Liverpool that they intend to deconstruct the vessel if no alternatives can be found before a 6 February deadline.
For the authorities in Ireland to allow this to happen would constitute an act of historical vandalism.
It is an iconic example of maritime history which has featured in a number of Movie and TV productions. Many members of the public will remember the BBC series ‘The Onedin Line’.
DE WADDEN was the last merchant schooner to trade in the Irish Sea. Only three Irish Sea merchant schooners have survived into the 21st century, each the only representative of their particular type; the Kathleen and May, a traditional wooden topsail schooner; the Result, a steel hulled schooner representing the move from wood to metal hulls and the DE WADDEN, a steel auxiliary schooner, representing the transition from sail to mechanical propulsion. All three are unique and on the Historic Ship List.
DE WADDEN’s association with Arklow would make it a great addition to the Arklow Maritime Museum’. It is a symbolic representation of the historical sea trading connections between Ireland and Liverpool.
And while there would be costs involved in bringing the vessel back to sea-worthy status, the value it would add to the town of Arklow and to rich maritime history of the southeast would more than compensate for this.”
Pic. National Museums Liverpool