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  Christmas Greetings from An Cailin Oir to all our friends, customers and supporters.

Christmas Greeting from An Cailín Óir The Cailín Óir Team, Skippers and crew alike wish to thank all our local friends, supporters and customers and to wish them the compliments of the season. Given the current climate we have decided not to send out Christmas cards this year and have instead donated an equivalent sum to a superb and eminently suitable local project, the rebuilding of the historic Ilen, currently underway in Hegarty’s Boatyard in Oldcourt.. The Ilen was built in Baltimore in 1926 under a commission from the Falkland Islands Company and was delivered by sail by the famous Conor O’Brien with a crew of Din and Con Cadogan, both from Cape Clear arriving in Port Stanley in 1927. Conor O’Brien was the first person to circumnavigate the globe under the Irish flag in 1923-25 in his own boat, Saoirse, also built in Baltimore. He used his pervious boat, the Kelpie, to run guns in tandem with the Asgard, but wisely landed his cargo quietly and without incident in Co Wicklow. After 70 years of toil the Ilen was rescued and brought back to Ireland by Gary Mc Mahon of Limerick and was later sailed from Dublin to West Cork by the seafaring adventurer Paddy Barry with a volunteer crew. There were warmly greeted on arrival in various local ports including Baltimore and Oileán Chléire where a plaque was unveiled close to the Pier and local schoolchildren and students welcomed performed a special rendition of ‘Trasna na dTonnta’, which, was reported to have brought a tear to Paddy Barry’s eye. The well loved Pierce Hickey, of Skibbereen, who sadly passed away, earlier this year was also on hand to provide a musical tribute and to record the day in photo. The Ilen subsequently lay unused for some years in plain sight of the main Skibbereen-Baltimore road until arrangements were recently put in hand for its rebuild. This is a work in progress, requiring ongoing support both in funding and voluntary labour and readers are recommended to the website We thank all those involved in this wonderful project and look forward to see the Ilen once again ‘trasna na dtonnta’

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