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Ilen Project Exhibition Ilen Project Exhibition


Ilen Project exhibition- A community restoration and voyage of discovery

Ilen Project exhibition – The central theme of the project focuses on the ten years work of this local community educational boat building project on the sailing ship Ilen, which returns beautifully rebuilt to Limerick this year, after an absence of 93 years. Picture: Deirdre Power.

Ilen Project exhibition – A community restoration and voyage of discovery

A community restoration and voyage of discovery draw upon Limerick’s cultural and historical elements and rich maritime history which uniquely converge at Limerick’s Custom House building – today’s home to the Hunt Museum. Many of the maritime traditions of Limerick which this exhibition seeks to explore, through the work of the Ilen Project exhibition, are shared universally.

The central theme focuses on the ten years work of this local community educational boat building project on the sailing ship Ilen, which returns beautifully rebuilt to Limerick this year, after an absence of 93 years. 


Gary MacMahon, Director of the Ilen Project says: “The Ilen, at once reinforces and excavates local cultural identity, while dissolving barriers to positive and inter-cultural connectivity”  

The Ilen’s ribs of oak were cracked and decayed with age. They have been renewed with strong grown oak and covered with planks of flexible larch.  This work has been done by the children of Limerick, young and old.  

Ilen Project exhibition

The boat on view in the Exhibition Gallery of the Hunt Museum in Limerick City. Picture: Deirdre Power.

On view in the exhibition gallery will be colourfully styled and illustrated panels of a hero’s journey and return. Telling the story of the Ilen, the exhibition will explore maritime history, boat building, and community enterprise. This is a community educational project gives a strong feeling of belonging, loyalty and commitment through direct engagement.

Integral to the exhibition’s design is the opportunity for hands-on engagement.  It is a child-friendly interactive experience, teaching many skills including knot tying, and sailing terms for Ilen’s hull and rig. The exhibition is supported by workshops and educational activities for schools and a programme of talks and lectures. 

With humour, illustration and tradition, this exhibition will afford the young and not so young among us, a convivial opportunity to part take in a renewed awareness of Limerick’s relationship with the world, through the inimitable ways of river, sea and ocean. 

ILEN is a school and a network, based in Limerick with a national and international theatre of operations. In October 2018 Ilen, Ireland’s sole surviving wooden sailing ship will sail up the Shannon Estuary to her new home, the port of Limerick. Through a community process over the past ten years, coordinated by the Ilen Project Limerick, national and international craftsmen rebuilt the Ilen to very high building and technological standard.  Ilen will take up a marine educational role out from her new homeport of Limerick City this year.

The exhibition is open to the public from September 14 – November 11, 2018. Mon-Sat 10am – 5pm: Sun 2- 5pm and 10am – 8pm on Thursday. 

For Further information contact Naomi O’Nolan, Head of Collections and Exhibitions, The Hunt Museum, Limerick.  Tel. 061 490082 email: [email protected].


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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.