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Old English ferry gets more than a facelift for pleasure boat role in Ireland

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The completed 'Barrow Princess' on the Quays ready for launch. Boats and their on-board equipment and systems may need repair or modernisation at some point in their lifetime.  Obviously much of this is due to general wear and tear, engine failure or other mechanical issues.  But boats have to deal with the additional challenges of salt water corrosion and storm damage.  Isles of Scilly Penzance ferry  Voyager of St Martin’s before it's make over Arklow Marine Services in Wicklow, with a long history of refitting vessels, were recently engaged to apply their skills and experience to a boat with an interesting back story.   This vessel  had originally plied the waters in the far south west of the Britain as a ferry between the Isles of Scilly and Penzance and Cornwall.  It was built by Toms Boatyard in Polruan in Cornwall 25 years ago and launched as the ‘Voyager of St Martin’s’ The boat at Kilmore Quay, Co. Waterford A buyer from Kilmore Quay, Co. Waterford acquired the ves

Harking back to the glory days of aviation the Aer Lingus ‘Iolar (‘IOLAR’) is a flying beauty

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Aer Lingus ‘Iolar’ (Eagle) De Havilland DH84 Dragon  The De Havilland DH84 Dragon aircraft was a twin-engined, six passenger biplane designed to fulfill the requirements of Edward Hillman, an Essex, England bus and coach operator who broke into the air-charter business in 1931. This aircraft was built by De Havilland at Hatfield in early 1936 and its first flight was performed by Geoffrey de Havilland himself. Its Certificate of Airworthiness was issued on 18 April 1936, registered in the UK. It was powered by two 130hp De Havilland 'Gipsy Major' engines. Whilst on the ground and during certain maintenance operations, the wings could be folded back allowing for easy accommodation within relatively small hangars.  Majority of De Havilland DH84 Dragon were built in the UK A majority of Dragons were built in the UK yet some were built in Australia for the military there and in New Zealand. Sixty-two Dragon 1s were built, prior to the introduction of the Dragon 2, which featured fa

The first gyrocopter to fly around the world piloted by an Antrim man

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Norman Surplus & gyrocopter fly near Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia The first rotary winged aircraft (called an Autogyro, Gyroplane or a Gyrocopter) flew in 1923, only 20 years after the Wright Brothers first took to the air.  In the intervening 96 years until 2019, the Autogyro remained the last fundamental Aircraft type to have never completed a flight around the world. The first rotary winged aircraft (called an Autogyro, Gyroplane or a Gyrocopter) flew in 1923 Norman Surplus of Larne, Co Antrim originally took up that challenge in 2010 in an open cockpit version of the machine.  Starting in his home town he headed east across Europe, the Middle East, Indian Sub-continent and SE Asia crossing 18 countries (the final count was 32 countries after completing the full, unbroken, circumnavigation in 2019).  Unfortunately Norman got stuck in Japan as the Russian authorities would not allow his unusual aircraft into their airspace. Norman began his adventure after recovering f

1st motorised fishing boat in the British Isles designed & built in Ireland 1908

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In 1905 John Tyrrell and Sons, Arklow, Co. Wicklow designed and built a model for a motorised fishing boat which was in contrast to the dominance of steam driven vessels.  In 1907 the Department of Agriculture had this experimental boat built to this design and it was named Ovoca.  This was the first fishing vessel specially designed to be motorized in the British Isles and created a new class of boat a Motor Fishing Vessel (MFV). 25 HP Danish ‘Dan’ engine of the hot-bulb type similar to one installed in the Ovoca This vessel was 50 ft. (15.2 m.) overall length, 14 ft. (4.3 m.) beam and 6 ft. (1.8 m.) draft.  It was powered by a 25 HP Danish ‘Dan’ engine of the hot-bulb type, having two cylinders and a controllable pitch propeller.  The winch was belt-driven by the main engine.  A version of the cruiser stern was adopted and was a considerable departure from the sailing type of the time, being much more suitable for power propulsion. The Ovoca at Balbriggan Harbour, Co. Dublin Original

How 19th century paddle steamers transformed economic & social life on the Shannon estuary

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A 19th century paddle steamer passes Foynes Island in the Shannon Estuary Paddle steamers were in operation before the railways and were the fastest mode of transport along wider water ways, estuaries and rivers.  Their hulls were built of wood and they were driven by paddle wheels housed in paddle boxes amidships.  Their steam engines used trapped steam to move pistons which drove shafts which in turn turned the paddles.  Single expansion engines were commonly used in paddle steamers.  They used steam expanded through only one stage causing all cylinders to operate at the same pressure.  The engines were also located amidships and sails continued to be carried as back up power. Technical detail of a typical paddle steamer Early steam-driven ships brought the first reliable transport system to the Lower Shannon.  A typical boat of the time was one built in 1816 by Scotts at Greenock, Scotland.  It’s length 77 ft. 7 in / 23.46 metres, with a beam of 15 ft. 3 in / 4.572 metres and a dept

Revolutionary Steam Turbine Sloop Gate-crashing the Queens Naval Review

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Steam-turbine powered sloop Turbinia with Charles Parsons at the Crows Nest Sometimes you have to be audacious to show the world your new invention. And this is what Anglo-Irishman Charles Parsons from Birr Castle Co Offaly did when on June 26 1897 he gatecrashed the Queen's diamond jubilee fleet review at Spithead on England’s south coast, being held there for royalty and the Lords of the Admiralty.  Turbinia gatecrashing the Queens Naval Review With Captain Christopher Leyland at the helm and Charles Parsons clinging to the Crows Nest the steam-turbine powered sloop Turbinia ran up a red pennant and burst into the four lines of over 165 Navy vessels steaming past for review. Leyland and Parsons zoomed in an out of the lined up naval vessels at over 30 knots and showed off madly for the crowds while easily evading navy boats sent out to catch her. Charles Algernon Parsons  (1854 - 1931) Birr Castle Co Offaly Anglo-Irish Charles Algernon Parsons, was a gifted mathematician and engi

Rare Vauxhall Wyvern hearse restored to previous glory after 44 years in storage

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Rare Vauxhall Wyvern hearse restored to previous glory The Vauxhall Wyvern is a medium-sized family car introduced by Vauxhall in 1948 as a successor to the Vauxhall 12.  The name comes from the mythical beast the Wyvern, and may be due to a misidentification of the heraldic griffin on the Vauxhall badge.  In August 1951 a completely new Wyvern was launched, featuring: 4 door saloon 4 cylinder 1.5 litre 45 bhp Top speed 72 mph 33-35 m.p.g. McCairns Motors - Vauxhall / Bedford assembler and distributor in Ireland in the ‘50s McCairns Motors who were Vauxhall / Bedford assembler and distributor in Ireland in the ‘50s. McCairns sold many large British cars including the Wyvern and Velux and General Motors, owner of Vauxhall, vehicles such as the Chevrolet Bel-Air.  The high running and maintenance costs of these cars resulted in many being converted into hearses.  In 1953 this Vauxhall Wyvern hearse was bought by Ryan's Funeral Directors in Ballylanders, Co. Limerick.   The coachwork