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Arklow Maritime & Heritage Museum Boat Building

'Centuries of Sea-faring Heritage - A Story Worth Telling'

Arklow Maritime
& Heritage
Museum Boat Building

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Boatbuilding


    Boatbuilding has been part of Arklow for centuries. At the beginning of the 1800s, most of this work was carried out on the north side of the river at a location known as the Back Guts or Back Cuts, now Arklow Marina. In the mid-19th century, there were not enough shipwrights to meet the demand. The names Tracey and Canterbury stand out, but the family which was to become inextricably associated with this enterprise was the Tyrrell family. In 1864, the industry entered a new stage when John Tyrrell opened his new boatyard on the south side. By the time the company ceased production exactly 130 years later, Tyrrell's of Arklow had established an international reputation for innovative design and first class craftsmanship. A fourth generation continues this tradition today as Arklow Marine Services.

Arklows place in history

    The first motorised fishing boat in Ireland or Britain, the OVOCA, was designed and built here in 1908. This brought increased business, but just six years later, in 1914, the company experienced a major setback when fire caused such serious damage that it looked as if Tyrrell's boatyard had come to an end, but in just six weeks, they were back up and running, In fact, it was the beginning of a new era.

    Tyrrell's went on to design and build what have been described as the only true attempt to bridge the technological gap between sailing vessels and full-powered motor coasters: the JT&S (short for John Tyrrell & Sons) in 1919 and the INVERMORE two years later. They built dinghies, yawls, tenders and yachts. The most famous of the latter was GYPSY MOTH III in which Francis Chichester won the first solo trans-Atlantic yacht race in 1960.

Boatbuilding


    Boatbuilding has been part of Arklow for centuries. At the beginning of the 1800s, most of this work was carried out on the north side of the river at a location known as the Back Guts or Back Cuts, now Arklow Marina. In the mid-19th century, there were not enough shipwrights to meet the demand. The names Tracey and Canterbury stand out, but the family which was to become inextricably associated with this enterprise was the Tyrrell family. In 1864, the industry entered a new stage when John Tyrrell opened his new boatyard on the south side. By the time the company ceased production exactly 130 years later, Tyrrell's of Arklow had established an international reputation for innovative design and first class craftsmanship. A fourth generation continues this tradition today as Arklow Marine Services.

    The first motorised fishing boat in Ireland or Britain, the OVOCA, was designed and built here in 1908. This brought increased business, but just six years later, in 1914, the company experienced a major setback when fire caused such serious damage that it looked as if Tyrrell's boatyard had come to an end, but in just six weeks, they were back up and running, In fact, it was the beginning of a new era.

    Tyrrell's went on to design and build what have been described as the only true attempt to bridge the technological gap between sailing vessels and full-powered motor coasters: the JT&S (short for John Tyrrell & Sons) in 1919 and the INVERMORE two years later. They built dinghies, yawls, tenders and yachts. The most famous of the latter was GYPSY MOTH III in which Francis Chichester won the first solo trans-Atlantic yacht race in 1960, pictured below.

Generations of skill


    Jack Tyrrell, designer and builder of Asgard II, with shipwright Brendan Tracey. ASGARD II is seen here under construction, with the maker's model in the foreground. The model is now on permanent display in Arklow Maritime Museum.

    Today, Tyrrell-built boats are still produced in Arklow by the fourth generation of the family under the company name Arklow Marine Services Ltd, on North Quay, a stone's throw from where early 19th century Arklow boats were built.


    Jack Tyrrell, designer and builder of Asgard II, with shipwright Brendan Tracey. ASGARD II is seen here under construction, with the maker's model in the foreground. The model is now on permanent display in Arklow Maritime Museum.

    Today, Tyrrell-built boats are still produced in Arklow by the fourth generation of the family under the company name Arklow Marine Services Ltd, on North Quay, a stone's throw from where early 19th century Arklow boats were built.

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