Arklow Maritime & Heritage Museum

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

The latest edition to our collection certainly fits into the “eye catching” category. This cabinet of seashells of various shapes and sizes were donated to the museum two weeks ago, and the fascination they have brought to kids has been evident since day one.

Amongst the conchs and molluscs, too, is a pufferfish, with its spikes blown out in all their menacing glory.

We thank Kenneth Leary for his extremely generous donation, and the pain-staking and loving care he took in developing the collection over his lifetime is clear.

We have been back open since June 30th, and are open from the regular opening hours of 10-5PM seven days a week. As per Covid-19 guidelines, there will be a one-way system in operation, pre-booking is encouraged and face-masks must be worn.

A new book has just been published callled Sailing Ships of Wexford 1840s-1940s' by Brian Cleare and Jack O'Leary. Anyone with an interest in Arklow's Maritime history would get a lot from this book as it has an extensive section on Arklow- owned vessels. The contents of the book inculde a lot of information and stories as well as photos of old schooners, brigs and brigantines. The book was officially launched in Wexford on thursday 12 December. There are two outlets in Arklow that are selling this book and that is here in the Maritime Museum and James Charlton's Beat That record and book shop in main street. It is 30 euro and for anyone who is a friend of the museum they get a 10% reduction and so would cost them 27 euro. This would be a suitable present for someone with Christmas on the horizon.

We here in the Maritime Museum have recently stocked up on RNLI calendars for the new year. Arklow lifeboat station has put together an impressive calandar for the year ahead.  They are priced at 5 euro and are widely available as well as here in the museum. All proceeds go to the local lifeboat station and so the crews and support members can keep up their vital work of saving lives at sea.

Over the last three months, this model of the Evelyn has been painstakingly restored by John Shelton. It was originally made by Captain Godkin of the Irish Lights as a wedding present for Miss Evelyn Tyrrell of Tinahask, Arklow on the occasion of her marriage to George Atkinson of Beresford Terrace, Arklow in 1907.

It was eventually presented to the museum for the first time in September 1981. Down through the years, however, it suffered from disrepair. Thankfully, John's expertise restored the model to exhibition standard, and it was re-presented to the museum on November 27th, 2019.

To maintain the integrity of the original, the sails-made from paper, are untouced except for some necessary patchwork on many of the clews which had broken off. Some of the original standing rigging still remains, and the paintwork is original. 

Considering the model is 112 years old at the time of print, its remarkable the job John has done to restore it to its glory, particularly given the delicate, and time-consuming, nature of the work involved. 

Sean Kavanagh has worked his magic again and has painted a second mural on the opposite wall just beside the stairs. It is of the Asgard II. 

A couple of new items related to the national sail training brigantine, Asgard II, now proudly adorn the wall next to the eye-catching model of the Arklow-built ship.

The upper photograph is a head-on view of her in full sail, and was donated by Vincent McCarthy, a former secretary of the committee of the museum. 

The lower framed photograph is of Asgard II passing Fastnet Rock. It was kindly donated by Mr.Barry Martin, ex-first bosun/mate of her, who was a recent visitor to the museum and a walking encyclopedia of everything related to Asgard II.

Also in the re-designated Asgard II section is a replica of the 26p stamp that was issued by An Post in 1982 to mark her launch, and a plaque donated to the museum by then President of Ireland Mary McAleese in 2011, some three years after she was tragically lost in the Bay Of Biscay.

Of course, it is but a small section of the memorablia we have on offer here. We are open seven days a week, from 10AM to 5PM. 


We said in our last post that we were in the process of brightening up our hallway and stairs. We also mentioned that the work had begun. The first phase is just about complete and Sean Kavanagh has done a wonderful job. The mural adorns the far wall of the hall downstairs next to the lift.

We here in the Arklow Maritime Museum are currently planning to revamp our entrance hall and stairway. Séan Kavanagh who is undertaking this work has constructed a mock up model of what we hope the museum will look like when it achieves its makeover. As we speak this endeavour has already begun. Who needs Dermot Bannon?


Arklow Shipping Ltd are set to construct a new head office on the Mill Road, North Quay Arklow. Permission has been granted to construct the three storey office building. Also an internal road network, 90 car parking spaces and 20 bicycle parking spaces has been applied for by RPS Group Ltd on behalf of Arklow Shipping. RPS Group said that the proposed project ‘represented an opportunity to kick start much needed and significant development of the North Quay of Arklow.’ Planning permission was granted to Mill Sea Ltd, a subsidiary of Arklow Shipping, in May 2018.   As of October 2018 the demolition has been carried out of the existing disused industrial buildings on the old Ergas site. This includes a gas bottle filling plant, warehouse, administration offices, site office and security office.

Today is National Services Day. A national thank you to the brave people who keep us safe every day. One of these services is the RNLI. Arklow has a special connection with the RNLI as it was home to the very first lifeboat station established in Ireland. The station first opened in 1826. Here in the Arklow Maritime Museum we have an area dedicated to the RNLI. We have many artefacts relating to the RNLI. One of these artefacts is relatively new to the collection. It is a painting by Margaret Kelly of the original Arklow lifeboat station, kindly donated by Margaret herself. 

We here at the Maritime Museum recently received a Wicklow People newspaper dated Saturday December 3rd 1898. This paper was kindly donated by Mary Whelan. One article in particular caught our eye. The headline reads "Fire in Kynochs". The article goes on to explain on Wednesday which would have been the 30th November a fire took place in a shed at the old Chemical Works that was occupied by Kynochs. Thankfully no one died or was injured in the fire. It was brought under control but not before the roof of the shed had fallen in. The damage done was estimated at £200 which in today's money is approximately €32,733.62. Thankfully the damage was covered by insurance.

Today marks the tenth anniversary of our move to our present location in the Bridgewater Shopping Centre. We have shared a couple of photos of the official opening on that historic night.

Pictured here are long-time curator of the museum Mark Synnott and his wife Breda unveiling the plaque.

We are thoroughly grateful to everyone who has visited over the last decade, and our visitor figures continue to grow year-on-year. Here's to the next ten years.




On Thursday, July 25th, David Grundy, his sister Suzanne and friend Michael Hughes travelled down from Lucan, Co.Dublin to donate some items connected to the Mary B. Mitchell on behalf of the Grundy/Fitzpatrick families.

They were a letter home written by his late uncle, Leo Fitzpatrick, who was on board the Mary B when she was in Arklow in 1941, and a accompanying photograph and cartoon depiction of Mr.Fitzpatrick.

Photographed here is David Grundy with our Chairman Capt. Danny O'Neill as he officially donated the items.

We always welcome new items to our collection, especially family heirlooms such as these that have a specific Arklow connection. We thank David and co. for their kind donation. 

It has been drawn to our attention that there are a few errors on our website for those who access it via a mobile device. From what we can gather, they aren't prominent on the desktop site.

Firstly, on the mobile platform, the opening hours of the museum are displayed as Tuesday-Saturday when in fact we are open seven days a week, from 10AM and 5PM, with after-hours bookings catered for aswell. 

Secondly, it advertises the admission fees as €2 for seniors and under-16s. That particular ticket actually costs €3. 

Finally, the email address on both platforms is That is our address and is no longer in use. Our new email is Please note we are uncontactable regarding enquiries on our old email.

We are endeavouring to address these minor details, and indeed to iron out any other mistakes that may be present on our website. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you spot anything else- we won't take offence!

On Friday, June 21st, at the Arklow Credit Union offices in Castlepark, Credit Union CEO Hugh O'Keeffe presented a cheque for €300 to Captain Danny O'Neill, Chairman of our committee.

In accepting the donation, Danny O'Neill said: "We have major plans for the museum in the near future, but we also need to keep up with best musuem practice. And part of this is to replace the old lighting system with more efficient, more eco-friendly lights".

"LED lights are not only much cheaper to run once installed", he said, "but they are also far better for the environment at large, and particularly in a museum where atmospheric conditions are all important in preserving the artefacts".

"This contribuion from Arklow Credit Union allows us to make a good start on replacing the old, unsuitable lighting system we have"

We have updated our Shipwrights tools display

Why not pop into the museum and view the the new display of tools used by ship and boat builders in years gone by.

Today is International Women’s Day and to mark it we here in the Arklow Maritime Museum would like to mention the most famous Arklow female mariner Kate Tyrrell. We have spoken about this remarkable woman many times before but today she garners a special mention. Inheriting a shipping company from her father, she captained the schooner Denbighshire Lass for over twenty years, and successfully fought rules forbidding women from having their name listed as the owner of a vessel. We have a whole corner with various items all relating to Kate in the museum. All of the items were donated by John Mahon. 


We have updated the Arklow Shipping Ltd. display at the museum with new information and photographs. Arklow Shipping Ltd. are making history on a daily basis and we are delighted to show visitors to the museum the history of Arklow's maritime affairs as well as modern history as it is being made. So why not drop in and see for yourself, we are open 7 days-a-week from 10.00am to 5.00pm daily.

2018 saw record numbers come visit us here at Arklow Maritime Museum, surpassing our previous record year of 2017. 

Pictured are the Arklow Sea Scouts, who booked a group tour before Christmas, and left with a wealth of knowledge after been ably educated by our staff members Jim Rees, Peter Kinsella, William Breslin and Brian Carty.

The Knocklyon Sea Scouts were another scouting group that came from further afield, while we also welcomed local organisations such as Glenart College and Sunbeam House Sevices among others.

A roll-call of some of the home countries of our international visitors last year include far away outposts such as South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and the US, and some of our European compatriots like France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. It really hammers home the fact that the maritime community is truly global.

What about the year ahead? Well, 2019 marks the tenth anniversary of our relaunch in the Bridegwater Shopping Centre, with the occasion been celebrated in August. The museum continues to grow exponentially and that growth will lead us into an exciting future, with attendance records set to be broken again. 

Many thanks to John Mahon of Oaklands for donating a set of signal flags and a fid to the museum. John presented the items to Captain Danny O'Neill on Friday the 14th July 2017.
The flags and fid donated were used on the Arklow schooner "Dembighsire Lass" which was owned by Johns grandmother Kate Tyrrell.
Several other items have been donated to the museum in recent weeks and will feature here when they are properly mounted and displayed,
Thanks to all. 

Sunday the 7th of May 2017 saw the 102nd year anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania. To mark the occasion, a memorial garden complete with a 20 metre bronze sculpture was unveiled at Old Head of Kinsale to honour the victims of one of the worst maritime disasters off the Irish coast.

It might surprise people to know that two Arklow boats and their crews were involved in the rescue of survivors from the torpedo attack which sank the Lusitania off Kinsale in 1915. Every year the Arklow fishing fleet could be found in west Cork for the mackerel season from March to the beginning of June.

On 7 May 1915, the Lusitaniawas on the last stretch of her voyage from New York when she was sunk by the German submarine U-20. Skippers James Hagan of the Dan O'Connell and Edward White of the Elizabethimmediately went to the aid of the men, women and children in the water. There is a display in the museum to commemorate their selfless, heroic acts.


Arklow Maritime Museum is happy to announce that it will be holding a photography competition in the museum on the 25th of March 2017

With over 2000 exhibits that include ships models, paintings and artifacts from Arklows past we'd love to invite any and all that would like to attend. Grab a camera, come down to the museum and take some photos and you could win a fabulous prize kindly donated by our sponsors and various businesses around the town.

There are three categories based on age, the kids (0-10 years old), teenagers (11-17 years old) and the adults (18 + years) so people of all ages are invited to attend and show off their photography skills.

Event Link

The Maritime Museum continues to grow and improve year after year, and we are delighted to announce that in 2017 we will be launching our monthly newsletter service.

This will allow supporters of the museum to stay up to date on all the big events we have planned for the future, recent success the museum has enjoyed and of course our famous maritime trivia and interesting anecdotes. We hope to give everyone a behind the scenes view of what goes on at the museum and give us a new way to connect with our community that has done so much to support us over the last forty years.

We do hope that this will be a welcome addition to your inbox and encourage you to subscribe here.

Today marked the unveiling of the latest Arklow historical information board, this time on the Tyrrell & Sons boatyard. Opened in 1864, the boatyard quickly gained an international reputation for building innovative vessels such as the Ovoca (the first motorised fishing boat in these islands), the hybrid schooners JT&S and Invermore , Gypsy Moth III (the winner of the first trans-Atlantic single-handed yacht race) and, of course, our sadly missed national sail training vessel Asgard II. 

The unveiling of the information board took place today at South Quay, Arklow. Present were representatives of the Arklow Maritime Museum, previous workers from the boatyard and members of the Tyrrell family.

This launch of the 'Spirit of Rathlin' and proves that Arklow's maritime heritage is not all in the past or confined to glass cases in our museum. Arklow Marine Services is run by the fourth and fifth generations of the Tyrrell boat building family. Arklow people are understandably very proud of their achievements. Well done to all concerned.

A visitor from Melbourne, Mark Canterbury, called into the museum on Friday morning, looking for information on his grandfather Pat Canterbury who left Arklow for Australia many decades ago. One of Mark's abiding memories of his grandfather was the pipe he smoked, complete with metal cap. The pipe vanished from the Melbourn home years ago. We showed Mark a similar one, typical of the kind used by Arklow fishermen, in one of the cases. It turned out to be Pat Canterbury's pipe!!

    Apparently, Pat's daughter Catherine visited the museum in 2001 and donated her father's pipe. Mark knew nothing of his aunt Catherine's donation and had assumed that it had simply been lost over the years. When we took the pipe from the case for Mark to handle, he could still get the smell of the smoke he remembered so well from his childhood.

    Just one of the magic moments that makes the work of Arklow Maritime Museum so important. Call in and see us at the Bridgewater Centre open seven days a week, 10-5.

One of the hundreds of sailing ships to ply her trade out of Arklow in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was the Denbighshire Lass. This schooner has two claims to fame. The first is the fact that she was owned by, and often skippered by, a woman - Kate Tyrrell. The second is, she is acknowledged as the first Irish vessel to fly the national flag in a British port, which she did in Swansea in 1921.

A painting of the Denbighshire Lass has just been presented to the Maritime Museum by Kate's grandson, John Mahon, who has told the story of this sailing ship and its remarkable owner in his book, Kate Tyrrell - lady mariner. 'When I was in Australia, I met Brian Harvey and his late wife Tara. Brian is an artist and he became fascinated by the story of Kate and her ship.' The vessel was once painted by the famous marine painter Reuben Chappell over a hundred years ago. Originally from London, Brian Harvey had a copy of Chappell's work sent to him, and using the precise detail for which Chappell is famous, Brian created a new work of art. 'This is not a copy of the original. It is a completely new image with just the rigging and other details taken from the Chappell painting. It is a brilliant work', said John. 'When Brian had it finished, he parcelled it up, supported it with pillows and other packing, and personally brought it over here to Arklow all the way from Perth.'

Arklow Maritime Museum has a national, and even international, reputation for the quality of its collections. 'We have visitors from all over the world coming to the museum and they are amazed that such a small town has such a collection', said museum chairman Danny O'Neill. 'This donation by John Mahon of the painting of his family's schooner is very much appreciated and fits in very well with our display about the Denbighshire Lass.' The new addition to the museum can be seen during normal opening hours, open seven days a week, 10-5. More information can be found on the museum's Facebook page. Their new website will be up and running shortly