Asgard restored for new exhibition

The original historic gun-running vessel, Asgard, has been restored for a new exhibition.

The original historic gun-running vessel, Asgard, has been restored for a new exhibition.

Work on the yacht, one of the most iconic items of Irish history, has been completed four years before the centenary of its 1914 Howth gun-running mission.

The vessel – later used as Ireland’s first national training ship – was key in providing arms to Irish Volunteers fighting for independence from British rule.

The permanent exhibition, Asgard: The 1914 Howth Gun-running Vessel Conserved, opens at The National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, next Thursday.

Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan said the restoration of Erskine Childers’ historic yacht is an important contribution to the commemorative programme marking the centenary of the years that shaped modern Ireland.

He said: “I would encourage everyone to come and see Asgard and the associated exhibition that tells her story and acknowledges the achievement of Erskine and Molly Childers and the other crew members who brought a shipment of arms for the Irish Volunteers to Howth in May, 1914.”

The Asgard was build in 1905 by Colin Archer, the great Norwegian naval architect, for Childers and his wife Molly.

The writer and republican – whose son Erskine became the fourth president of Ireland – lent his yacht to the cause and it carried 900 rifles and 29,000 rounds of German ammunition to Howth, north Dublin.

The major programme of conservation of Asgard took almost five years and was led by Master Shipwright and Ship Conservator John Kearon.

Sandra Heise, curator of the exhibition, said artefacts from the museum’s collections support its story – from her commissioning as a wedding gift for the Childers, to her role in the Howth gun-running, her eventual use as Ireland’s first national sail-training vessel and finally the major conservation project.

Its replica, the training ship Asgard II, sank off France on September 11, 2008.

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