Ilen: A community restoration and voyage of discovery

  • Illen Gallery space Hunt Museum
(Pic: Deirdre Power)

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.

The exhibition, Ilen: A community restoration and voyage of discovery, draws 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, 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”.

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 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.

Exhibition is open to the public from 14th September to 11th November, 2018. Monday to Saturday 10am - 5pm, Sunday 2 - 5pm and 10am - 8pm on Thursday. For Further information: Naomi O’Nolan, Head of Collections and Exhibitions, The Hunt Museum, Limerick.

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