The Asgard, a restored gun-running boat from the Easter Rising era, will be on display at Collins Barracks, Dublin as part of a permanent exhibition.
The Kerryman reports on the importance of the relic being reintroduced to the public today. The Asgard, over 100 years old, has been restored after a team of experts from the National Museum of Ireland worked on the relic for the past five years.
The Asgard is most famously remembered for delivering German rifles to the Irish Volunteers in Howth in 1914, partly in response to the arming of the Ulster Volunteers earlier that year.
Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, is looking forward to the historical link being available for free to the public.
“Asgard links us directly to the tumultuous times, 100 years ago, when the futures of Ireland, the United Kingdom and Europe were about to change," said Minister Deenihan.
Indeed, the era of the Asgard was an important one in Irish history. The delivery of German rifles to the Irish Volunteers precedes the Easter Uprising by just two years.
The Asgard was crafted in 1905 by Colin Archer, one of Norway's most famous boat designers. The yacht was commissioned by writer Erskine Childers as a wedding gift for his wife Molly.
The Asgard would become a historical icon when on May 28 1914, writer and political activist Darrell Figgis and Childers negotiated a shipment of 1,500 rifles and 49,000 rounds of ammunition from arms firm Moritz Magnus Jr in Hamburg, Germany.
Less than two months later, on July 26th, the yacht, with Childers and his wife on board, carried a load of 900 rifles and 29,000 rounds of ammunition into Howth, with the yacht Kelpie taking the rest.
“The launch of this exhibition presents an opportunity to reflect on the complexities of the time and to remember Erskine Childers in the range of identities and roles: as a writer and sailor, as a soldier of the Empire who became an Irish Nationalist and as a Republican that could not be reconciled to the outcome of the struggle, even as a member of the treaty delegation,” said Minister Deenihan.
He added, “Restoring a yacht that is over a century old, in a way that is sensitive to the original materials and designs, is an undertaking on a different level again. The task is even more complicated when the vessel is cherished as an item of national heritage."
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