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Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Dominic Daly via Dominic J Daly.
Sale the seas

After 36 years of service the LÉ Aisling has gone up for sale

The vessel has a long and distinguished service record.

FORMER IRISH NAVY vessel the LÉ Aisling has gone up for sale.

The ship – which first entered service in 1980 – served for a total of 36 years before it was decommissioned last June.

It will be sold at a public auction held at the Carrigaline Court Hotel in Cork on Thursday, 23 March.

The vessel is being auctioned by Dominic Daly auctioneers, who will manage the bidding and attempt to secure the best price for it for the Department of Defence.

Aisling’s former sister ship, the LÉ Emer was sold off to Nigeria in 2013, for the “bargain price” €320,000. It began its second life as Nigerian training ship the NNS Prosperity in 2015.


The LÉ Aisling was named so after the poem Aisling by Patrick Kavanagh to commemorate the centenary of the birth of the poet.

It was involved in a number of high-profile incidents during its years in service.

The ship was involved in the apprehension of the IRA gun-running ship the Marita Ann in 1984.

Aisling – along with sister ships the LÉ Emer and the LÉ Deirdre – apprehended the Marita Ann after it received a consignment of guns and ammunition from a ship that had come from the United States.

They shadowed the IRA ship off the coast of Dingle before moving in to apprehend it once the ammunition had been taken onboard.

The Marita Ann initially ignored all warnings, and the LÉ Aisling fired off a number of tracer rounds before the ship finally stopped.

Five men were found onboard and arrested – including future Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris.

The ship was also one of the first to arrive at the scene after the Air India plane was destroyed by a bomb in 1985.

A total of 329 people were killed in that incident.

Speaking as the ship was decommissioned last year, its captain Lieutenant Commander Patrick Doherty said it had had a distinguished service.

Read: Looking for a job? The Defence Forces are recruiting 860 personnel

Read: ‘They’re going to make that journey anyway – the question is can you sit back and watch people lose their lives?’

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