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Not happening: This floating hostel/restaurant/micro-brewery won't be heading for Galway after all

But it could become a Dublin landmark…

naomh The planned revamp of the Naomh Éanna Source: Irish Ship & Barge Fabrication Company

THE TEAM HOPING to restore and relaunch heritage vessel the Naomh Éanna as an 82 bed boutique hostel and restaurant in Galway has admitted defeat in its efforts.

It’s the latest development in the long-running campaign to save the ship from the scrapyard.

Businessman Sam Field Corbett, whose company also restored Dublin landmark the Cill Áirne, has been attempting to put together a plan to save the ship since then-arts & heritage minister Jimmy Deenihan announced a temporary stay-of-execution for it in February of last year.

Once used to carry passengers and supplies between Galway and the Aran Islands, the Dublin-built ferry has been berthed in the city’s Grand Canal Dock since 1989. After falling into disrepair, she had been due to be scrapped by Waterways Ireland, when safety concerns were raised in a hull inspection.

Campaign group the Naomh Éanna Trust was set up to try and restore the ship back in 2005.

And last March, after the Minister’s reprieve, Field Corbett – in cooperation with the campaigners – said he was ready to move ahead with a planned €1.86 million restoration. The former ferry would be revamped, and sailed to its new home in the West, it was planned.

n3 The Naomh Éanna, pictured last year. Source: Naomh Éanna Trust

The rocky road to Galway

The following few months, however, showed the effort would be far from plain sailing (click here for the low-down on all the twists and turns) and Field Corbett conceded this week that the plan couldn’t go ahead in its current form.

“I have worked hard to make the project as appetising to investors as possible and the support of Galway Port Company cannot go unrecognised,” he said in an email.

“I have approached any well heeled business person with even the smallest attachment to Galway not to mention the limited number of local operators with the required resources.

My company even put our fleet of 13 boats up to the banks to raise the €890k to get the project over the line.

“Unfortunately, I must now accept I have been unsuccessful in raising finance to bring the ship home. It is a great disappointment as I am convinced she would be a huge attraction in Galway.”

However, he’s raised the prospect that the restored ship could instead be placed along the quays of the Liffey in Dublin – close to the Cill Áirne (aka ‘The Boat’) and famine ship/museum the Jeanie Johnston.

jean Source: jeaniejohnston.ie

Meetings with Dublin City Council and Dublin Port are being planned, to discuss the idea. Moving the attraction to Dublin, with its greater pool of potential investors “is more likely to yield a result,” he said.

Last year: Progress at last in battle to save heritage ship from the scrapyard

Related: Against the tide: Liffey-side industries battle on

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