The Wailing Wall: Can Anyone Bring Jeanie Back Home?

Posted by

Sherry Insert

johnnie wall 1Johnnie Wall says every effort should be made to bring the Jeanie Johnston back to Tralee… 

We have been told that tourism is the best way to create employment in rural areas like Kerry / Tralee.

The ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ is a new initiative by the tourist board, that’s what all those signs with the ‘wavy’ lines represent. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great idea, but a passing trade I feel.

It may bring tourists to ‘out of the way areas’ to see and get a feeling for  our wild landscape, however I cannot see that benefiting Tralee, high up or low down.

Jeanie 1

The Jeanie Johnston.

We need something to hold visitors in our town.

Over the past 30 years, Tralee Town Council did everything in its power to do just that; Blennerville Windmill, Tralee Sports Centre, The Museum, Aqua Dome, Steam Train, Wet Lands, The Rose Garden, The Rose Wall and the beautiful sailing ship The Jeanie Johnston.

The reason I’m writing this is, according to last Sunday’s Irish Times, The Jeanie Johnston is leaking and needs to be placed in dry dock to be repaired on top of which the Dublin Docklands Development Authority will become defunct in the coming weeks and the ship will become the property of the Dublin City Council, who have no interest in acquiring something that’s going to cost them money.

To me this will be a disaster as the reason that its leaking is the fact that it has not been to sea for quite a long time and a ship has to be sailing for its timber to expand and contract  to prevent leakage.

I fear that this great ship will just rot if something is not done soon, either by the Kerry County Council or some other, Kerry-based, interested party.

This is an opportune time to bring it back to Kerry and have it sail on a regular basis. It is my opinion that this proposition could be made viable by using the vessel as a sail training ship, a touring ship, sailing around our magnificent coastline.

The cost would not be great as I believe a lot of sailing ship enthusiasts would want to play a part in its resurrection.

That, in itself, is something I think could be possible, however if this was not feasible, I would consider that it should be ‘laid up’ in ‘dry dock’ at Blennerville, where, in association with the Windmill it would serve as a focus of a ‘genealogy’ based tourism product, attracting more than a passing tourist trade to the area.

A static display of the Tralee – Dingle narrow gauge steam engine, No 5, should also be considered, either based in Blennerville or at the specially constructed platform in Tralee Bay Wetlands, either of which is guaranteed to enhance the local tourism product and certainly attract the ‘railway heads’ of which there are many.

Returning to the Jeanie Johnston, it is far preferable to have it ‘home’ than in the hands of people who, have no feel for, or attachment to, the ship and who only perceive it as a liability.

This magnificent sailing ship has sailed twice across the Atlantic and up and down the east coast of America and Canada, it is now time for it to come ‘home’.

Is there anybody out there, with vision, who is willing to do something beneficial for our town.

In the past, apart from the former Town Council, the Festival of Kerry franchise and the promoters of Aquadome, such an individual or group, with the required passion, drive and commitment to make Tralee a better place, by promoting tourism products, has been sadly lacking.

One Comment

  1. Great idea – would attract loads of tourists. Sailing around Tralee bay with beautiful scenery. It is wasted in Dublin city