Jeanie Johnston sets sail

Published in 18th-19th Century Social Perspectives, Issue 2 (Summer 2000), News, News, The Famine, Volume 8

At the end of May 2000 the Jeanie Johnston, a full size sailing replica of the famous Irish emigrant ship, sets sail from Fenit, County Kerry. It took two and a half years to build at a specially constructed shipyard in Blennerville, Tralee, at a cost of £5.5 million and will visit over twenty cities in the United States and Canada; Washington DC, Philadelphia, Trenton (NJ), Bristol, New York, Nantucket, Boston, St John and St Andrews (New Brunswick), Grosse Ile, Quebec City, Montreal, Detroit, Chicago, Muskegan, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Toronto, Kingston, Newport (RI), Baltimore, Annapolis, Port Jefferson, King’s Point and Ellis Island (NY). At each port the ship will be open to the public and will feature a living history exhibit of life on board an Irish emigrant ship. A pavilion on the quayside will feature an exhibition on Ireland past and present.
The original Jeanie Johnston (1847-58) was built in Quebec by the famous shipbuilder John Munn. She was owned by the Donovan family of Tralee and served as a passenger cum cargo vessel. During and after the Great Famine in Ireland, the Jeanie Johnston transported thousands of Irish emigrants to the USA and Canada. Unlike the infamous ‘coffin ships’ of the time, the Jeanie Johnston never lost a passenger to disease, or to the sea, during sixteen trans-Atlantic voyages under the command of Captain James Attridge from Castletownsend, County Cork. On her maiden voyage in 1848 the Jeanie Johnston carried a full complement of 200 passengers and a crew of seventeen. The reborn ship will carry a total of forty: ten professional crew, eighteen volunteer crew (including ten young people from Ireland, North and South) and twelve fee-paying crew.

Enquiries: Ann Martin (066) 7181681, amartin@jeaniejohnston.com.

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