Jeanie being built at Blennerville
Built at Blennerville
Jeanie at Fenit pier
Fitted at Fenit Pier
Jeanie's sea trials
Jeanie's Sea Trials
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The Jeanie Johnston Chronicle

Jeanie's Naming Ceremony - Sunday 7th May, 2000
performed by President Mary McAleese

(6 x 15k pictures on this page - please be patient downloading)
Jeanie Johnston

    Jeanie was towed on her barge to Fenit pier, just down the coast from Blennerville, last Thursday evening (4.5.00). Once moored at the pier, the ballast tanks of the barge were flooded and the barge was submerged, allowing Jeanie to float freely in the water for the first time. All Friday and Saturday were spent polishing her wood, hanging flags from her rigging and generally getting her to look her best for the President's visit.

    On Sunday morning, the beautiful Commemorative Quilt representing the voyage of the Jeanie Johnston was unveiled. The ceremony was performed at Tralee's folk theatre, Siamsa Tire, and was attended by both the US and Canadian Ambassadors. I was told that the ladies of the local quilter's group had put 2,400 hours of work into this project. Pictures of the ceremony and the quilt below.

    If Blennerville village thought it received a large influx of visitors for the first day of the launch, it was nothing compared to the multitudes who thronged Fenit pier and the whole of the small village this afternoon for the traditional naming ceremony. The weather was beautiful, calm and warm if a little misty. The garda siochana were directing cars to park in nearby fields commandeered for the day and cars queued for miles along the narrow, twisting coastal road from Tralee. Local traders set up their stalls, mobile kitchens and ice-cream vans parked in convenient locations by the beach. It was a day out for all the family, children everywhere. The Garda brass band played to a rousing reception from the crowds enjoying themselves in the sunshine.

    When the President arrived and the ceremony started, many were too far away to hear, even with the loud-speakers. But nobody minded, the local pubs and Hotel all had tables outside and everybody was in a party mood. Jeanie was resplendent with rows of flag bunting hanging from her rigging. She rocked slowly with the swell of water and I was struck by the evocative smell of freshly polished wood when I eventually got near her, later in the evening when most of the crowds had gone home. In the yacht club, a lively jazz band was playing and I could smell the barbecue cooking burgers and sausages. The party was only just starting there and was sure to continue all night!

Unveiling ceremony of the Jeanie Johnston Commermorative Quilt
The ceremony of unveiling of the Jeanie Johnston Commemorative Quilt at the Siamsa Tire. It was attended by HE Michael J. Sullivan, the US Ambassador, and HE Ron Irwin, the Canadian Ambassador.
A close-up view of the Jeanie Johnston Commemorative Quilt. Over 2,000 hours of work have gone into this project by a local quilter's group. close-up of the quilt
Jeanie at Fenit with the empty barge behind her Jeanie moored at Fenit pier. Behind her on the left you can see the empty barge which brought her here from Blennerville.
The Jeanie Johnston, resplendent with the flag bunting hanging from her rigging, awaits the arrival of the President, Mary McAleese for the official naming ceremony. It is 2 years almost to the day since the President attended the ceremony of the laying of her keel at Blennerville shipyard. Jeanie awaits the President's arrival for the naming ceremony
Jeanie figurhead looks out to sea anticipating the voyage ahead Jeanie's figurehead seems to look out to sea as the evening draws in, anticipating the voyage ahead.
Another attraction of the afternoon was the Irish Navy ship, the LE Ciara, moored behind the Jeanie. LE Ciara

to Fenit,
4th May
Golden Jeanie
15th May
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