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

Latest Updates on voyage
& Exhibition of famine inspired sculptures

8th July, 2000
Jeanie Johnston
    The Jeanie Johnston's transatlantic voyage has regrettably been postponed until Spring of 2001, as the hurricane season looms ever closer with the delays already experienced in fitting out the ship. The Chief Executive of the Jeanie Johnston project, Mr.John Griffin, says that complying with modern maritime regulations and bad weather in Kerry have caused the fitting out to take considerably longer and has cost more than was originally anticipated. The IR£2 million overrun on the construction costs for the project has now been funded by the Irish Government, and Kerry County Council and Tralee UDC have underwritten a IR£2 million bank loan to complete the ship. News of the postponement will be disappointing to those who has planned to visit her this season in Canada and the US, but the re-scheduling will mean that Jeanie can fully participate in the Tall Ships events during 2001 and will be able to spend more time visiting the many cities and ports on her schedule.

    Following her sea trials during September, Jeanie is expected to undertake a tour of major Irish ports, including Limerick, Galway, Derry, Belfast, Dublin, Waterford and Cork. This will afford the general public and project supporters throughout Ireland the opportunity to visit the ship before she sets sail to Canada and the US in the Spring of 2001.

    Jeanie's masts and riggings are finished, and work on fitting out the interior continues. The air conditioning and ventilation systems have been installed and at present work is going on above and below decks, fitting out the wheel-house and making bunks in the cabins. Jeanie has passed her initial stability tests with flying colours, and as soon as fitting out is finished, she will complete her sea trials in Tralee Bay and begin her series of short voyages around the Irish coast. carpenters working on the interior of the Jeanie Johnston
Carpenters presently at work on the interior of the Jeanie Johnston

    Meanwhile in Tralee, at the project headquarters, work is continuing on compiling an extensive database of genealogy records for the area, especially concentrating on those people who sailed from Blennerville during the emigration years. The database will be accessible from the Visitor Centre in Blennerville, also on the Jeanie Johnston when she is in "museum mode" in dock during her voyage. On the Internet, the database will be searchable from the project website and here on this site also.
Jeanie Johnston at Fenit pier 16.6.00

Jeanie Johnston moored at Fenit pier - 16th June
Send this picture as a postcard

Famine inspired Exhibition by renowned Irish sculptor
    On display during the months of June and July at the new Windmill Arts Gallery in Blennerville village is a collection of work by celebrated Irish sculptor John Behan.

    Talking about the sculptures on view, John said that although mass emigration was a sad part of our history, we now have 40 million Americans with Irish roots as a result of it. These people have played a huge role in the development of the infrastructure in America. John explained that many of the boats he sculpts have no sails, while in others, one can only notice skeletons that are almost like sails. This alludes to those who did not arrive in America and died on the voyage. "These people are also a part of our history and should not be forgotten", he says. The use of large offcuts of Irish oak not used in the making of the Jeanie Johnston, for podiums for the sculptures in this exhibition, serves to enhance the famine theme.

    The Windmill Arts Gallery, owned and run by Derry and Marian Griffin, is a welcome addition to the attractions of Blennerville village. Their warm and friendly approach and knowledge of the work on display makes the Gallery accessible to both the casual visitor and art collector alike. To make further enquiries about any of the sculptures on view, please send an e-mail. Also on display are paintings by Irish artists with the theme of emigration and the famine, alongside local landscapes painted in oils, acrylics and watercolours. A collection of paintings and drawings of the Jeanie Johnston by pupils of Blennerville national primary school completes this excellent exhibition.

Coffin Ship - sculpture
A selection from the Exhibition

This sculpture, made of bronze, copper and steel, has proved the most popular piece of work with visitors to the Windmill Arts famine exhibition. It is a haunting sculpture, delicately coloured and textured, standing over 18 inches high. You can see the "sails as skeletons" that sculptor John Behan spoke of. The sculpture has been sold for IR£1,900.
This sculpture is entitled Ghost Ship. The sculptor's vision for this work was that the ship was empty of people but full up with souls. Made of solid bronze, it is on sale for IR£2,000.
On the podium behind, you can see another view of the sculpture above, the Coffin Ship.
Ghost Ship 1 - bronze sculpture
famine pier - bronze scuplture Famine Pier is an evocative scupture, made of textured copper and steel with a green colouring. It is on sale for £2,750.
In this bronze wall panel, entitled Coffin Ship, you can clearly see the skeletons used as sails. It is on sale for IR£1,500. wall plaque - bronze sculpture
famine sculpture exhibition A section of the exhibition Gallery at Windmill Arts. On the right is another view of the sculpture "Famine Pier", and you can see local landscapes on the floor. The podiums for the sculptures are pieces of Irish oak not needed for the making of the Jeanie Johnston.
This large bronze sculpture depicts the newly arrived Irish, descending the gangplank of a famine ship in America and is aptly entitled "Emigrants - the New Dawn". Its sale price is IR£2,500. new dawn - bronze sculpture
childrens Jeanie Johnston paintings The children of Blennerville National primary school have painted and drawn their vision of the Jeanie Johnston in full sail.
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13th May
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