Friday, December 30, 2022

Good news for the Lightship Kittiwake. Probably.


The LV Kittiwake late December 2022

For a long time now I have been boring the arse off my readership with occasional reports about the Kittiwake Light Vessel, one of the last two such boats still located in Ireland (The Petrel, in the care of the Down Cruising Club up in Strangford Lough is the other one) See previous posts here, here, here and here
The Kittiwake (1959) was one of five new light vessels commissioned by Irish Lights in the 1950s, to replace the composite steel and wood vessels that had manned the stations along the east and south coasts of Ireland for the first part of the century. The others were the Gannet (1954), the Osprey (1955), the Shearwater (1955) and the Skua (1960). All were built by Philip and Son of Dartmouth, who also supplied light vessels to the English coast, they were all 134 ft long and the frames and decks were made of steel. They also had deep bilge keels to offset the dreadful rolling that the older light vessels suffered.

The Kittiwake in Dun Laoghaire 2007

On Tuesday 14th July 1981 at 05.10, the watched light of the Kittiwake was put out for the last time and was replaced on the South Rock station off Cloughey in county Down by the Gannet which had been converted into an automatic lightfloat. The Kittiwake was towed to Dun Laoghaire where she was a familiar sight on the Carlisle Pier until 2008, when she was moved up to the Liffey outside the O2. She was bought by Harry Crosbie who intended to turn her into a cafe / restaurant on dry land on the North Wall Quay. The Dublin Docklands Development Association refused the application, saying the boat belonged in the water.

A few years later, she disappeared, though it was generally agreed she was in the Alexandra Dock, which is out of bounds to the general public. There was a report that the DDDA had purchased her back from Harry Crosbie but nothing else happened and it was assumed she was just going to rot away until scrapped.
However, this week comes a video and a news report that the Kittiwake has been hoisted out of the dock and will be moved on a giant skateboard to a new position in the Heritage area of the basin, where it will go on public view. (My thanks to John Archer for alerting me to this)
Great news, eh?
Well, yes, except that Harry Crosbie claims he still owns the vessel and wants it returned to the water or he'll sue. The DDDA say they bought it from NAMA and it would certainly be strange if they were proceeding without full ownership.
There's no indication if the Kittiwake will end up, after restoration, on dry land or in the water. If the former, I can well understand Harry Crosbie's frustration. Personally, I don't really care, so long as this piece of maritime heritage is preserved.
Link to the Irish Times video

The lightvessel Petrel (1915) at Ballydorn, Strangford Lough October 2022

Addendum - I received the following photograph from Alan Kavanagh, whose work overlooks the docks, unlike mine, which overlooks the inside of a warehouse. He says the Kittiwake has been moved about a bit over the past few months, probably to build up her fitness for her leap out onto the dockside.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Pete, its great news and here's hoping it proceeds as you outlined the plan. I'd love to see it back in the water, but maintenance wise that might be costly in the long run. Happy new year bud, here's to more great posts and positve developments in 2023