Howth YC members play major part in conservation of ASGARD
Author: Pat Murphy Posted on: 1/11/12 Print Version

Report by Pat Murphy
Photographs by John Kearon and Pat Murphy

The original Asgard
Six volunteers over nine months played a major part in the conservation of the ASGARD which is now on display since August in the National Museum in Collins Barrack. Four of the six, Neville Maguire, Wally McGuirk, Paddy Barry and Pat Murphy are current members of Howth YC, the remaining two Rory McGuirk and Mike Alexander are former members. Each of the six had their own speciality and together they overcame the many varied practical and technical obstacles encountered throughout the project.

To start with
While Master Shipwright and Ship Conservator John Kearon and his team conserved the hull beginning in 2007 the 6 volunteers, known as the "Howth Gang", concentrated on the above deck work i.e., the spars and rigging.

Neville Maguire

Mike Alexander

The original wheel
on new binacle
The work preparing the spars and rigging was undertaken over a 10 month period beginning last autumn in a warehouse belonging to Wally in Arbour Hill. Prior to the finishing work much time was spent scraping, sanding, filling and cleaning the original spars and accessories.

Part of the conservation work
As the original main and mizzen masts would be too high for the exhibition hall, replacement shorter ones were fashioned to suit. Metal rings were attached to the tops of both masts which allowed all standing rigging to be displayed at an angle similar to that of the original masts. The main and mizzen booms together with the gaffs are original and necessitated much conservations work.

John Kearon-shipwright, Neville-Maguire
Ollie Walsh & Rory McGuirk

The new mast
In July the completed spars, under the supervision of Wally, were transported to the Museum where the "Howth Gang" successfully stepped them to the completed conserved hull. There were a few anxious moment when stepping the new shortened main mast as we only had about a 75mm (3") clearance with the roof of the newly prepared exhibition hall.
Before we got scaffolding
Over the following weeks the team fully dressed the spars with the running and standing rigging. This part of the work entailed much engineering ingenuity by scaling in safety the heights required to complete the top rigging.

Ollie Walsh, shipwright, cutting hole for mast

The mast in position

Wally McGuirk, Neville Maguire, Sarah Kingston,
Paddy Barry, Rory McGuirk, Mike Alexander
On Wednesday 8th August the now conserved ASGARD exhibition was officially opened with great fanfare by a variety of personnel from the Oireachtas, the National Museum and descendants of Erskine and Molly Childers.

The bowsprit

Pat Murphy, Mike Alexander, Wally McGuirk
& Neville Maguire in consultation
Top marks to all concerned for conserving this National Icon and exhibiting it in such an outstanding manner. It is now, without doubt, one the country's best historic reminder of the establishment of our Nation.

The finished aft deck

Neville Maguire on scaffolding
Please make time to visit the exhibit, you will not be disappointed and when you do remember that Howth Yacht Club, "The Howth Gang" were responsible for all the work above deck level and the work on the original wheel and newly constructed binnacle.

Restored yacht Asgard at National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin.
Photo: Wikipedia