The MV Cill Airne
A Little Bit of Irish Heritage
Two passenger liner tenders were commissioned by the Irish Government on July 12, 1961 – the M.V. Blarna and its exact replica or sister ship, the M.V. Cill Airne.
The tenders were commissioned to service the passenger liners that plied between ports in England and New York. The liners were too large to enter Cork Harbour and the two sisters would bring mail and passengers to and fro.
The sisters were built in the Liffey Dockyard in Dublin and were the very last of the riveted ships to be built in Europe. Riveting was being replaced by electric arc welding in the 1930’s but the incredible production of the Liberty ships during the war sealed the fate of riveting forever.
The Blarna was sold to a Canadian ferry company in Quebec and the Cill Airne was handed to the Maritime College as a training vessel for engineers. The M.V. Cill Airne brought marine engineers to sea where they familiarized themselves with radar, lifeboats and engine room practices.
In 2003, the Maritime College was rehoused in a new state-of-the-art building with a mock-up engine room and ship sailing simulators, making the M.V. Cill Airne obsolete.
The College placed the vessel up for auction where she was purchased by a group of Dublin City investors. She spent nine months in Cork dock undergoing major restoration work under the inspection of the Maritime Safety Directive. The work has ensured the long-term preservation of the ship. In January 2006, she sailed under her own power to Hegarty’s Boatyard in West Cork, where a quality team of old style shipwrights restored the MV Cill Airne to her present condition.