Seamus Lynam, Acting Director of the National Museum of Ireland
announced the opening of a new permanent exhibition entitled Asgard: The 1914 Howth gun running vessel conserved at The National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks in Dublin, which was launched by Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht on Wednesday 8 August.
The yacht Asgard is one of the most iconic items of recent Irish history. From her building in 1905 by Colin Archer, the great Norwegian naval architect, for Erskine and Molly Childers to her pivotal role in the 1914 Howth gun-running and her later use as Irelands first national sail-training vessel, the yacht has had many incarnations. Her story is intertwined with many of the wider episodes of 20th-century Irish history, and these can be explored in our other exhibitions in Collins Barracks, The Easter Rising: Understanding 1916 and Soldiers and Chiefs: Irish Soldiers at Home and Abroad Since 1500.
Speaking in advance of the launch, Minister Deenihan said, The restoration of Erskine Childers historic yacht Asgard is an important contribution to the commemorative programme marking the centenary of the years that shaped modern Ireland. I am delighted that this major conservation project has been completed by the National Museum of Ireland and that the yacht will now be exhibited for public viewing at Collins Barracks. I would encourage everyone to come and see Asgard and the associated exhibition that tells her story and acknowledges the achievement of Erskine and Molly Childers and the other crew members who brought a shipment of arms for the Irish Volunteers to Howth in May, 1914.
From 2007 to 2011, a major programme of conservation of Asgard was undertaken by the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks. The conservation team was led by Master Shipwright and Ship Conservator John Kearon, with the aim of conserving the vessel and in the process saving and securing as much of the existing original components as possible, while also retaining the structural integrity of the vessel.
Sandra Heise, Curator of the Asgard exhibition commented; Supported by artefacts from the national collections, the National Museum of Irelands Asgard exhibition aims to tell the yachts story from her commissioning as a wedding gift for Erskine and Molly Childers in 1905, to her role in the Howth gun-running and her eventual use as Irelands first national sail-training vessel, and finally the major conservation project conducted in Collins Barracks from 2007 to 2012
Asgard is now on display with a partial reconstruction of how the vessel was rigged.