OLDEST IRISH AMERICAN NEWSPAPER IN USA, ESTABLISHED IN 1928
Category: Archive

Asgard parts surface in Nevada

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

Parts of the famous Irish gun-running yacht Asgard have apparently surfaced — in the Nevada desert.

The Asgard, owned by the father of former President Erskine Childers and used to run guns into Howth, Co. Dublin, for the Irish Volunteers in 1914, has been taken out of mothballs to undergo a £1 million restoration.

The yacht had been languishing in Kilmainham Goal for years but it was lifted out over the wall last month by a giant crane.

After years of neglect, the ketch is in pretty poor shape and many parts are missing.

But not all of them are lost to history, it seems.

Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo

Subscribe to one of our great value packages.

Art Mullen, a Dublin native now living in Las Vegas, contacted the Echo to say that he had one of the two original portholes from the yacht. In addition, said Mullen, he also had a pulley from the boat.

Mullen, who has long had an interest in the story of the Asgard, said he was given the two parts several years ago while on a visit to Tramore, Co. Waterford.

"They were covered in paint and I had them restored to their original condition. I am certain they are genuine," Mullen said.

"There were only two portholes on the Asgard and I have one of them."

The 50-foot-long Asgard landed German Mauser rifles that were later used in the Easter Rising.

After all the years of neglect, a new campaign — "Nail Your Colors to the Mast" — is raising the funds needed for the boat’s restoration. The Irish government has pledged to meet half the cost.

All the rigging and the interior of the Norwegian-built boat is gone, but much of the original wood remains and is in good condition.

The Asgard was a wedding gift from Dr. and Mrs. Hamilton Osgood of Boston when their daughter Molly married Erskine Childers, father of the future Irish president.

Molly was disabled and used a wheelchair. The Asgard was originally specially fitted out so that she could sail it and she used to lash herself to the helm so that she could steer it.

Childers was the author of the famous spy novel and classic sea story "The Riddle of the Sands." Childers was executed in 1922 and his widow sold it in 1927.

The sailboat was bought by the Irish government in 1961 after having several English owners. During 1961-67, it was laid up and then was used for sail training between 1968-74. It was then replaced by Asgard II, a brigantine built in Arklow, Co. Wicklow.

Art Mullen’s artifacts didn’t cross the Atlantic at sea level, meanwhile. They flew.

"I brought them back to the U.S. in my hand luggage," he said.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese