Irish Lightship 27 “Penguin” on the move again?

Sooner or later everything turns up on eBay and thus I wasn’t even slightly surprised to see the former Irish Lightship “Penguin” listed for sale on the site last month. Priced at a cool £180,000 there have been no takers as yet. See details below.  Main photograph of “Arctic Penguin” at Inveraray Pier © Gordon Hatton

The Arctic Penguin at Inveraray pier © Copyright Gordon Hatton - Copy

From the eBay listing:

Fancy a lifestyle change?  Iron sailing ship.  Amazing conversion opportunity to have your own three masted schooner sailing ship or static house boat.

99.93′ x 24′ Beam x 11′ Draft. Iron Shell and Floors, Steel Framing.

Built originally as the Light Vessel “Penguin” in 1911 a role in which she served until 1966;
During the 1980’s she was converted to sail – her two foremasts being added and of course the Kelvin diesel engines.

Since the mid 1990’s she has operated as a museum and café. The museum and café have operated very successfully to the end of the 2010 season.

Arctic Penguin interior 1

The Museum Directors have a flexible approach to the vessels future and are happy to assist potential new owners to perhaps have the vessel remain where she is currently berthed.

As a Registered Museum with a trading history she may be in a position to attract grants and funding.

Currently laid out with a welcoming gangway entrance, customers may choose to buy a museum ticket or just- takeaway and stroll or of course be guests of the cafe, sitting comfortably in the deck house or in dry weather on the sheltered foredeck, a purchaser of the museum should if they so wish continue to operate the cafe within the ship, it is the current intension to include all fixtures and fittings provided the asking price is offered:-furthermore we are assured the ship/museum has Argyll and Bute planning permission to operate where she lies, continuation to lie at the pier would be by negotiation with the piers owners who we are assured would be unlikely to unreasonably withhold such permissions.

Museum guests may explore the topsides of the ship from forecastle and forepeak to the afterdeck steering position and the raised aft saloon, while below decks the “For’d Tween Deck” provides the principal exhibition space, aft of this the full width machinery space could be considered the “Main Tween Deck”, aft of this is the athwartship cinema:-aft again is the mostly original Masters Cabin then aft again to the rudder flat and afterpeak, these areas are currently used to the full with public access and interesting displays.

Filmwork on and around the Ship has provided income and interest- she has featured in the Onedin Line and many films since.

Alan Villiers book about buying and sailing the “Joseph Conrad” 57,000 miles is relevant to anyone wishing to re-rig the Arctic Penquin as both ships bear a striking similarity.

Arctic Penguin under sail

Whatever or wherever your interest in this valuable ship may lie please contact us for further information.

Further information on the vessel can be found at  under heading – Arctic Penguin.

No reasonable offer refused may also part exchange Property/Boats/Cars? Open to suggestions.

Asset Management Argyll Ltd

247 Argyll Street


Argyll and Bute

PA23 7QT

United Kingdom

THE 5-MINUTE BELL: History of the Tramore Train 1853 – 1960

It’s rare these days despite the plethora of new titles on Irish railways to be able to wholeheartedly endorse a new book on the subject but the recently published “The 5-Minute Bell” is an exception. Written by Waterford man, Frank O’Donoghue, the book is far more than just something of interest to railway enthusiasts, and there are numerous personal accounts by frequent passengers and former employees, and it is packed with photographs, paintings and drawings.

5 min 001

Ireland’s only completely isolated piece of rail line served the communities of Waterford and Tramore faithfully from 1853 until New Year’s Eve 1960 until axed by CIE. Sadly, as was usual in those days, the railway was ripped up almost immediately after closure and the trackbed and other land sold-off with undue haste. At a mere 8 miles in length it would have been an ideal candidate for a preserved railway operation.

The book is a large format, card cover publication running to 128 pages and is packed with high quality colour and b+w illustrations. Available from the author here: price €19 (including p+p).

Men of the Lightship (1940) now on YouTube

By strange coincidence the Men of the Lightship film that I referred to in my post here

was uploaded to YouTube on the 28th December, 2012. A British WW.II. propaganda film concerning the bombing and sinking of the East Dudgeon lightship on January 29th 1940, and the crew’s attempted escape.

Interestingly the video makes a point about the gentleman’s agreement that had existed between the warring parties that lightships would not be targeted but omits to mention the WW.I. sinking of the “Guillemot” lightship off Arklow by German submarine in March 1917. I will come back to this topic at a later date.

Guillemot Lightship dispersal sale – November 2012

At the end of November I popped over to Waterford to view Keighery’s (City Auction Rooms) sale of the residue contents from the ill-fated “Guillemot Lightship Maritime Museum”. It turned out to be something of a wild goose chase as several of the best items had been withdrawn due to ‘official’ intervention. However, despite the withdrawals, there was still plenty of interest in the sale.

Among the museum’s rare and interesting contents that went under the hammer was the large Guillemot bell, binnacle, shipping lights, mast heads, old photos, paintings, maps, charts as well as model ships, old cork life jacket and oil skins, antique driving boots and porcelain lifebuoys. There was also a fair amount of rubbish in the sale and I was surprised to hear that the total realized was in excess of €16,500. A sad end to yet another failed Irish preservation scheme!

waterford 001

The Guillemot’s bell which sold for a paltry €500!

waterford 003

An interesting board – presumably from the Commissioners of Irish Lights HQ in Dun Laoghaire – showing the disposition of various lightships. Withdrawn prior to auction.

Commissioners of Irish Lights plaque

Above what would have been the star item in the sale, an ultra rare plaque – far more impressive than my poor photo indicates – which was carried aboard CIL vessels. Withdrawn prior to auction.

New outing for the “South Goodwin” lightship

My second Christmas present to myself. No prizes for guessing where this was lifted from, but I couldn’t resist and the resulting large format postcard, poorly reproduced below, is a gem. Limited to a private print-run of 20 for the time being until I can sort out copyright issues.

South Goodwin 002

“South Goodwin” lightship by Holger Koppelmann.

New Lightship ephemera!

My own little indulgence this year – well one of two actually – is my 2012 Christmas card. Using artwork very generously supplied gratis by Clive Sweetingham of the World Naval Ships Forum and the services of Vistaprint – a job well done. Sure to become  a sought after item!

Christmas Card 003

Unstoppable force, immovable object!

Another recent eBay acquisition.

Cunard RMS Ascania passes the BAR lightship on the Mersey.

This postcard well illustrates the dangers and size differential between ocean liners and their guardians. At 14,000+ tons and 538ft long, the Ascania and her sisters built up enormous momentum once underway and couldn’t stop on a sixpence, hence a number of collisions with helpless, tethered lightships occurred over the years. Most notable amongst these were the sinking of the Kish lightship off Dublin by the RMS Leinster on the 8th September, 1902, (fortunately with no loss of life) and the more serious sinking of the US Nantucket lightship LV117 by the RMS Olympic on the 15th May 1934, in which 7 crewmen lost their lives.

LV117 was no mean ship itself, weighing in at 630 tons and 135ft in length but when compared with the Olympic at 50,000 tons, 882ft in length and travelling at 14mph, it stood no chance. It was reported that many aboard the Olympic didn’t even notice the collision.


North Goodwin Light Vessel from a Christmas past

Another of my recent purchases from is this souvenir of a Christmas 1975 goodwill visit by an RNLI boat to the North Goodwin Light Vessel – a snip at just €2.68 including p+p. Hard to believe it’s almost 37 years old and as fresh as the day that it traveled out to the light vessel.

Lightship Christmas Gem!

I recently purchased this atmospheric postcard on for €3.44 including p+p. Titled ‘A Visit to the Lightship’, it captures perfectly the joyous moments that must have greeted many a lightship relief boat at Christmas. The snow, the geese and the booze – smashing stuff! Published by Raphael Tuck & Sons, England, as part of their “Ye Mariners of England” series.

Chinese Junk?

I have always been a collector of ordinary, every day items of ephemera that I can relate to and when my local Chinese Takeaway recently closed down, I was in the right place at the right time. Last weekend when I popped in for my usual – King Prawn Omelette & Chips – I came away with a brand new Canon printer as a bonus. While delighted, I said that I would rather have had the electric “Open” sign from the window – ‘no problem, come back when we’re closed‘ I was told. When I did, yesterday, there were further goodies awaiting me including the three Japanese ladies pictured below – and the takeway’s clock! Thanks Christina & Joe – gone but not forgotten!