History of Sail Training in Ireland
The gaff rigged ketch “Asgard”, designed and built by Colin Archer in 1905, was owned by Erskine Childers, father of the late President of Ireland of the same name.
In July 1914 “Asgard” first came to public notice by carrying a cargo of guns from Germany to Howth for the Irish Volunteers. “Asgard” was sold by Mrs. Childers in 1926 and passed through several hands before being purchased by the Irish Government in 1961 because of her historical associations.
In 1968 the Government formed the committee known as Coiste an Asgard and placed “Asgard” under their guidance and control to be used as a sail training vessel for the young people of Ireland. Sail training cruises were carried out on “Asgard” each year from 1969 to 1974; she was transferred to Kilmainham Jail Historical Museum in 1979 for public exhibition and after a complete refit, is a permanent exhibit in the National Museum.
The 74ft. brigantine “Asgard II”, was designed especially for sail training purposes by the late Jack Tyrrell snd built in Arklow, Co. Wicklow in 1981. After many years of service, she unfortunately sank 20 miles off the coast of France in the Bay of Biscay on the 11 September 2008.
Within 20 minutes from the initial alarm, the crew had moved the life-rafts away from the Asgard II and were rescued by a French coastguard vessel.
Sail Training Ireland
There remained fond affections towards the vessel and the many memories created on her voyages. It is upon this spirit of adventure that “Sail Training Ireland” was formed after the disbandment of Coiste an Asgard due to the loss of the ship and funding streams.
Sail Training Ireland (“Sail Training Ireland for Youth Development Ltd”) was formed as a not-for profit company in February 2011 by some of the previous board members of Coiste including the Irish Representative on the Sail Training International Council – Kalanne O’Leary, Seamus McLoughlin and the STI International Ambassador of Goodwill – Sean Flood. Support was offered by Dublin Port and Arklow Shipping and by the Irish Sailing Association (ISA).