The Building of the Replica

In November 1996 the John F. Kennedy Trust began construction of the current replica of the Dunbrody Famine Ship.

Based on designs of the original ship, plans for the replica were drawn up by renowned naval architect Colin Mudie. A half-dozen experienced shipwrights were engaged to supervise the project, headed by Michael Kennedy.

Built by Local People

With the support of FAS (the Irish National Training and Employment Authority), a workforce of apprentice shipwrights and trainee carpenters was assembled.

Over the course of the five-year construction project more than 150 local people would gain hands-on experience of traditional shipbuilding skills.


Visitors Arrive to See The Ship Being Built

Even as she was being built, the Dunbrody Famine Ship was already beginning to draw tourists to New Ross. More than 100,000 people, from all over the world, visited the dry-dock where they could see her massive timbers painstakingly shaped and fitted into place.

Irish and African Timbers

With the help of Coillte, the frames of the ship were made of sustainably farmed Irish Oak. However no trees in Ireland were large enough to provide the major structural timbers.

These were all sourced from Africa. The keel was made of Greenheart, and Opepe was used for both stem and sternposts. All of the ironwork was produced, on-site, by a blacksmith.

The final outfitting and rigging of the ship was done by specialists from Navcon Naval Consulting.

The Dunbrody is Launched

Early on the morning of February 11th 2001 the gates of the dry-dock were opened and the Dunbrody floated to her lines, ready to take her place at the Quay of New Ross.

Maiden Voyages

Waterford Tall Ships Festival 2005

In the summer of 2005, the Tall Ships Race visited Waterford for the first time.

The Dunbrody took a prominent part in the festivities. Leaving New Ross, she made her first short trip down the Barrow to Waterford. In the weeks leading up to the festival she made numerous coastal day trips, carrying as many as fifty lucky passengers at a time. During the festival itself she was moored beside Rice Bridge.

The festival culminated in a spectacular Parade of Sail, the whole fleet led out to sea by The Dunbrody along with the Jeannie Johnston and the Asgard II.

Maiden International Voyage 2006

In June 2006, the Dunbrody made her maiden international voyage.

This was a three-day journey to the port of Milford Haven in Wales. Twenty-five passengers joined a fifteen-person professional crew on this once in a lifetime trip.

Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience Overview

The Dunbrody Famine Ship is one of the premier tourist attractions in the South East of Ireland. Centred on an authentic reproduction of an 1840’s emigrant vessel, it provides a world-class interpretation of the famine emigrant experience.