IRELAND AT SEA
Ireland at Sea is a Youth Exchange voyage concept that was developed in 2012 under the EU Commissions - Youth in Action Programme. The project received funding from this programme which is administered in Ireland by Leargas.
The project was coordinated by “Sail Training Ireland for Youth Development” (STIYD) in partnership with Ocean Youth Trust Ireland (OYTI). It involved 26 young people and three leaders and the main activity took place over a ten day period aboard the Tall Ship “Pelican of London. 12 of the young people came from Northern Ireland and 14 from the Republic of Ireland. The focus of Sail Training in general is on the development of life-skills. The medium for this is the challenge inherent to voyaging at sea on a Tall Ship and working as part of a crew. Cooperation Ireland became involved and coordinated some of the land based elements which included team building and workshops related to cultural diversity and understanding.The main theme of the project was "Education through sports and outdoor activities". Priority Themes included:
- Participation of Young People
- Promoting Healthy Lifestyle Through Physical Activities Including Sport
- Youth Unemployement
The project visited three cities: Dublin, Belfast and Liverpool and a further two harbors at Dun Laoghaire and Isle of Man over ten days.
This project focused on developing understanding between the two communities of Ireland and captured the tradition of seafaring and its challenges. It provided a platform for both communities to gain a better understanding of their separate and shared cultures and traditions and for the participants to develop new relationships.
The participants were involved in all aspects of sailing the ship as a team. This included, hoisting and setting sails, steering, keeping watch at all hours, navigating, keeping the log, cooking, cleaning and serving, scrubbing the deck and much more. However the outcome of most value is that having started as a group of mostly strangers, they learned to live and work together in a very challenging, changing and confined environment which none of them were familiar with. Of note is that although there was plenty of seasickness, heated debates with leaders and permanent crew, and tiredness, there were no major difficulties between the participants and they finished as a very close group of friends with a fantastic sense of solidarity and understanding that cannot be expressed in words.
During the workshops prior to the main activity the participants were asked to give talks on different aspects of their communities/cultures/interests. This element of the project was coordinated by Cooperation Ireland.
History of Sail Training:
There is a rich history of seafaring in Ireland and Europe and it is deeply routed in our culture. In recent times however that identity with the sea has diminished in Ireland. The "sail training" movement developed in the last century from the ashes of the tall ship trading industry around the world. Although the great sailing ships were becoming less efficient for commercial use in comparison with the new steam and diesel ships, there was still a common understanding in the industry that mariners who had trained on board tall ships had developed particular qualities of character from working and living together in challenging conditions. During the main activity, the Captain – Michael Forewood” was asked to give a talk on the history of Sail Training and Tall Ships. Having been the “Build Captain” during the construction of the Irish Famine Replica Tall Ship “Jeannie Johnston” he was very well equipped to inspire an interest in the group in the different areas of the history and traditions of seafaring.
Results of the Project
After the main activity, a review and discussion workshop was held in Belfast. The feedback from the participants was excellent and in particular the results of the goal setting exorcise are very encouraging. See the results HERE
Documentation Associated with the Project:
Please note that these documents are the property of Sail Training Ireland and not for re-use by other organisations.
Information Pack for Participants
Information Letter - Ireland At Sea
Application Form for Nominating Organisations
Application Form for Nominated Trainees
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.’