L to R: Dublin Port Company Harbour Master Michael McKenna and Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring join Poolbeg Training CLG representatives Manager Denis Murphy, Betty Ashe of Pearse Street, Tim Darmody of the Docklands and Jimmy Murray of Ringsend. Pic. Conor McCabe Photography

Members of several of Dublin’s Dockland communities gathered recently at Poolbeg Yacht Club to celebrate 25 years of the Rinn Voyager Sailing Project.

Former volunteers, organisers and participants of the project over the years attended the event and saw the ship blessed during a ceremony.

Speeches were also given by Dublin Port Harbour Master Michael McKenna, Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring, Poolbeg Training manager Denis Murphy and former first mate of the Rinn Voyager, Darren Dent.

The Rinn Voyager Sailing Project began in 1993 in response to the community’s request for educational training facilities and opportunities for the communities around Dublin Port.

This enabled a group of school leavers and unemployed people from Regal House to build the Rinn Voyager.

Upon completion, the sailing vessel was launched in 1994 by then President, Mary Robinson, and for the past 24 years has been used by local community groups and organisations.

The Rinn Voyager has also been used by drug treatment providers to deliver rehabilitation and reintegration programmes.

Denis Murphy said: “The Drugs and Alcohol Task Force has utilised the service of the Rinn Voyager since 2006 and has acknowledged how important this unique facility is in helping those recovering from addiction to sail to full, clean health.

“We look forward to continuing this partnership for many years to come.

“We also acknowledge the invaluable support from Dublin Port Company and look forward to their continued contribution.”

It is estimated more than 7,300 service users of the Drugs & Alcohol Task Force have benefitted from The Rinn Voyager Sailing Project since the partnership began in 2006.

Drug addicts in recovery can experience working and living on board the vessel for short periods of time.

Michael McKenna said: “The Rinn Voyager Sailing Project has been a vital initiative for thousands of people in our neighbouring communities over the past 25 years.

“Dublin Port is very proud to have played its part in the programme and it is wonderful to see so many people benefiting from it.

“The opportunity to learn new skills and grow through personal development is one which can only enhance our city and let’s hope it continues for a further 25 years.”