An important piece of Ireland’s maritime history is the star of a new exhibition that has just opened in Dun Laoghaire.

The 100-year-old ‘Dunleary Lifeboat’ No. 658 was the first motor lifeboat provided by the civil service fund and has an excellent wartime rescue record.

She was built in 1919 and was stationed in Dun Laoghaire harbour from 1919 to 1939. During her service at the station, the lifeboat saved 55 lives.

The boat was recently brought back from the UK, where she was destined to be scrapped, but a group of local south Dublin enthusiasts, The Dunleary Lifeboat Project, garnered enough support to transport the boat back to The Coal Pier in Dun Laoghaire, where she is currently stored.

Brian Comerford from Dalkey is one of the original founders of The Dunleary Lifeboat Project. He told Dublin Gazette he is delighted the boat is back in the town.

“The significance of this boat is important because of what it stands for, as it was the last chance for those in peril. If the lifeboat wasn’t coming, nobody was.

“This is a great opportunity to preserve that part of our shared heritage, as the people that crewed this boat were ordinary people that would have lived and worked around the Harbour of Dun Laoghaire.”

Brian said he is looking forward to the boat being fully restored. “It will represent all of the people of this area and what they stand for, willing to help their fellow man in time of need and without question.

“It will also be a wonderful way to educate people about the marine environment and to be more inclusive, to consider and respect each other. It will also be a great tourist attraction as well.”

The 100-year-old Dunleary Lifeboat exhibition is being presented by The Dunleary Lifeboat Project in partnership with students from Sallynoggin College of Further Education.

It is now open in DLR LexIcon and is running until February 4. For more information see dunlearylifeboatproject.com and DunlearyLifeboatProject on Facebook.