Brian Boru sets sail from Galway on Safe Haven Ireland voyage

Teenagers on the Safe Haven Ireland voyage enjoying the SeaFest 2017 festivities with Shauna Gillan CEO and Founder of Safe Haven Ireland, Dr John Killeen Chairman of the Marine Institute and Dr Peter Heffernan CEO of the Marine Institute. Photo by Andrew Downes, XPOSUREThe wooden sailing ketch Brian Boru has set sail from Galway on 3 July 2017, the last ship to depart from the successful three day celebration of SeaFest 2017.

The Brian Boru, is specifically modified for carrying passengers on voyages of discovery learning about the heritage and wildlife of Ireland. The voyage will head for Limerick with eight teenagers from six countries including Ireland on board, as part of a Safe Haven Ireland voyage.

Using sailing as an experience to develop understanding and knowledge about different countries, Safe Haven Ireland voyages builds community relationships in Ireland and empowers young people through various youth development initiatives.

CEO and founder of Safe Haven Ireland, Shauna Gillan said, "Bringing people together through sailing is a very positive learning opportunity. We have seen shy young people blossom on board over the course of a week as they form new friendships. Some of these young people are coming from war zones, and they learn to trust themselves and each other as well as overcome personal and physical challenge on board."

The teenagers from Afghanistan, Albania, Bolivia, South Africa, Botswana and the Aran Islands will learn how to sail a ship and how to navigate in challenging Irish coastal waters, making their own decisions about what course to plot over the week. In the process they learn the vital importance of working as a team 24-hours a day, as they take the helm, raise and lower sails, stand watch, cook for each other and keep the vessel ship-shape.

"We have a simple mission – sailing for all. Sailing is truly a transformative adventure and it something really special when you see young people take on the challenge of a long sea voyage. With the support from SeaFest, including the Marine Institute, this trip will provide the new crew an opportunity to learn about how the ocean has a significant influence on our lives," Ms Gillan said.