Jeanie Johnston - HistoryThe original Jeanie Johnston was built in 1847 on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec City, Canada. Its architect was the Scottish-born shipbuilder and master craftsman John Munn.
The 408 ton cargo ship was purchased in Liverpool by John Donovan and Sons of Tralee, Co.Kerry. As the famine gripped Ireland, the company ran a successful trade bringing emigrants from Ireland to North America and returning with timbers bound for the ports of Europe.
The Jeanie Johnston made her maiden voyage on 24th April 1848 from Blennerville, Co. Kerry to Quebec with 193 passengers on board. Over the next seven years the ship made 16 voyages to North America carrying over 2,500 emigrants safely to the New World. Despite the seven week journey in very cramped and difficult conditions, no life was ever lost on board the ship - a remarkable achievement which is generally attributed to the ship's captain, Castletownshend-born James Attridge and the experienced Ship's Doctor, Dr Richard Blennerhassett.
The replica ship was designed by Fred Walker, former Chief Naval Architect with the Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. The recreation was modelled closely on that of the 17th century Dutch East India ship, the 'Batavia'.
Work began in 1993 and was completed in 2002. The ship is built with larch planks on oak frames, however to comply with international maritime regulations some concessions to modernity had to be made. She has two Caterpillar engines, two Caterpillar generators, an emergency generator located above the waterline in the forward deckhouse. steel water-tight bulkheads, down-flooding valves and fire-fighting equipment.