Ireland’s last surviving wooden sail cargo vessel hit the high seas at the weekend to deliver spring water to the Aran Islands – and a vital message about sustainability.
A cargo of ISHKA Irish Spring Water made its way to customers by sea on The Ilen, leaving Limerick city on Friday and docking at Kilronan on Inis Mór. The first delivery was made to Elizabeth Powell, who runs the island’s Spar store, before the vessel sailed onward for Galway city.
The Ilen’s wind-powered voyage followed the ancient sea route linking both cities and was organised to highlight the eco-friendly alternatives which businesses can use to reach their customers.
“The Ilen coastal voyage is enabling our business to transport our goods in a responsible way. I am delighted to be welcomed onboard this historic vessel for this ‘Water by Water’ journey,” said Mike Sutton, Director of Ishka. “As a brand, we are continually innovating to find and implement the most sustainable ways for our customers to enjoy our natural spring water.” Mr Sutton was joined on the journey by Mayor of Limerick City and County, Cllr Michael Collins.
Built in Baltimore in West Cork in 1926, The Ilen served for over 70 years, transporting sheep and goods between the Falkland Islands before being returned to Ireland 21 years ago and restored by a team led by Limerick man Gary McMahon.
The Ishka water transported in its hold this weekend is extracted from the firm’s natural springs at Ballyneety in Limerick and is untreated and untouched by hand before being bottled.