Blarna, Canima and the Liffey Dockyard

Pat Sweeney, in Liffey Ships & Shipbuilding [Mercier Press, Cork 2010], tells us that in December 1960 Cork Harbour Commissioners got permission to raise a loan of £250,000 to build two diesel-powered tenders to carry passengers to and from transatlantic liners moored in Cobh. The tenders were built by the Liffey Dockyard in Dublin; the MV Blarna was launched in May 1961 and her sister MV Cill Airne in February 1962.

After a varied career, the MV Cill Airne is now back on the Liffey as a floating restaurant. Her website says that she and her sister were the last rivetted ships built in Europe; they were the third-last and second-last ships to be built at the Alexandra Basin, the last being the Shannon Navigation’s Coill-an-Eo.

MV Blarna spent much of her life in Bermuda as a party boat named Canimabut then spent ten years in Canada waiting vainly for restoration or conversion and coming to be regarded as an eyesore. That period is now over: the “Millbank eyesore“, the Canima, sank in December 2012 and “salvage may not be an option“.

h/t Niall Galway

3 responses to “Blarna, Canima and the Liffey Dockyard

  1. Pingback: Doing the old girl proud | Irish waterways history

  2. I sat a on a vacation VHS video cassette for 36 years before finally editing and uploading it to YouTube recently. Included was footage shot from the stern of the SS Oceanic as the Canima provided tender service into Hamilton, Bermuda. As I was working on the footage, I tried to do research on the various aspects of what I had then recorded. I came across the article that the Canima had been taken out of service and was sitting in Canada, ultimately to sink. But, I thought someone would be interested in seeing her still operating in her “hey day”. By the way, there are scenes of the then SS Oceanic at anchor, the SS Doric docked in Hamilton and the Ms Veendam hurrying into Hamilton late that day. If anyone would like to see her full of 1981 Bermuda bound tourists, please look at my video at:

    Chris Lauterbach

  3. Thank you.

    I have not myself checked the link given and cannot vouch for its being safe to click on.


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