The Jeanie Johnston a replica Famine ship sets sail for Canada.

The original Jeanie Johnston was a cargo vessel which sailed from Kerry to North America from 1848 to 1855, carrying emigrants on its western voyage, and timber on the return journey.  

It’s a cold and blustery day, but Captain Tom MacCarthy is relieved that the voyage is starting, despite bad weather being forecast, 

Delighted to be off now, we had three months of preparation looking forward to getting free from the land and away off with us. 

Bringing people from north and south of the border together, one of the people who has supported the project from the start is Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine, who wishes the crew well, 

I feel elated actually.  I can’t help thinking though how it must have been on the original ship, the prevailing winds was the least of your worries, and watching these people today, full of excitement for them, almost wish I was going with them.

Local TD and Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism John O’Donoghue is also glad to see the ship setting sail,

There were cost overruns, but that does not take away from the fact that this an historic occasion.

With a large crowd gathered at Fenit Harbour, and accompanied by a huge flotilla of boats, the Jeanie Johnston sailed out of Tralee Bay.  Officers and crew of the naval vessel LÉ Eithne gave her Jeanie Johnston the traditional farewell.  

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 16 February 2003.  The reporter is Tom MacSweeney.