New Year opportunity floats in for local entrepreneurs..

If you’re planning to do something different in 2020, you might like to start with a walk down to the Town Quay in Newry. Visitors to the quay could be forgiven for thinking they have stumbled into Little Holland, for amongst a variety of regular vessels are moored two beautiful Dutch sailing barges and one of them could hold the key to your future enterprise.
Nestling at the side of the larger sail-training barge Volhaarding, run by local charity Silverylight, is the little ship Drie Gebroeders (meaning Three Brothers). She is privately owned and is now looking for a new custodian. This diminutive historic Dutch lady, fondly known as “DG”, moved to Newry last Autumn with the help of some local enthusiasts. She had previously been home to a Co. Down woman working in England for several years, but she has an incredible history going back to 1898.
The “Three Brothers” in her name were the sons of her first skipper, when as a working barge delivering farm goods the family of six would have lived in the small space that is now the engine room. The middle son was to take over from his father, but was to lose ownership of the barge under German occupation in World War 2. How she has survived 122 years is testament to the strength of her sturdy build and riveted iron hull. While her current owner has uncovered much of her history there are no doubt many tales that can only be guessed at.
It is hoped that someone with a spirit of adventure may now become her next custodian. She has been extensively refurbished in recent years and is perfect for a variety of uses. She could be a cosy home, sleeping up to 6 people, but can also comfortably seat up to a dozen around her multi-fuel stove for group gatherings. On her recent voyages a professional chef enjoyed the use of her small galley, keeping the crew well fed en route from Kent to Strangford Lough.
From Carlingford Lough, the Irish inland waterways could be her playground from Dublin’s Royal Canal over to the River Shannon and right up to the beautiful Lough Erne and Fermanagh’s Lake District. Her combination of motor and traditional sails are ready for action while her cosy, centrally heated interior provides comfortable, cottage-style accommodation and shelter.
At an asking price of just under £150,000, Drie Gebroeders will be an investment similar to a classic car or historic building. Originally designed to be sailed by “a man and a boy” she will need the caring hand of an experienced skipper but enthusiastic barge hands will enjoy using her winches, lee-boards and gaff rig. Interested parties should contact Hilary at hilary3107@gmail.com for further details and so that viewing may be arranged.

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