Eoghan Dalton Reports
The removal of the Viking Longboat from the city centre has led to a flurry of complaints.
The historic replica was removed from its home outside Reginald’s Tower to Mount Congreve gardens for last weekend’s Maritime Festival.However the concern was heightened when it became apparent that the longboat would also receive maintenance work while at the gardens.
Seeking to reassure the public, Mount Congreve said the longboat would help the gardens celebrate the heritage shared between the River Suir, the Greenway and the Woodstown Viking site.
“While the boat is here it will also have some maintenance carried out including re-oiling.
“It is not sitting on the ground, it is on a purpose built frame. For safety and to prevent people climbing into the boat, that frame is covered by potted plants. It is also monitored under CCTV.”
Cllr Adam Wyse (FF) said the confusion was party due to a publicity campaign across local and social media, which instead “never happened”.He said he spoken to senior Council officials to clarify the situation and was told repair works on the boat would take a “couple of weeks”. “I asked if a couple of weeks meant more than a month and was told they wouldn’t expect that to be the case,” he said. “I understand frustration with it being such a popular tourist attraction but the works couldn’t have been carried out in its current location as further space is needed and it would not be viable to have these works carried out on a public pathway.”
Cllr Wyse had previously said that the longboat was to only return to the city centre in November for the Winterval festival, a prospect which he was “totally against”.His party colleague Cllr Eddie Mulligan said he received numerous calls and texts about the missing longboat. “Personally I’m at odds on the reasoning for its relocation but on Tuesday 28 Aug the Viking Longboat was moved to Mount Congreve,” he posted on Facebook.
“I for one will be demanding its return to the City asap as is no doubt the most photographed tourist attraction, having overtaken the Clock Tower in recent times.”
In its own Facebook comment on the matter, Mount Congreve said it was “great to see such passion about something that all the people of Waterford are rightfully proud of, the craftsmanship and work that went into this boat is incredible”.“We have and will take every precaution to safeguard this boat while it is here, temporarily…Finally, there is no charge to see the Viking long boat while it’s here,” it concluded.