Haughey's 'Celtic Mist' to take to seas as maritime research vessel


WORK HAS begun on refitting the yacht once owned by the late taoiseach Charles J Haughey, in preparation for its new life as a maritime research vessel.

The new owners of the French-built Celtic Mist, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, will be offering day-trips on the famous ketch in an effort to raise the funding needed to ensure it can operate in its new role.

The Haughey family gave the vessel to the group in April and, after months of negotiations, the yacht sailed into its new home in Kilrush, Co Clare, in July.

It will cost an estimated €50,000 to refit the yacht and between €20,000 and €30,000 a year to operate the vessel. The group has also sought EU-backed Leader programme funding.

The 17m steel-hulled yacht will be used for research and surveying whales, basking sharks, dolphins and other marine wildlife in Irish waters. It will also be used for training people to carry out marine surveys.

Mr Haughey bought Celtic Mistafter his previous yacht ran aground on rocks off Mizen Head. The yacht had been on sale on the Isle of Wight in England for £175,000. While his bedroom, bath and shower will be removed to accommodate additional crew berths, the yacht will retain reminders of its former owner, including his beloved clock complete with the initials CJ on its face.

Several items believed to have belonged to the late taoiseach remain on board, including his hat, a number of bottles of wine and a bottle of whiskey specially labelled for the yacht.