The Boats

Mayfly and Eco Showboat


The Eco Showboat is an art project aimed at raising awareness of climate change, supported by the Arts Council, SFI Discover, Creative Ireland, Lawpro and Waterways Ireland. Artists Anne Cleary & Denis Connolly are navigating Ireland’s inland waterways meeting local artists, scientists and communities to spark climate action. In 2022 they travelled from Limerick to Enniskillen using only solar power. In 2023 they are undertaking a zero carbon journey to the east - along the Shannon, Grand Canal and Barrow - from Askeaton on the Shannon’s Atlantic estuary to Howth Harbour on the Irish Sea…


One of the objectives of the Eco Showboat Expedition is to allow the artists to make “River Movie” exploring the beauty of the Shannon and the Erne waterways, and to reflect on scientific and artistic ideas for how we can save this environment from everything that threatens it today - pollution, invasive and endangered species, climate change


An SFI Discover Award, along with support from LAWPRO officers and local authorities across the country, has allowed the Eco Showboat to work with marine biologist Rachel O’Malley and to host a series of scientific workshops and talks documenting biodiversity and explaining some of the problems and solutions associated with the local and the global environment

Mayfly, Limerick, April 2022 (photo: Dermot Lynch)

There is a growing awareness that the arts community is uniquely placed to develop conversations around climate change and to generate positive creative action. More than twenty artists from across the country are already engaging with the Eco Showboat to collaborate on climate action, with the help of Creative Ireland and the Arts Council

The Eco Showboat is currently touring on the Mayfly, a small converted yacht fitted out with an inboard electric motor powered by a battery bank charged by a solar array. Work is in progress on fitting out a second, larger boat - 48M, a heritage barge built in 1929 - as a zero carbon arts platform to navigate the Grand and Royal Canals


The Eco Showboat Journey to the East is a five month arts expedition along the Shannon, Grand Canal and Barrow, aboard the Mayfly, flagship of the Eco Showboat project. setting off from the town of Askeaton on the River Deel, just off the Shannon estuary in the last week of April, and arriving in Dublin in early September before a final event in Howth on the Irish Sea