The Boats

Mayfly and Eco Showboat

The Eco Showboat (48M) project, 2021

The Eco Showboat (48M) project as a covered outdoor venue, adaptable to many different types of art installation, accessible to all publics

The Eco Showboat (48M) project as an outdoor cinema with rear projection screen suspended in front of an ultra short-throw laser projector

The Eco Showboat (48M) project as a stage that can be set up to host live events with the public on the quayside and only performers coming onboard

Assembling the solar array for the Mayfly, Kilkenny, November 2022


The Mayfly, Boyle River, July 2022


The 48M at Tullamore Harbour, March 2022

In Summer 2021 we acquired the Redstart, a small yacht converted to an electric riverboat in the UK. We are now fitting her out with a solar array, and we will rebaptise her Mayfly before launching her in Spring 2022 to begin our first Eco Boat tour. The Redstart comes on a trailer, which offers us access to cities, towns and villages with navigable waterways across the island, regardless of whether they are connected to the inland waterways network.

We set out, in early 2019, to create a carbon neutral boat to raise awareness of climate change, a symbol of our growth towards a green future - undertaking a two year voyage across the country on the inland waterways and working with artist, scientists and communities to harness our collective imagination and spark climate action. Initially we planned to do this on the 48M, a historic barge built in 1929, leased to us by Waterways Ireland which we planned to convert to solar electric in 2020-2021.

In response to these challenges, we began to imagine a more flexible project: the 48M fitted out as a solar powered headquarters for the Eco Showboat Project - a moored hub for our art and science collaborations, for workshops and exhibitions, located somewhere central - while a lightweight fully solar boat navigates the rivers and lakes, visiting urban and rural communities to spark conversations about climate change, and intersecting with collaborating artists, scientists and activists who are developing local ecological projects.

Concurrently, we will be working on the 48M where it is moored now in Tullamore, with the aim of making her into a floating Eco Hub, leaving her moored where she is until we have the funds necessary to convert her to an exemplary carbon neutral vessel. It may take several years and multiple steps to get there, but fortunately we have a 21 year lease on the 48M, and perhaps she can be launched as a solar vessel to celebrate her 100th birthday!

The 48M at Tullamore Harbour, 2021

The Mayfly, Scarriff, May 2022

Two and half years later - following a global pandemic, a worldwide supply chain crisis and a decision by Ireland’s closest neighbour to leave the European Union - we have faced many challenges. We were always aware that the transformation of the 48M, a heavy steel barge, to electric propulsion would be costly, and as our knowledge of the Inland Waterways grew, we became aware of additional issues such as bio security, weed growth, height limitations, and other factors, leading us to question the suitability of the 48M as a fully mobile unit.

The 48M at Tullamore Harbour, March 2022





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 - the 48M, a heritage barge built in 1929 - as a zero carbon arts platform to navigate the Grand and Royal Canals.


The Mayfly, Scarriff, May 2022

Launch of the Mayfly from the St Michael's Boatclub slipway in Limerick on 25 April, 2022



〰〰〰️️️PROGRAMME 2022