The chance for mistakes is about equal to the number of crew squared. - Ted Turner

Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

Home arrow Vessels arrow Bye-Trader Boats arrow 96E - The Enterprise - Bye Trader - Dublin 1922
96E - The Enterprise - Bye Trader - Dublin 1922 PDF Print E-mail
02 November 2008


Technical Details

Reg Number:
Built By: Ringsend Dockyard Co.
Year: 1922
Riveted Steel
13' 3"
50 tons
Killaloe 1927
Engine: Bolinder E Type 15hp
  Lister 29hp Air cooled



96e Banagher July 2006


The Enterprise built in 1922 at Ringsend Dockyard Company, was originally called 98B and was operated as a motor boat by Patrick Farrell. She was later sold in 1930 to Mrs C Farrell, who named her The Enterprise. She was used as a general trading boat on the Grand Canal.

The CIE Maintenance Department bought 98B from the Farrells in January 1955 with the intention of using her as a gravel boat. But this did not happen and she was instead used for general cargo duties and given the number 53M. (The previous boat numbered 53M was at the same time moved to Maintenance and became 93E). From talking to the boatmen they say the reason this happened was because when CIE acquired 98B she was in great condition, as the Farrells always minded her. Also, the existing 53M was a small boat and an odd size, so somebody decided to swap them around and put the smaller boat into maintenance.

While operating as 53M she was supposed to have been used to break the ice in Portarlington Harbour in 1955, as no other boats could move. As the traffic on the canal was dying down at that time it's not known if she worked after that.

In 1959, she was transferred to the Canal Maintenance section and re-numbered 96E. Christy Daly operated her as a gravel boat right up to 1973 when the Bolinder engine was removed and replaced with a Lister 29hp air cooled diesel engine. She continued in service until 1981. After that the engine was removed and she was left to eventually sink in the maintenance yard in Tullamore Harbour.

In 1993 she was raised and filmed for the Late Late Show as part of their Antiques Special. Following this and with the support ofthe Heritage Council, OPW, Board Failte and the Arts Council, The Enterprise was converted to Ireland's first and only Floating Theatre.

"Under the direction of Conal Kearney the Enterprise began its series of Summer Schools for Children in 1997 and continues today ... " Originally built of riveted steel with a wooden deck she was replated and re-decked with steel. Her interior was panelled with pitch pine and her true size can only be appreciated when you go down below decks. Her ownership transferred from the OPW to Conal Kearney and Derek Waters for the purpose of restoration and conversion to the Floating Theatre.


In 1995 the Floating Theatre was launched by the then Minister for the Arts, Culture and Gaeltacht Michael D Higgins. Under the direction of Conal Kearney The Enterprise began its series of Summer Schools for Children in 1997 and continues today during the summer months travelling the length and breadth of Irelands Inland Waterways.

Since its inception The Enterprise along with its faithful crew has entertained all who have come across her.

Crew Included-
Peter O'Farrell when she was 98B. One of her first crews with CIE was Tom McGrath with his sons Larry and Paddy. Then Pat Doyle and one of his sons took over. Andy and Abie Maloney with Tick Donnelan had her over the winter of 57-58.

41M & 96E in Tullamore 1980 - photo by Mike Clarke
96E & 54M in Tullamore 1980 - photo by Mike Clarke 96E Enterprise prior to regeneration as The Floating Theatre
96E The Enterprise on the Grand Canal Barrow Line May 2003 96E at Jamestown 2006
96E Enterprise
96E Enterprise


Last Updated ( 11 February 2011 )
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