About Us

The Silvery Light Project

Silvery Light Sailing is a Northern Ireland  registered charity.  As the lead applicant in a Heritage Lottery Fund bid the charity seeks the support of contributing partners to restore to seagoing condition, The  Silvery Light, an 1884 built traditional Tall Ship of the type once built by William Paynter & Sons in the Fishing Port of  Kilkeel, County Down.


The Silvery Light is registered on the UK National Historic Ships Register as a ship of historic maritime importance. It is all the more important as there are no other examples of a traditional wooden vessel of this size to be found in Northern Ireland where once similar craft was built and formed the backbone of fleets of hundreds of fishing boats and tramping schooners.


The initial five year  project is based on a two-year restoration build with a further three-year community sailing programme.

Silvery Light will continue to  deliver  traditional maritime skills, sail training and community involvement in to the future. 

The Initial Two-Year Restoration

The initial two-year restoration build phase will be undertaken at the established temporary boatyard site at the Albert Basin, Newry.  Substantial work has already been undertaken by volunteers.  A professional workforce, with the assistance of volunteers will undertake  the restoration work.   Whilst incorporating modern safety standards, many of the vessels original features will be maintained. 

Community Outreach

A follow-on three year community outreach programme of regular programmed  visits to Northern Irish  ports in support of local authority social outreach initiatives and to directly involve community groups, clubs, schools and the public by providing facilities for on-board locally themed maritime exhibitions, sail training, traditional maritime skills,  exhibitions  and festivals.    

The Legacy 'Boat Shed'

  As a  legacy of the project, the volunteer skill pool, tools and equipment used  for the vessel's restoration will continue as  a  centre ('Boat Shed')  for the teaching and practice of  maritime woodworking and  boatbuilding skills  whilst providing a facility  for the ongoing maintenance of the Silvery Light


  The project/ charity has consulted widely to secure the cooperation and support of the public, coastal community, youth, and business groups. Working together we will help to raise the profile of and contribute to the development and the economic growth of Marine Tourism in Ireland. 

      Two Minute Project Summary
  • Silvery Light  will operate on a  commercial basis to be financially self-supporting as a fully functional, community, sail training, recreational and festival ship.

  • The project will provide four full-time and eight  seasonal  employment positions including apprenticeships and  an ongoing revenue stream. 

  • The vessel will be a significant driver to the development of marine tourism,  particularly  the promotion of Northern Ireland Costal Communities and Ports

  • Coastal communities will feature the vessel as a focal point for locally themed  recreational, traditional sailing,  maritime events and festivals .

  •  Community outreach programmes will involve sports clubs, special needs, ethnic and youth groups, schools, colleges and those experiencing discrimination.   Schools and community groups will be actively encouraged to make full use of the   on board educational and exhibition facilities.

  • Some 1080 people from all backgrounds will have gained traditional sailing qualifications and experience during the initial three year period of the project.

  • The vessel, being the only example of a working traditional sailing ship in Northern Ireland, will positively highlight a commitment to maritime heritage and marine tourism through regular annual visits to ports and festivals throughout Ireland, the Isle of Man, Scotland, and UK. 

  • A community social  'Boat Shed' open to all, will make use of the project tools and equipment to continue  boatbuilding and other maritime skills whilst providing a resource for the operation and maintenance  of the Silvery Light.