History of the Ship
The original Jeanie Johnston was built in 1847 in Quebec, Canada . She was commissioned by a Scottish-born shipbuilder and master craftsman, John Munn. She was purchased by Kerry-based merchants, John Donovan and Sons, for their family business.
Originally intended as a cargo ship for transporting timber, rope, molasses, rum, tobacco, tea, textiles, letters and more, she ended up carrying a very different kind of cargo – desperate men, women and children fleeing the Famine. Between 1848 and 1855 she made 16 crossings carrying emigrants from Tralee to Canada and sailing back with timber.
What became of the Jeanie Johnston?
By 1858, legislation restricted the use of cargo ships for transporting passengers so the Donovans sold the ship to William Johnson of North Shields in England. It was then used mainly for transporting cargo again.
In 1858 on the way from Hull in England to Québec in Canada, the ship began to take on water. The timber being carried on deck became waterlogged and began to weigh the ship down. The crew climbed into the rigging and tied themselves to the mast as the ship slowly sank. After 9 gruelling days, they were rescued by a Dutch ship, the Sophie Elizabeth, and the Jeanie Johnston was left to sink.
Even in her loss, she maintained her perfect safety record.
Meet the passengers from the past
A humanitarian captain – Captain James Attridge
Cork-born Captain James Attridge spent his life at sea, starting with his first voyage in 1820 at the age of 15. He became a captain at 23, and had accumulated 28 years of experience before he joined the Jeanie Johnston. Discover how his humanitarian attitude set him apart from other captains of the time.
A noble doctor – Dr. Richard Blennerhassett
Although the voyage was grim, the passengers on the Jeanie Johnston were very fortunate to have Dr. Richard Blennerhassett on board to tend to them. With his social status and prestigious education, he could have enjoyed a far more comfortable life but chose to work on this Famine ship. Find out how he made the journey more bearable and and learn why no passengers died on his watch.
A pregnant woman – Margaret Ryal
Margaret Ryal, from Tralee, Co. Kerry, and her husband, Daniel, travelled on the Jeanie Johnston in 1848. Margaret was heavily pregnant when she came on board. How did she cope with the journey, and what became of her baby?
A desperate young man – Patrick Kearney
23-year-old farm labourer, Patrick Kearney, fled the Famine in Ireland in search of a better life. Would he find it in Baltimore?
A mother and her children in search of their father – Ellen Mahony
Ellen Mahony and her children took the journey to search for her husband, Dennis, who had emigrated 3 years before and sent money back. Locating people in a strange country, however, was no easy task at the time. Would they manage to find him and be reunited?
Two Terrified Orphans – Margaret and John
15-year-old Margaret and her 12-year-old brother, John, made the voyage all alone in April 1851. Where were their family and would they be strong enough to survive this harrowing journey?
The Jeanie Tour
One million Irish people fled Ireland during the famine. 2,500 took a gruelling voyage onboard the Jeanie Johnston. Take a journey back in time, get an insight into life on board a Famine ship and hear the stories of the people who made the gruelling voyage
Times & Prices
OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK, TOURS DAILY
Mon-Sun: 10.00, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00, 15.00
- Adults (Age 18 - 64)€14.00
- Senior (Age 65+)€12.00
- Student (ID)€12.00
- Child (Age 6-12)€8.50
- Infant (Age 0-5)FREE
- 2 Adults & 1 Child€31.00
- 2 Adults & 2 Children€37.00
- Additional Child€6.50
Combo: Jeanie + EPIC
- Adults (Age 18 - 64)€30.00
- Senior (Age 65+)€26.50
- Student (ID)€26.50
- Child (Age 6-12)€16.00
- Infant (Age 0-5)FREE