New Ross boat yard sailing to success

New Ross Boat Yard.
Michael kehoe with the new Boat lift.
Picture: Maura Hickey.


Way back in the hey day, the boat yard in New Ross, Co Wexford, was a major hub for servicing and providing winter storage for fishing and leisure vessels from Ireland and abroad, at one time employing almost 400 people.

But after a quieter period in the 1980’s and 1990’s New Ross Boat Yard is poised for a significant boost in business following a €340,000 investment in a new boat lift which will allow it work with heavier fishing and leisure vessels for dry dock and repair.

New Ross Boat Yard is renowned in the south-east and beyond for its service and facilities, and owner Michael Kehoe is excited about the chapter that lies ahead.

“There is a great energy here and we are looking forward to the future with our new 60-ton hoist which will handle bigger vessels, and new energy efficiencies which will help us reduce our carbon footprint.”

The well-known marine facility extends to over four acres, and has 230 metres of shoreline to the west of the River Barrow, as well as access to the Rivers Nore and the Suir. One of its key facilities is a 15 metre by 70-metre-long dry dock used for servicing large commercial fishing boats and ferries, as well as smaller leisure boats.

As well as the new hoist the Boat Yard has also invested in a 10 KW wind turbine and solar panels which are reducing energy bills and the businesses carbon footprint.

The Boat Yard received total grant aid of €170,000 towards its €340,000 investment under the Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme, recommended by the Seafood Taskforce established by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D. and implemented by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM). The scheme is funded by the European Union under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve.

According to Michael Kehoe, the former 25-year-old boat hoist could only lift 50 tons, was not energy efficient, and needed more and more maintenance to keep it in working order.

“We had a number of boats that we were no longer in a position to take into the yard due to the capacity of this lift. The new lift has made a huge difference. It means we can take on bigger boats, and see the weights displayed on each lifting point, something which is very important and allows us to distribute weight when lifting a vessel.”

At any given time, there are over 100 boats in the yard representing a mix of fishing and leisure boats in for servicing and repair, and for winter storage.

Currently the Boat Yard is servicing two ‘mini-cruise’ ships – the Barrow Princess and Cailín Déise owned by the Three Sisters Cruise Company. They provide mini cruises along the Rivers Suir and Barrow.

The Boat Yard also does important maintenance work on one of the area’s biggest attractions the Dunbrody Famine ship, which is based on New Ross quay front and which boasts tens of thousands of visitors each year. The Galley Cruising Restaurant is also maintained at the boat yard.


“As well as fishing vessels we get lots of interesting characters here with their leisure boats,” said Michael. “One of our regular customers is a renowned travel writer who spends several months a year sailing around the world, and he docks the boat here in winter.”


New Ross Boat Yard has a history dating back 50 years and at its height in the 1970’s employed around 400 people and supported vessels that sailed all over the globe.


Michael Kehoe and his brother Stephen bought the boat yard in 2008 and they invested in the refurbishment of the dry dock as well as building a stores facility, showroom, offices and storerooms. Today it offers boat sales, services, and storage facilities all on-site. It has one of only three dry docks in Ireland measuring 70 meters in length.


Before the solar panels and wind turbine were introduced the Boat Yard had electricity bills of €2,500 a month. “By being able to offset the cost of our electricity bills, and possibly selling electricity back to the grid, we are in a position to protect ourselves against future price rises.” said Michael.