The Grace O’Malley tall ship is heading to Monaco

Prince Albert II with a painting of the Grace O’Malley tall ship

In March, the Grace O’Malley tall ship will go back into service as the ‘Island of Ireland’s Youth Development’ tall ship, connecting youth with each other, the ocean and adventure.

The Atlantic Youth trust, a charitable organisation, purchased the Grace O’Malley in 2022. Last September, the organisation held a fundraising gala dinner at the Yacht Club de Monaco, with H.S.H. Prince Albert II, a supporter of the initiative, as guest of honour.

An ambitious Island of Ireland project, the Grace O’Malley takes the place of the Asgard II and Northern Ireland’s Lord Rank, both youth training ships, now out of service.

“This 40-year-old ship, originally called the Lady Helen and based out of New Zealand, is now being repurposed and restored and is currently at Harland and Wolff in Belfast, the builders of the RMS Titanic,” Robert Lee Mulcahy, Chief Fundraiser in Monaco for Atlantic, tells Monaco Life. “I think it is really timely, after the pandemic, to focus on sustainable initiatives for youth.”

In 2023, the Grace O’Malley (named after the famous Irish female pirate) will be ready to welcome 40 young people at a time, aged between 15 and 22, male and female, to engage in 10-day-long voyages at sea.

“Those taking part are asked to leave their mobile phones on shore. It’s about getting back to conventional communication, making new friends onboard and learning new skills,” reveals Lee Mulcahy.

The Grace O’Malley will travel to Monaco during its service, to welcome youth who register to take part in the development programme.

In keeping with the no technology policy onboard, Atlantic has teamed up with the Princess Grace Irish Library for Monaco based voyages, and participants will be able to pre-book reading material from the library online.

Strengthening Ireland-Monaco ties

The link between Monaco and Ireland is well documented: Princess Grace’s grandfather John Peter Kelly was originally from Newport, Mayo, in the West of Ireland.

But lesser known is the fact that Princess Charlene’s paternal family has centuries of history in Ireland. Her ancestors participated in the founding of Trinity College Dublin.

Two freizes were unveiled by Prince Albert, one in the Old Library, during a visit in 2021, after donating €1 million to the library restoration fund.

Robert Lee Mulcahy, who says he is “a long-time supporter of Monaco and its ethos”, hopes to develop more initiatives that further connect the cultures of Monaco and Ireland.

“I see it as a two-way street, as a marriage between the two locations,” says Lee Mulcahy, who is also a supporter of Cap Moderne and is currently planning a fundraising event in Ireland for the final renovations of Villa E-1027, the first architectural creation by Irish architect and furniture designer Eileen Gray, situated in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.

A painting of the 164-foot masted schooner by Irish artist Mick O’Dea, commissioned by Lee Mulcahy, was presented to Prince Albert and is displayed in his office at the Yacht Club de Monaco, on permanent loan.

“Atlantic is delighted with the support from Monaco in its effort to raise vital funds to contribute to the ship’s operations, including funding for many of those youth who are welcomed on board,” adds Robert Lee Mulcahy.

Limited editions of the painting are now available as part of the fundraising initiative.

For details and to support the 2023 Atlantic Gala Dinner, email:

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Photo: Prince Albert II of Monaco with Robert Lee Mulcahy and a painting of the Grace O’Malley tall ship, by Artist Mick O’Dea Prha.