1961-1974: Service as Training Vessel
The refitted Asgard served as a sail training vessel and took part in international tall ship events.
Over the succeeding years the Asgard saw some use as a navy cadet training vessel, but there was speculation over her future. Maintenance costs were high and the vessel spent much time in dry dock. The idea of preserving her as a museum ship was suggested at this stage, but was opposed by those who wished to see the ship preserved as an operational vessel.
In 1968 responsibility for the ship was transferred to the Department of Finance. It was confirmed that the vessel was to remain afloat serving as Ireland's first civilian sail training vessel. To manage the ship in its new role a committee of experienced yachtsmen was established.
The vessel then underwent a refit in which the interior was modernised to meet the needs of a crew of trainees, while the cockpit was replaced with a wheelhouse which offered better protection from the elements. She was then placed under the command of Eric Healy who would remain her captain throughout her service as a training vessel.
Over the following six years the Asgard served as a training vessel and racing yacht. Over 1,500 trainees had the opportunity to sail her during these years. She also took part in international tall ships events where she performed well, winning several races over the years.
Those who sailed the vessel during these years have fond memories of the experience. The historical importance of the vessel combined with the fact that it offered the only real opportunity to experience life aboard such a ship were the main attractions.
Life Aboard the Asgard
The details of life aboard ship were perhaps less appealing. The vessel usually sailed with a compliment of about 13, which included the Captain, Eric Healy, 3 or 4 experienced yachtsmen who would act as watch officers and watch leaders, and 7 or 8 trainees.
This made for a cramped living space where one member of the crew would have to sleep on the chart table. Added to this the sleeping area was very damp as the old hull leaked badly.
In late 1973 it was announced that the Asgard would be replaced by a new larger vessel which could take part in transatlantic racing. The Asgard took part in three final races in 1974 before being retired for good.
In April 1979 she was put on display in the grounds of Kilmainham Gaol Museum.