Our objective, click to expand
The objective of this site is to support and promote research into Irish Maritime History. We include some general maritime history and general Irish history.
Here we will publish articles, as well as identifying articles on other sites. We will provide some material which may be of assistance to researchers suggest libraries, museums and other locations
We will review books, list lecture programs and make other announcements
Encourage education and school programs, such as Comenius and ‘Follow the fleet‘
Participate in other like-minded projects, such as Wikipedia’s WikiProject Irish Maritime.
The overall objective is to promote an appreciation of our maritime history.
A Showcase of Articles, published here
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The Asian Adventures of the Bandon River Ships: “Hope” and “Thomas”.
The Asian Adventures of the Bandon River Ships: “Hope” and “Thomas”.Click here for full article A further account of the East India Company. The story of two of their Bandon-built ships "Hope" and "Thomas"
RivalClick here for full article The troopship Rival was lost off Connemara. 432 drowned. A forgotten wreck, no folk memory survives, probably because this happened in 1832 shortly before the Famine. The famine was so great a disaster that this disaster, the loss of the Rival, was erased from memory
Sibe Gorman & Co
Sibe Gorman & CoClick here for full article From early in the nineteenth century until the present time, the image of a copper and brass diver's helmet or hard-hat has been an easily recognisable icon which most people could associate with what has always been referred to as "deep-sea diving".. This is the story of the company responsible for that image: Sibe Gorman & Co
Guardships at Kingstown
Guardships at KingstownClick here for full article GUARD-SHIPS AT KINGSTOWN By Cormac F. Lowth Shortly after the completion of Kingstown Harbour in the early 1820s, it became a convenient and preferred haven for elements of the British Royal Navy. It was a regular port of call for…
Where are the Barges
Where are the BargesClick here for full article Midsummer’s Day 1961 saw the last commercial passage of a Guinness barge on the River Liffey. According to Al Byrne in his most entertaining book “Guinness Times - My Days in the World’s Most Famous Brewery” it was 6 p.m. when the 80-foot long by 17-foot-one inch-wide barge, Castleknock, sailed from the Custom House with a load of empties and slowly made its funereal way up river to the jetty at St. James’s Gate.
Captain HutchisonClick here for full article Captain William Hutchison (1793-1881), from County Kildare was the first harbour master of Kingstown. He also acted as coxswain of the Dublin port lifeboat based at Sandycove. Born 1793 died 1881 Ex Lieutenant in RN Inspector of Bulloch Quarries Pilot…
Historical Diving in Ireland
Historical Diving in IrelandClick here for full article While there were few diving inventors or innovators in Ireland, it is remarkable that many of the early diving pioneers worked around the Irish coast. Local entrepreneurs and salvors were quick to exploit the invention of the helmet in the early 19th century and rapidly took on salvage work on their own account.
Italian Salvage Ships at the Galley Head
Italian Salvage Ships at the Galley HeadClick here for full article Paddy O’Sullivan traces the history of the Italian salvage company, Sorima, and describes its successful Ludgate operation off the Galley Head in 1934-35 On 19 May 1922, the ageing P&O liner, Egypt, departed from Tilbury, bound for Marseille and Bombay,…
A Riddle of Sand – The Kish Bank
A Riddle of Sand – The Kish BankClick here for full article It is often said that there is too much ‘rubbish’ information on the web. To be sure, there is rubbish but there’s rubbish everywhere. There is certainly not so much that the internet should not be used for research. This would of course be foolish. Like all libraries of information, one must discriminate and discard and hone, until you arrive at what you believe to be the nearest to accurate you can reasonably achieve.
Lost to Time and Tide
Lost to Time and TideClick here for full article This article offers no conclusions or answers, and is only designed to record some unusual archaeological features within a beautiful bay, which seem to have been forgotten and their use gone unrecorded. One wonders, just how old they are? Suggestions please.
Concrete ShipsClick here for full article Irish shipyards Warrenpoint – Concrete ships Cretefield During the First world war a shortage of steel developed as replacements were being built for the huge tonnage sunk by submarines. Steel was prioritised for construction of warships. Late in the war…
Smuggling in the eighteenth and early nineteenth Century
Smuggling in the eighteenth and early nineteenth CenturyClick here for full article The eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries are described as the golden age of smuggling.
Dublin Port Diving Bell
Dublin Port Diving BellClick here for full article Engineering by Cormac F. Lowth This article was first published in The International Journal of Diving History, Volume 3, Number 1, July 2010 The restored bell In the nineteenth century, several factors combined, which both facilitated and necessitated the expansion…
Lord Cloncurry and the Aid
Lord Cloncurry and the AidClick here for full article The AID with a cargo of Roman sculptures sank at Killiney. This tells of Lord Cloncurry, his life and the loss of the AID
Diving on the Lusitania
Diving on the LusitaniaClick here for full article Diving on the Lusitania from Shipwrecks of the Irish Coast
Lifeboat Mary Stanford
Lifeboat Mary StanfordClick here for full article The most famous lifeboat
The East India Company at Dundaniel
The East India Company at DundanielClick here for full article Paddy O’Sullivan For more on this theme read: The Asian Adventures of the Bandon River Ships: “Hope” and “Thomas”. PREFACE In attempting to give an account of the East India Company at Dundaniel and especially their iron works, it has…
From Havana to Skibereen (Piet Hein)
From Havana to Skibereen (Piet Hein)Click here for full article "The bones of the treasure ship Santa Anna Maria lie strewn in forty feet of water on a rocky headland off Reen point in Castlehaven. Her oak keel and planking are largely intact" - read the story from the age of discovery and colonization of kingdoms of the new world.
Apostleship of the Sea (Stella Maris)
Apostleship of the Sea (Stella Maris)Click here for full article The Apostleship of the Sea (affectionately known as Stella Maris to seafarers in approximately 60 countries (many with multiple ports) by Rose Kearney
Coastguard Lifesaving Carts
Coastguard Lifesaving CartsClick here for full article The Coastguard 1800-1922 and coast lifesaving service 1923-c1992 maintained rocket rescue apparatus at strategic locations around the coast. They rescued hundreds of sailors over the period of their existence. The last service using rocket apparatus was when the Ranga ran…
Pirates at Muglins
Pirates at MuglinsClick here for full article Original Newspaper Report PETER M’KINLIE, GEORGE GIDLEY, ANDREW ZEKERMAN, AND RICHARD ST. QUINTIN Executed for Piracy and Murder, December 19th, 1765 Original Newspaper Report BEFORE we enter upon the bloody deeds of these inhuman monsters, we shall present our…
Legends of the Lusitania
Legends of the LusitaniaClick here for full article LEGENDS OF THE LUSITANIA The sinking of the Lusitania by a torpedo from U20 off the Old Head of Kinsale on Friday 7 May 1915 was the single greatest shipwreck tragedy in Irish waters. Some 1200 men, women and children…
Remember SS Meath
Remember City of Bremen
Remember City of BremenClick here for full article Sunk by aircraft - Bay of Biscay - 2nd June 1942
Remember – Luimneach
Remember: City of Limerick
Remember: City of LimerickClick here for full article The neutral City of Limerick of Saorstait and Continental Lines, clearly marked as Irish, was bombed and sunk in Bay of Biscay, 15th July 1940
Remember: Irish Pine
Remember: Naomh Garbhan
Remember: Naomh GarbhanClick here for full article Fishing Boat, Mined and sunk of Waterford coast, 2nd May 1945, lost with crew of three
Remember: Kerry Head
Remember: Irish Oak
Remember: Irish OakClick here for full article Sunk by U-Boat U-607 in North Atlantic, 15th May 1943. Crew rescued by S.S. IRISH PLANE. This sinking, led to a dispute between Ireland and the US over allocation of blame, disagreement in Dail Eireann and in the House of Commons, even possible fisticuffs between U-boat commanders
Remember InnisfallenClick here for full article M.V. INNISFALLEN MII – M.V. INNISFALLEN Doyle, W., Dublin Geary, Daniel, Kinsale Porter, James, Dublin Rickard, Joseph., Howth and three wounded
SS St Fintan
SS St FintanClick here for full article S.S. St. FINTAN S.S. St. FINTAN Friitzen Carl, Dublin Hendy, Neil, Isle of Arran, Scotland Howat, James, Paisley, Scotland Jones, Joseph, Dublin Leonard, Matthew, Rush, Co.Dublin O’Beirne, Diarmuid, Dublin O’Brien, William, Dublin O’Donnell, M., Ringsend, Dublink Plunkett, B., Dublin
Remember CymricClick here for full article SCHOONER CYMRIC Bergin, Philip, Wexford Brennan, James, Wexford Cassedy, Christopher, Athboy, Co. Meath Crosbie, James, Wexford Furlong, Kevin, Wexford Kieran, Bernard, Dundalk McConnell, Cecil,Dublin O’Rourke, William, Wexford Ryan, Michael, Dungarvan Seaver, Peter, Skerries, Co. Dublin Tierney, Michael, Wexford
One-Legged Sailor stoned the King
One-Legged Sailor stoned the KingClick here for full article THE ONE-LEGGED SAILOR AND THE KING – Dennis Collins by Cormac F Lowth Throughout the year 1832, debates raged in the British Parliament at Westminster on the subject of Reform. Passions were aroused on the subject and there were heated…
M.V. Plassy: Rescue
Remember City of Waterford (convoy OG74)
Remember City of Waterford (convoy OG74)Click here for full article The City of Waterford sailed in Convoy OG-74, as required by insurance companies. She was accidentally rammed and sunk. Her crew were on Walmer Castle, two days later, when they were bombed and sunk. Five, City of Waterford crew, were lost; but the life assurance was not paid.
Remember ILV Isolda
Remember ILV IsoldaClick here for full article Sunk by aircraft off Waterford coast, 19th December 1940 Dunne, P.,12 Sallynoggin Villa, Dun Laoghaire, aged 45. Farrell, W., Seaman; Dun Laoghaire Hayden, J.J., Fireman; Beaufort House, Dun Laoghaire, aged 37. Holland, William, Steward; 7 Sussex Street, Dun Laoghaire, aged…
Remember: Steam Trawler Leukos
Remember: Steam Trawler LeukosClick here for full article Sunk with all 11 hands by gunfire from U-38 (Liebe) – NW Tory Island – 9th March 1940 The Leukos was fishing in the company of British trawlers and she may have positioned herself between these fleeing trawlers and the…
Remember: Clonlara (convoy OG71)
Remember: Clonlara (convoy OG71)Click here for full article Sunk by torpedo from U-564 in North Atlantic, 22nd August 1941, convoy OG 71 The CLONARA had rescued thirteen men from the ALVA HMS CAMPION rescued thirteen survivors from the CLONARA (five from the ALVA and eight from the CLONARA)…
U-35 in Dingle during WW2
U-35 in Dingle during WW2Click here for full article at Ballymore, three miles west of Dingle, 4 October 1939, U-35 landed 28 Greek sailors
Irish WWII Losses
The First World War at sea off West Cork
The First World War at sea off West CorkClick here for full article The ferocity of the First World War evokes names like the Somme, Verdun, Paschendale and Mons and maybe Jutland or Coronel. It may therefore be a surprise to realise that the First World War equivalent of the battle of the Atlantic was fought vigorously of the Coast of West Cork. That such a significant front is all but forgotten is no surprise because the Irish rarely turned their eyes seaward except to judge the weather for agriculture.
HMS A5 (Forgotten Submariners) Lost at Cobh
HMS A5 (Forgotten Submariners) Lost at CobhClick here for full article Early in 1999, Chief Petty Officer Owen O'Keeffe of the Irish Naval Service was visiting Old Church Cemetery near Cobh, County Cork. The purpose of his visit was to do some research on U S Navy graves dating back to the First World War. In the course of his search for the American graves, Owen O'Keeffe came across five particular graves which had like headstones. The graves were very neglected and overgrown and the headstones which were in the form of crosses were moss covered.
The Flanders Flotilla and U-Boat Alley
The Flanders Flotilla and U-Boat AlleyClick here for full article The repeated claims that America declared against Germany during WW1 because her citizens and ships had been attacked by German U-boats is not accurate. Though the U-boats were restrained as a result of American diplomatic protests, America did not enter the war at that time and when they did, it was for different reasons. This has not been the first nor the last time that war was pursued for reasons that were not stated. This type of media management has of course reached heights of a totally new sophistication today.
Look-Out-Post 6 Howth Head
Look-Out-Post 6 Howth HeadClick here for full article Firstly I’d like to look at Howth Head LOP in the general context of the Coast Watching Service and talk about what the service was and how the Howth post operated within that structure. Then I’d like to focus on the post in day-to-day operation during a particular period of the Second World War, a period usually ignored by historians of the Battle of the Atlantic.
G2, the coast-watching service and the Battle of the Atlantic
G2, the coast-watching service and the Battle of the AtlanticClick here for full article This paper is an early version of the introduction to the Guarding Neutral Ireland: the coastwatching service and military intelligence 1939-45 (Four Courts Press, 2008)
Early Irish Free State Naval Activity
Early Irish Free State Naval ActivityClick here for full article Eddie Bourke Dainty The early years of the Irish Free State from January 1922 were a time of turmoil after the war of Independence ceased with the Truce in July 1921. The British army commenced their withdrawal and the Free…
Hobblers – who were they?
Hobblers – who were they?Click here for full article More than seven decades after their dangerous enterprise came to an end Dun Laoghaire families with close links to the sea gathered in late September to honour the hobblers. “The who? ” asked one local teenager when told by a friend that he intended to be present at the dedication in Dun Laoghaire harbour of a compelling monument to the men who years ago guided ships to harbour before the arrival of the Dublin Port pilots.
The Boyd Disaster
The Boyd DisasterClick here for full article February 1861 will be remembered not only for the loss of a great many ships around Dublin Bay but also for the death of a heroic man, who, with some of his companions, attempted to save the lives of some members of shipwrecked crews in Kingstown. This was Captain John McNeil Boyd of the guard-ship H. M. S. AJAX.
Simon Bolivar – Liberator of Venezuela
Simon Bolivar – Liberator of VenezuelaClick here for full article One thousand men of the Irish Legion landed on Venezuela's Margarita Island in August 1819, after a 4,500-mile sea voyage from Dublin. These soldiers of fortune, many of them recently demobilized veterans of the Napoleonic Wars, now sought fame and adventure in the armies of South America's Liberator, Simon Bolivar. In the years 1819 and 1820, more than 2,100 Irish soldiers reached Venezuela as members of organized Irish regiments.
John Richardson Wigham
John Richardson WighamClick here for full article A great inventor and businessman. Actually born in Scotland, he was accused of being Irish, which he never denied. When he was 15 years old he left Scotland for Dublin to start his apprenticeship. Despite prejudice he was very successful
John DeLap – Imperial Russian Navy
John DeLap – Imperial Russian NavyClick here for full article John DeLap of the Imperial Russian Navy, credited with saving the life of Peter the Great
Robert Gibbings, Underwater Artist
Robert Gibbings, Underwater ArtistClick here for full article Robert Gibbings, An Irish Artist Underwater By Cormac F. Lowth First published in SUBSEA, the quarterly journal of the Irish Underwater Council, Autumn 2007. Nowadays we tend to take the imagery produced underwater, mostly by digital photography, very much for…
John Philip Holland (Submarines)
Francis Beaufort (Wind Scale)
Francis Beaufort (Wind Scale)Click here for full article We are all used to hearing weather forecasts on radio or television predicting ‘Wind Force So-and- So’. How many realise that the inventor of the Wind-Scale was born and brought up in Ireland, and did here some of the scientific experiments which place him among the greatest contributors anywhere at any time to the development of the marine sciences?
Rochdale and Prince of Wales
Rochdale and Prince of WalesClick here for full article These troop ships were lost on their way to the Napoleonic Wars. Over 400 bodies washed up on an urban shore. Allegations that they were trapped below while the crew escaped. This sad incident was an impetus to the construction of Dún Laoghaire Harbour
The Vasa, 50 years later
The Vasa, 50 years laterClick here for full article 2011 is the fiftieth anniversary of the successful raising of the almost intact early seventeenth- century Swedish warship Vasa from the mud at the bottom of Stockholm Harbour. It represents one of the greatest maritime archaeological recoveries ever carried out. After the salvage of the ship in 1961, it was conserved and restored and can be seen in a specially built museum where it has attracted millions of visitors over the years.
The wanderer at Kingstown and John Masefield
The wanderer at Kingstown and John MasefieldClick here for full article The Poet Laureate John Masefield was essentially a sea poet; the sea was what he knew and wrote about best. He we discuss his relationship with the Wander and that ships connection with Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire)
The sinking of Arandora Star
The sinking of Arandora StarClick here for full article The torpedoing of the Blue Star Line’s 15,000-ton luxury liner Arandora Star off Bloody Foreland, Donegal on 2 July 1940 is one of the hidden histories of Second World War Ireland. Though the sinking was reported in the local press in Mayo and Donegal, where it is still remembered, it never made it into the national consciousness due to wartime censorship.
Slave Ship Amity (1701)
Slave Ship Amity (1701)Click here for full article The history of slavery is probably as old as that of mankind itself. Hundreds of thousands of slaves built such classical civilisations as Greece, Egypt and Rome. Viking Dublin was a major slave trading port in its heyday. However, for the purposes of this story I will deal only with the transatlantic slave trade whereby from twelve to twenty million African slaves were transported to the Americas over a span of four hundred years.
Crescent City – Mexican Silver Dollars
Crescent City – Mexican Silver DollarsClick here for full article Mexican Silver Dollars at Galley Head, recovered from the cargo of the Crescent City
M.V. Kilkenny Shipwrecked
M.V. Kilkenny ShipwreckedClick here for full article Austin's own account of his experience of being ship-wrecked
Fethard Lifeboat Disaster.
Fethard Lifeboat Disaster.Click here for full article need to transcribe ?
Maritime Art and Dún Laoghaire
Maritime Art and Dún LaoghaireClick here for full article Illustrated talk given to the Dún Laoghaire Borough Historical Society on Feb. 21st. 2007.
Tayleur was lost at Lambay
Tayleur was lost at LambayClick here for full article The sailing ship Tayleur was lost at Lambay just north of Dublin on 21 January 1854. Of the 650 aboard only 290 survived, merely three of the hundred women survived and only three of fifty children reached shore. Known as the "First Titanic"
Pomona, emigrant ship, 389 died
Pomona, emigrant ship, 389 diedClick here for full article it is out pitiful duty to record. The United States ship Pomona , Captain Merrihew with a crew of thirty five men and three hundred and seventy three passengers, principally Irish left Liverpool on Wednesday 27th instant, bound for New York, she struck the Blackwater Bank, at four o’clock a.m. on the following day. all on board , amounting to 389 souls – the crew and passengers making in the aggregate 408, out of whom only twenty three were saved. We have the above melancholy particulars of this dreadful disaster from the active and efficient agent of the Shipwrecked Mariners society
The Mystery of the Titanic
The Mystery of the TitanicClick here for full article The Mystery of the Titanic She was the largest ship in the world at the time She was proclaimed unsinkable She collided with an iceberg and sank on her maiden voyage.
Demeray: Treasure Ship
Demeray: Treasure ShipClick here for full article “The two barren islets are best remembered as the scene of the several shipwrecks. Here in 1819 the Demerary carrying gold bullion was wrecked and sank. One of her passengers, a Scotsman named Hugh Monro Robertson and sixteen members of the crew were washed ashore at Cullenstown and buried in the ancient graveyard in the Cill Park near Cullenstown Castle. Monroe’s is the only tombstone there now as one of the pillars from the memorial over the sailors’ grave was used as a weight on a harrow by a local farmer. To this day it is said that traces of gold dust from the Demerary’s strong room are found on the sand of the Keeraghs”
The Argentine Republic Emigration Scheme
The Argentine Republic Emigration SchemeClick here for full article This marked the end of Irish emigration to South America. It was badly planned and many died
Tram and schooner collide
Tram and schooner collideClick here for full article Few stories have been mentioned so often with so much confusion than the tale of the collision between a sailing ship and a tram at Ringsend bridge. There have been several errors repeated and one discovery has been that there were two similar incidents at the same place. Earlier researchers have not had the advantage of the computer searchable versions of the digitised newspapers and this has helped resolve mysteries and tales such as this. The story gained interest when the visitor’s centre was constructed near the site of the accident. The story defied researchers who had hoped that a photo of the incident might be available for display.
Roman wrecks of Lake Nemi
Roman wrecks of Lake NemiClick here for full article There is a small lake called Nemi in the Alban Hills, about 30 kilometers southeast of Rome. Between 1927 and 1933, two enormous wooden ships, which once belonged to the Emperor Caligula, and had lain on the bottom of the Lake for over nineteen hundred years, were salvaged in what was perhaps the greatest underwater archaeological recovery ever accomplished.
The Guinness Fleets
The Guinness FleetsClick here for full article The Guinness brewing concern had substantial maritime resources to support distribution of the famous beer. In addition the family spent a lot of their leisure on a range of fabulous pleasure craft. Initially the reach of the brewing concern expanded from 1790 thanks to the commencement of the Irish canal system. Barge transport enabled distribution of their beer from Dublin and import of malt from all parts of the country.
Tayleur Fund Medal Awards
Tayleur Fund Medal AwardsClick here for full article The sailing ship Tayleur was wrecked in January 1854 at Lambay with the loss of 220 of the 670 aboard. A fund was established in both Liverpool and Dublin to assist the victims. The fund was used to award medals for heroism in the Irish Sea.
Salvage Tradition, Law and Lore
Salvage Tradition, Law and LoreClick here for full article The fury with which primitive communities descended upon a stricken vessel can only be regarded with a sense of awe. Tales abound of the ferocity of wreckers and their cruel deeds. Many tales are related which must be apocryphal.
The Man of War Head: A Mystery Solved.
The Man of War Head: A Mystery Solved.Click here for full article Man Of War in North County Dublin could be better described as a hamlet rather than a village. It consists today of a crossroads with a few houses and a pub, appropriately named the Man Of War Inn.
Morven Disaster. December, 1906.
Morven Disaster. December, 1906.Click here for full article The Morven was bound from Portland, Oregon to Liverpool with a cargo of about three thousand tons of grain for the Messrs Bannatyne. The place where the wreck occurred is a little promontory locally known as “Horse Island”.
The Wreck of the Bolivar
The Wreck of the BolivarClick here for full article The Country had been in the grip of freezing conditions for the entire month of February 1947 with snowstorms, and accompanying snowdrifts, which blanketed the countryside and made all movement extremely difficult. Power failures were frequent and added to the general misery. It was against this background that the M.V.BOLIVAR was making her way across the Irish Sea on the morning of Tuesday, March 4th, bound for Dublin Port with a badly needed cargo of grain and other essential items. Like many another fine ship before her, although Dublin Bay was in sight, the BOLIVAR would never reach that port and would leave her bones in the sands of that treacherous graveyard of ships that spans the entrance to Dublin Bay waiting to ensnare the unwary, the Kish Bank.