An Ireland-Wales Co-operation Project

An Ireland-Wales Co-operation Project

'Port Voices', Ports, Past and Present, 2022


There has been a movement of people between Ireland and Britain for thousands of years, journeys motivated by war, trade, religion and family, often experienced as a routine part of life on our neighbouring islands. The ports on both sides of the Irish sea know this history well. They share a history of absorbing migrant labour and were often places of exchange between people, cultures and languages. Political borders have shifted over the centuries but the legacy of sea travel for the ports in the Irish sea basin endures.

Will Brexit mean a loosening of Ireland’s ties with Britain and the casting off of this long history? Or does the prospect of a border in the Irish sea along with potential new trade and tariff arrangements bring fresh prominence to Irish and Welsh ports? As we consider these questions and look ahead to a year of political and diplomatic negotiations, a project led by University College Cork in partnership with Aberystwyth University, the University of Wales Trinity St David and Wexford County Council is examining the cultural heritage of the ports in the Irish sea basin.

The Ports, Past and Present project (funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation programme) is currently gathering these stories. We are keen to hear from people living in and around Dublin, Rosslare, Holyhead, Fishguard and Pembroke Dock who might like to share their own knowledge about the cultural heritage of their communities. Currently many of us pass through the ports, whether on car or on foot, and don’t stop to think about the lives and experiences of those who went before us. A richer encounter with that heritage might mean more time spent in port communities and greater opportunities to grow and develop cultural and other kinds of tourism.