Dublin

Stories focused on Dublin Port, the city of Dublin and its coastal surrounds.

Dublin Port in Focus

The modern history of Dublin Port begins in the early 1700s, when a bank was constructed to protect the south side of the channel at the mouth of the harbour, enabling ships to reach the city even in high winds. This was replaced by the South Bull…

The Hibernian Marine School, Sir John Rogerson's Quay

First built between 1770 and 1773, the Hibernian Marine School (also called the Marine Nursey, or the Hibernian Marine Society’s School for the Children of Decayed Seamen) is located on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay in the Dublin Docklands, and acted as a…

The First Irish Sea Balloon Crossing: Beginnings

From the first manned hot air balloon flight in Paris in November 1783, balloons exerted a powerful force on the public imagination. Early observers of hot air balloons were not sure exactly what they were for, but ballooning’s capacity for setting…

The Dublin Time Ball

From the eighteenth century on, ship captains were able to rely on precise timepieces, known as chronometers, to tell the time accurately, no matter where they were in the world. Still, it was good practice to double check these nautical instruments…

The Crimean Banquet

In Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel Sylvia’s Lovers (1863), the provincial whaling town of Monkshaven (based on Whitby in the north of England) is thrown into a state of excitement by the return of a Greenland ship, and a crowd immediately gathers around…

Heads in High Places

This poem addresses Anna Livia, a carved keystone figure. Keystone heads were carved by Edward Smyth in the late eighteenth century. Anna Livia keystone heads grace Dublin's Custom House and the warehouse at 30- 32 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.Anna Livia…

Dublin Mail and Rail, 1882-1920

After the introduction of the uniform penny post in the United Kingdom in 1840, postal volumes grew rapidly and were an increasingly important part of goods traffic between Great Britain and Ireland. In 1849, the Post Office invited tenders for a…

The Dublin Diving Bell

Refurbished in 1989 and 2015, the diving bell is an imposing reminder of the industrial and engineering history of Dublin Port, as well as of teams of men who worked beneath the waters of the River Liffey. Dublin port was historically hazardous for…

Bindon Blood Stoney’s Diving Bell

Get to bell before the low tideSlow down the pipe mind your stride.Compressed air makes the breathing hardWorking for hours in heat and dark.Levelling out the seabed get it rightQuay stones to be laid before the night. Six in our gang in our metal…

A Dublin Docker's Funeral

At one stage in Dublin Port, roughly as many ships were worked outside the dock gates as inside. Ships were worked on the North Wall and along the South Quays. Cranes would lower their gibs into the ship's hatches, where cargo would be put on hoists…

'I have no women working in here...'

Kay Foran sat down with Ports, Past and Present and shared the story of how at 16 years old, she started working in the Odlum's flour silos in Dublin port, although the manager was looking for a boy.

The Kittiwake Lightship

Tethered, tossed and twinkling,A beckoning beacon between bar and bull,Paving pathways in a bending bay of swirlingsurf and smiling shores.Invitation to our harbour of doubtFailte, céad mile, come surge like a stormin our settling stout. Tested in…

The Dockers and the Tiger

Audrey MacCready sat down with Ports, Past and Present and shared the story of an encounter between Dublin dockers and a tiger on board of the arrived ships. Of all the unusual goods the dockers handled, this one came equipped with teeth.

Dublin Dockers Through the Years

The Dublin Dockers started by collecting old photographs and are delighted to report that our collection has broken through the 4,000 mark. In addition, people have donated over 6,000 documents which we have passed on to Dublin City Council. Most of…

Dublin Port Emigration in the Early Twentieth Century

Dublin port during the early twentieth century was a place of great business trade and work. Having been refurbished in the 1800s to give way for more shipping of trades and goods, the port had become a huge employment area for most of Dublin.…

Health in Dublin Port

Port health has been an important aspect of public health since at least the middle ages. The practise of quarantine began in the early modern period, and focused in particular on ensuring isolation for a period of forty days during outbreaks of…

Brexit and Dublin Port

At 5 o’clock on the morning of 31 January 2020, a handful of reporters and press photographers huddled in the pre-dawn rain at Dublin Port, where a group of senior Fine Gael politicians had donned yellow high-viz vests for a photo op. Then…

The Very First and the Very Last Things to See

Hearing the name Dublin, most people think of the city sitting on a landmass. Gary Brown talked with with Ports, Past and Present how Dublin already begins out at sea at the Kish Lighthouse as it is the first visible marker that people encounter on…

Kayaking in the Dublin Bay Biosphere

Jenny Kilbride is a former competitive kayaker and the owner of Kayaking.ie. She spoke to Jonathan Evershed about her passion for the water, the natural heritage of the Dublin Bay Biosphere, and the joy of getting to know the seals on Dalkey…

So Near, and Yet So Far | Mor Agos, ac eto Mor Bell

The official first flight from Britain to Ireland took place on 22 April, 1912 in a Bleriot monoplane piloted by Denys Corbett Wilson, who flew from Fishguard in Wales to Enniscorthy in Wexford. But two years earlier another attempt came within a…

Hidden Caves of Portrane

In years gone by in Ireland, there had to be taxes paid on certain goods as tobacco and wine coming from foreign lands to Ireland. But the people who were poor at the time they could not afford to be paying tax on these goods. They often decided to…

Dublin Bay’s Martello Towers

There are around 29 martello towers dotted around the bay; coastal, circular buildings with curved, nearly-windowless walls. Some have been taken up as unique seaside homes or museums, but many are unused and inaccessible. Most were built in…

Responses to the Sinking of the Leinster

By October 1918, it had become apparent that the First World War was slowly drawing to a close. It was not yet foreseeable whether it would be over by Christmas, a hope annually revived since 1914, but an end to the fighting lay in the near future.…
Created for the Dublin Port Fest on 27th of March, 2021