Ports in Focus

A tour of the five partner ports of Ports, Past and Present. Each port is unique in its history, identity, and environs and yet belongs to an Irish sea region with a shared story. Those connections are often occluded or divided by national, regulatory, and narrative boundaries stretching back many centuries. The stories of the region are both created from and supersede these boundaries, spanning the water and stretching far into the wider stories of Wales and the wider United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and a dense confluence of European and global connections linked by the mediating membrane of ocean-going trade routes and infrastructures. The coasts tell and have told stories on a dazzling variety of scales, from the local and the individual to the shared stories of communities to sweeping transoceanic arcs and networks.

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…

Holyhead in Focus

Holyhead is the largest town on Holy Island, Anglesey. The town is best known for its role as a major seaport and it boasts an over 200-year old ferry link with Ireland. Although Holyhead remained a comparatively small fishing village until around…

Rosslare in Focus

Rosslare Harbour, or Cuan Ros Láir in Irish, meaning ‘harbour of the middle peninsula’, sits on the south-east corner of Ireland, a suitable location for marine connections with Wales and Europe. Rosslare Port’s history begins relatively recently…

Fishguard in Focus

Fishguard is a coastal town in north Pembrokeshire, overlooking Cardigan Bay. Its name in Welsh, Abergwaun, reflects its position at the mouth of the Gwaun river; its name in English derives from the Old Norse Fiskigarðr – ‘fish catching enclosure’ –…

Pembroke Dock in Focus

Pembroke Dock (Doc Penfro) and adjacent Milford Haven (Aberdaugleddau) both developed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries from small village settlements, Paterstown and Hubberstown, on the banks of the Cleddau river. The vast natural harbour…