Oral Histories

Stories exploring the oral histories and presents of the Irish Sea and its ports through interviews with community members.

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 one of the arrived ships. Of all the unusual goods the dockers handled, this one came equipped with teeth.

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…

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…

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…

Take the Boat

Gary Brown's poem is an elegy for all the people who took the boat out of Dublin and crossed the Irish Sea for various reasons. Some of them left their homes, never to return; others did, but in altered circumstances. This poem speaks of hope and…

Growing up in Rosslare

Agnes Ferguson sat down with Ports, Past and Present and shared her memories of her family, growing up in Rosslare and the special scent of the wild lupines by the beach.

Working on the Ferries and in the Tourist Office

Agnes Ferguson sat down with Ports, Past and Present to share her family history of her grandfather and father working in the port, meeting her husband on a ferry to Fishguard and her own work for the tourist office.

Memorable Boat Trips

Agnes Ferguson sat down with Ports, Past and Present and talked about her most memorable boat trips of the past which allowed her to experience television, the sampling of deliciously cold soft drinks and the nearby lighthouse for the first time.

Changing Tides | Newidadau yn y llanw

With the introduction of side-loading ferries between Fishguard and Rosslare, significantly more people took advantage of the new service and exchanged railway travel for the convenience of their car. And even though modern ferries are equipped with…

A Stewardess's Duties | Dyletswyddau stiwardes

Margaret Todd from Goodwick sat down with Ports, Past and Present to talk about her former work as stewardess on board the ferries linking Fishguard and Rosslare. She remembers her duties as stewardess, her colleagues and meeting her future husband…

A Model Ship Maker

In the just over 200 years of its existence, Pembroke Dock has had a proud history of building hundrets of ships, large and not so large, motorised and propelled by wind. Although the dockyard has been closed now for several decades, ships still get…

Mudlarking in Pembroke Dock

David James sat down with Ports, Past and Present and shared his memories of moving to Pembroke Dock as a child during the Second World War and the pastimes he enjoyed with friends around the town and down by the river edge.

The Old Girl's Got It

David James sat down with Ports, Past and Present to share his passion for sailing and talks about a particularly fine sailing yacht that he restored and sailed for many years. Ahoi!

Quick as a Lynx | Mor gyflym â Lyncs

During the 1990s, the catamaran Sea Lynx offered the fasted ferry service across the Irish Sea. Elizabeth Todd-Parker sat down with Ports, Past and Present to share her memories and experiences during her time as stewardess on the ship.Yn ystod y…

Rosslare's Welsh Cousins

Agnes Ferguson sat down with Ports, Past and Present and shared her memories of taking the ferry across the Irish Sea ever since she was a child, to visit family and friends living in and around Fishguard.

We'll Keep a Welcome in the Harbour

The saying goes that you never get a better welcome than at Fishguard. This is entirely down to a group of volunteers who call themselves the Fishguard Friendly Faces. Jana Davidson sat down with Ports, Past and Present to talk how the award-winning…

Fishguard at Your Feet | Troedio Abergwaun

For first-time visitors of Fishguard, the Gorsedd circle is a great stop to gain a great view over the bay and Lower Town at their feet to the Preseli Hills in the far distance. Gary Jones talked to Ports, Past and Present why the Gorsedd circle is…

A Room of Her Own

Through the centuries, the Welsh landscape has inspired countless artists, be they travelling through or living locally. Even with all the transformations to the environment, artists still find inspiration wherever they are. Jana Davidson sat down…

The Fishguard Herrings | Sgadan Abergwaun

David Pepper sat down with Ports, Past and Present to share the origin of the old nickname for the people of Fishguard in the once properous trade in herrings before the disappearance of the vast schoals in the eighteenth century.

Tide Comes in, Tide Goes out | Llanw a thrai

Gary Jones sat down with Ports, Past and Present to discuss the effect of the tide on the maritime culture of Fishguard, historical attitudes to death and on the appearance of Lower Town.Eisteddodd Gary Jones i lawr â Phorthladdoedd Ddoe a Heddiw i…

Fishguarrrd! | Aberrrgwaun!

In 1779, US-born Stephen Manhant attacked Fishguard with his ship Black Prince, sailing under a French flag. Prior to his attack on Fishguard, Manhant had destroyed over 30 ships sailing under a British flag and taken many prisoners with the plan to…

Fishguard's Jemimas

The story goes that during the French Invasion of Fishguard in 1797, Jemima Nicholas, a most formidable woman and cobbler, single-handedly rounded up 12 French soldiers, marched them through town and locked them up in St Mary's church. Through…

Fishguard's Irish Groove | Naws Gwyddelig Abergwaun

Folk music in this part of Pembrokeshire has a distincly Irish sound and local phone registers contain many Irish family names. Gary Jones sat down with Ports, Past and Present to explain how the advantagous geography of Fishguard harbour had an…

Swimming after the Storm

Jackie Jones sat down with Ports, Past and Present to share her love for sea swimming in this secluded bay on the Pembrokeshire coastline which is also the location of dramatic outcomes of the Great Storm of 1859 on the village and people of Cwm yr…

The Best Swimming Spot | Y lle nofio gorau

Gary Jones sat down with Ports, Past and Present to discuss the shape of Fishguard Bay and share a top tip for sea swimming near Fishguard.Eisteddodd Gary Jones i lawr â Phorthladdoedd, Ddoe a Heddiw er mwyn trafod siâp Bae Abergwaun ac i rannu…

The Home of Stonehenge | Cartref Côr y Cewri

About 12 miles from Fishguard lies Craig Rhos-y-felin, a special formation of volcanic stone. Recent archaelogical findings suggest that this is the original quarry location of the bluestones, or dolorite, that make up the smaller, inner circle of…

The Watch | Y Watsh

Gareth Huws sat down with Ports, Past and Present and shared the story of a fascinating daily ritual that carried on for nearly a century: the conveyance of a single watch travelling back and forth between Dublin and London via Holyhead.

A Right Mess

Gareth Huws sat down with Ports, Past and Present and shared the story how he and a friend found first employment in the mess and the galley on one of the Holyhead mail ships. It turns out that sometimes it is a good thing to be in a mess.

Of Envoys and Nationalisation

Gareth Huws sat down with Ports, Past and Present and discussed Holyhead's international connections at the end of the nineteenth century, which even included the establishment of a Portuguese consulate, and later developments which changed the port…

Changing Town Life

Gareth Huws sat down with Ports, Past and Present and discussed the significant changes to the town of Holyhead in the shape of its buildings and infrastructure, but also with the influx of new workers from the more rural areas of Anglesey and their…

The Big Bang of Holyhead

Gareth Huws sat down with Ports, Past and Present to talk about the history of the breakwater quarry at the foot of Holyhead Mountain and the day the town celebrated Queen Victoria's visit with a mighty explosion.

Holyhead Breakwater Country Park

Park warden Wil Stewart sat down with Ports, Past and Present and talked about the fascinating origins of the country park and what prospective visitors can expect to find here, ranging from wildlife over spectacular views across the coast to public…