Irish Sea Literatures

A collection of stories written for the Ports, Past and Present Project showcasing the literary narratives clinging to the waters and coasts of the Irish Sea Basin.

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…

Folklore and Music Traditions of Wexford Harbour

Sailing ships needed large crews and a seafarer tradition became an important source of employment in Wexford in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The fishing industry thrived, and with it the prosperity of this coastal community. By 1788…

The Worst Spot in Wales | Y Lle Gwaethaf yng Nghymru

In September of 1727, Jonathan Swift embarked on a return trip to Ireland from London. Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Swift was riding high on the success of his recently published Gulliver’s Travels. He was also though anxious for news of…

Mary Delany and the Irish Sea

Mary Delany (1700-1788) was no stranger to crossing the Irish Sea. She had made one trip to Ireland as a young widow in 1731 and, when she later lived in Ireland between 1744 and 1767, she made regular visits back to England. Delany generally made…

Pedalling through Wales

Seventy years ago, a young woman from Lismore County Waterford set out with her bicycle on her first trip out of Ireland alone. The trip would take her to England, a ‘Pagan land’ something that did not go unnoticed by her neighbours some of whom were…

A Brief Encounter between Joyce and Yeats

When James Joyce left Ireland for exile in continental Europe, he passed through Holyhead, taking the train from there to Euston. The poem W.B. Yeats, already a great success in London, had heard from his friend Lady Gregory about the talented and…