Crossing Stories

Material in the Ports, Past and Present collection telling the story of passenger ferry and mail boat crossings.

The Smalls Lighthouse Tragedy | Trasiedi Goleudy’r Smalls

The cluster of rocks known as The Smalls, 20 miles off the coast of south west Wales, was a major shipping hazard, notorious for ferocious rip tides, until 1777 when an unorthodox timber lighthouse structure was erected consisting of nine stout oak…

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.

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…

The Sinking of the St. Patrick | Suddo’r St. Patrick

The St. Patrick was the only ferry still sailing between Ireland and Wales during World War Two. The others, the St. David and the St. Andrew, had been requisitioned as hospital ships serving the European front. The St. Patrick made a regular daily…

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…

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…

Tuskar Rock Folklore

The Tuskar Rock Lighthouse stands on a rocky islet 11.3km or 7 miles off the south east corner of the island of Ireland. The lighthouse was constructed to warn ships of what has long been a graveyard of sailors, part of a band of treacherous waters…

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.

How was Kingstown affected by the sinking of the Leinster?

For the community of Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire), 10 October 1918 began like any day in a busy port town. The first locals knew of the incident was the sound of the torpedoes. The Royal Mail Ship (and passenger ferry) Leinster was on its regular…

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…

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.…

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…

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…