Family Histories

A collection of stories created by students of the MA History of Family module 'Linking Families to Communities' at the University of Limerick as part of a collaborative teaching and learning initiative between Dr Rachel Murphy, University of Limerick and Dr James L. Smith, Ports, Past and Present project, University College Cork.

Peerless Jim Driscoll and Little Ireland, Cardiff

Peerless Jim Driscoll (1880-1925) was an outstanding boxer of Irish heritage. Driscoll is described as ‘a fighter who is always mentioned in lists of the greatest pugilists never to have won a world title’. Driscoll grew up in an extremely poor…

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.…

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 Welsh Chapel in Dublin, 1838 to 1939

The Welsh chapel is a story that connects Dublin with Anglesey. In the 1830s, Calvinistic Methodists in north Wales decided to build a chapel in Dublin, mainly for visiting Welsh sailors. The Calvinistic Methodists, who were later known as the…

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…

Mariners' Church, Kingstown in the Nineteenth Century

The Mariners’ Church, Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire) which is today the home of Ireland’s National Maritime Museum was once the principal Church of Ireland in the town. It was a thriving church throughout the nineteenth century with its local…

The People that You Meet in the Neighborhood

The bow of Crofton Road spans Dún Laoghaire harbour. Named for the nineteenth-century Harbour Commissioner, James Crofton, it is today a vibrant seaside address with a rich history. The 1901 census lists just over a dozen residences, but the…

The Ryder Family of Castle Street, Wicklow Town

In the early twentieth century, coastal trading supported the movement of goods along the east coast of Ireland and the west coast of Wales and England. This was a centuries old activity and a way of life for many families on both sides of the Irish…

The Welsh Settlers in Wicklow

Chill Mhantáin, County Wicklow, is located on the east coast of Ireland. In 1897 an article released in the Irish Times referred to the active port as the ‘Lake of Ships’. However, in the late 1800s the port came into disrepair. Parliamentary papers…

A Closer Look at Arklow

Arklow Harbour in county Wicklow on the east coast of Ireland was founded in the ninth century after the Danish Vikings had landed. The Irish name for this town is Inbhear Mór which translates to wide or large estuary. A distinct feature of this town…

Ireland's First Lifeboat Station

A Brief History: Arklow bay is home to a natural sea bank that stretches 10 miles, often referred to as ‘Arklow Bank’ which, due to its natural topography has been the ruin of many seafaring vessels. It is this bank that was one of the main reasons…

The Erosion of Rosslare Spit

Rosslare Harbour has undoubtedly been a mixed blessing since its construction, which began in 1867. However, for the community of people living in an area once known as Rosslare Fort, the downsides of the building of Rosslare Pier and viaducts…

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…

Waterford Shipping Disaster

In December 1917, a double tragedy was to befall the port of Waterford. Within a few days of each other two merchant ships the SS Coningbeg, and the SS Formby were sunk by a German U-Boat. The ships operated a twice weekly trade route between…

Hook Peninsula

With Waterford Harbour to the west, Slade Bay to the east, and the Irish Sea to the south, Hook Peninsula is the southern most point of County Wexford. Like a sentry guarding passage, Hook Lighthouse stands 100 feet high, with walls of remarkable…
All stories shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.