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First Minister of Wales Attends RMS Leinster Commemoration Centenary

11th October 2018
RMS Leinster: A waterfront walk of remembrance through the harbour town of Dun Laoghaire took place yesterday on the centenary anniversary of the WWI disaster. There was a great turnout for the special day where Afloat adds the procession passed close to the RMS Leinster (anchor) memorial opposite Carlisle Pier, from where the steamer departed but would never return.  Note appropriately those dressed to represent 'RMS' passengers walk ahead of officials prior to arriving at the state ceremony held beside the dlr Lexicon Library. RMS Leinster: A waterfront walk of remembrance through the harbour town of Dun Laoghaire took place yesterday on the centenary anniversary of the WWI disaster. There was a great turnout for the special day where Afloat adds the procession passed close to the RMS Leinster (anchor) memorial opposite Carlisle Pier, from where the steamer departed but would never return. Note appropriately those dressed to represent 'RMS' passengers walk ahead of officials prior to arriving at the state ceremony held beside the dlr Lexicon Library. Credit: DLRCoCo -twitter

#rmsLeinster - The First Minister of Wales along with Irish dignitaries, ambassadors among them from the UK and Germany attended in Dun Laoghaire yesterday a state commemoration ceremony on the centenary of the sinking of RMS Leinster, writes Jehan Ashmore.

First Minister, Carwyn Jones marked the historic occason with DLRCoCo Cathaoirleach Ossian Smyth and Irish Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan beside the Lexicon Library. The public ceremony involved invited guests and hundreds of relatives of RMS Leinster including those from overseas at close to the harbour's Carlisle Pier from where the steamer made its final departure on that fateful day, 100 years ago on October, 10th 1918.

During the ceremony, a minute of silence took place while offshore the Naval Service L.E. Orla anchored in Scotmens Bay having completed earlier in the morning a memorial trip as part of floltilla out to the site of the wreck. Relatives were on board excursion vessel St. Bridget while local lifeboat, RNLB Anna Livia also took part in the laying of wreaths in rememberance to the victims of the disaster. Also yesterday morning, a ferry from Holyhead, Stena Superfast X paid tribute at the wreck site while making a routine crossing bound for Dublin Port.

The RMS Leinster was operated by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company which had the prestigious contract to carry mail for the British post office service, hence the Royal Mail Steamer prefix of RMS was given to the name of the passenger ship built by Laird Brothers, Birkenhead in 1896. 

At the time 100 year ago, the City of Dublin Steam Packet Co. operated steamer was serving the Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire)-Holyhead service, though because of World War One, RMS Leinster was painted in 'Dazzle Camouflage ' in an attempt to avoid detection by enemy attack.

RMS Leinster however became a casualty of war, having departed Kingstown on a routine sailing, the passenger and mail-boat steamer would never complete the crossing to the north Wales port town on Anglesea. It was off the Kish Bank skirting Dublin Bay, when RMS Leinster was struck by torpedoes from German submarine U-Boat 123 resulting in more than 560 victims (mostly military personnel) which remains the greatest single tragedy on the Irish Sea.

Asides the crew, the postal sorters working on board and civilian passengers, the majority losing their lives were militiary personnel who were either leaving or returning from leave. The military included sailors, soldiers, airmen and military nurses from Ireland, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. 

The disaster occured only one month and a day to the signing on Armistice Day, 11th November, making the end of World War One.

The ceremony also commemorated the loss of the crew from the U-Boat when a week after the attack on RMS Leinster, a mine struck the submarine in the North Sea.

On the other side of the Irish Sea yesterday, a centenary event held in Holyhead, is where the Daily Post reports of hundreds of people lining the street of the town as a procession walked in silence from St Cybi’s Church to the Cenotaph where flags were lowered and wreaths were laid.

A minute’s silence followed the sounding of the Last Post by a lone trumpeter. Children from primary schools in the town were among those paying their own poignant tribute. Earlier, at the service in the church, a roll of honour was read. For more click here.

Published in Dublin Bay
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

© Afloat 2020

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