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Shackleton Spearhead's Into Dublin Bay

22nd June 2011
Shackleton Spearhead's Into Dublin Bay

Lord Mayor of Dublin and Admiral of Dublin Port, Gerry Breen, performed the 523 year-old "Casting of the Spear" ceremony in Dublin Bay on midsummer's day, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 'casting' for yesterdays' re-enactment by the Lord Mayor took place onboard the Dublin port Company tug Shackleton.

From the deck of the Spanish built 50-tonne bollard pull tractor-tug, a spear was launched into the sky and fell deep into the cold water's of Dublin Bay. The ceremony once again marked the position of the city boundaries eastwards.

The medieval tradition of 'Casting of the Spear' dates back to 1488 when the then Lord Mayor, Thomas Mayler, set out on his horse to ride the city's boundaries.

According to historical records he rode out onto the strand as far as a man might ride and from there he cast a spear into the sea. At that time, casting the spear demonstrated the extent of the city boundaries eastwards.

The tradition marks one of many significant moments in Dublin Port's long history since its establishment as a trading post some 1,200 years ago.

Published in Dublin Port
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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