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Displaying items by tag: James Joyce

On the 16th June each year people come from far and wide dressed in Edwardian attire to walk, talk and perform around Dublin in commemoration of James Joyce's famous modernist novel "Ulysses". You see lots of bowler hats, parasols and long dresses but you never spot an Edwardian Captain or even a haggard sea-dog in the crowd. This is surely a surprising outcome for a book which is the modern reliving of the adventures of a great sailor i.e. Odysseus and his ten-year voyage home from Troy.

It's not as if ships and the sea don't feature in Ulysses. The book is teeming with marine allusions, references and characters which, given Joyce's capacity for inch-perfect description, can be relied upon to hold many satisfying insights. Take the case of the steamship Erin's King.

The Erin's King arrives into the novel as Leopold Bloom reflects on a letter from his daughter Milly who has just celebrated her fifteenth birthday -

"On the Erin's King that day round the Kish. Damned old tub pitching about. Not a bit funky. Her pale blue scarf loose in the wind with her hair."

Later the ship returns to Bloom's thoughts as he crosses O'Connell Bridge -

"Looking down he saw flapping strongly, wheeling between the gaunt quay walls, gulls…They wheeled lower. Looking for grub. Wait. He threw down among them a crumpled paper ball… The ball bobbed unheeded on the wake of swells, floated under by the bridge piers. Not such damn fools. Also the day I threw that stale cake out of the Erin's King picked it up in the wake fifty yards astern. Live by their wits. They wheeled, flapping".

That evening he sits at Sandymount strand near St. Mary's, Star of the Sea, church. Noticing the distant twinkle from the Kish lightship he again recalls the trip with Milly -

"Day we went out for the pleasure cruise in the Erin's King, throwing them the sack of old papers. Bears in the zoo. Filthy trip. Drunkards out to shake up their livers. Puking overboard to feed the herrings. Nausea. And the women, fear of God in their faces. Milly, no sign of funk. Her blue scarf loose, laughing. Don't know what death is at that age."

Was there ever a real ship named Erin's King? An examination of Lloyd's register for 1904 (the year in which Ulysses is set) reveals no such vessel. It requires a wider trawl of thirty-five years of Lloyds to reveal her full story.

For the greater part of her life she was named Heather Bell. Built in 1865 by T. Vernon & Son of Liverpool she was a twin funnel vessel, 159.8ft in length with paddles to stern, a steam engine rated at 80 horsepower and registered tonnage of 205. She was owned by Wallasey Local Board and worked as a Mersey Ferry on the Wallasey to Liverpool route. Heather Bell had a reputation as a good ship.

In 1891 her ownership changed to an individual named Ward who registered her with Lloyds as "Erin's King (ex Heather Bell)". Thereafter she operated as an excursion steamer taking sightseers out around Dublin Bay.

Erin's King berthed at Custom's House Quay and travelled out as far as the Kish lightship to the south and northwards to Ireland's Eye island. The fare was a shilling and she sailed several times a day in the Summer.

In the Lloyd's Register for 1901, her details are overprinted with a stamp "Broken up 00". Erin's King ex Heather Bell was dismantled on the Mersey not far from where she was built.

From the above, we can see that Bloom's trip on Erin's King had to be some years before 1904 and that the fictitious Milly Bloom would have been a young child when they rounded the Kish. The point for the reader is that the ship and the excursions are already in the past and that as Milly moves into adolescence Bloom is making a fatherly recall of her as a child. That Joyce intended this is clear from the words "Don't know what death is at that age".

The final mention of Erin's King is in the Nighttown episode where Bloom's deepest fears, anxieties and guilt rise up in a series of fierce assaults on his mind. It occurs in a single sentence which Joyce has placed in parenthesis and italics in the manner of a stage direction.

"(Far out in the bay between Bailey and Kish lights the Erin's King sails, sending a broadening plume of coalsmoke from her funnel towards the land.)"

It is the last we see of Erin's King as she sails into eternity.

Footnote

Erin's King which features in James Joyce's in Ulysses is pictured at the top of this page. She is shown here in her original manifestation as a Mersey Ferry, Heather Bell. When launched in 1865 she cost £7,500 to construct. She was sold in 1891 for £950 and renamed Erin's King.

The author is researching the Erin's King and would be interested in hearing from anybody who has items, photos, material or information about the ship and/or the St. George Steam Tug Company, Dublin. Contact him below by email.

Works consulted for this article were:

  • Ulysses by James Joyce. The 1934 text, as corrected and reset in 1961, The Modern Library. Quotations are from pages 67,152,379 and 550.
  • Ulysses annotated, Notes for James Joyce's Ulysses. Don Gifford with Robert J. Seidman (Author). University of California Press, Berkeley 94704.
  • Website: History of Wallasey Ferries
  • Lloyds Register of Shipping Online
  • The Coming of the Comet – The Rise and Fall of the Paddle Steamer. (2012) Nick Robins (Author). Seaforth Publishing.
Published in Historic Boats
Tagged under

Youghal, on the East Cork coastline, was once the biggest Irish port trading with Britain. It has a long and proud maritime history, with many men serving at sea in the naval and merchant marine. The current edition of THIS ISLAND NATION radio programme gives listeners a unique look at life aboard one of the Naval Service’s newest vessels, the LE James Joyce, built at a cost of €54m.
CRY 104FM, where THIS ISLAND NATION is produced, has been given unique access to the ship and a three-part documentary series has been made about three men from Youghal who are serving aboard the vessel. They are Chief Petty Officer Kevin Mulcahy and Petty Officers Mark Ansbro and Brian Crowley. Uniquely, another member of the Naval Service, also from Youghal – Leading Seaman Ron Coveney, in his sixteenth year of service – has been given exclusive access and permission to make a three-part radio documentary about life aboard the vessel, called: LE JAMES JOYCE – THE YOUGHAL CONNECTION. It recounts also what life is like for the families of servicemen and how they cope with life while the menfolk are at sea.

YOUGHAL SAILORS BROADCASTERS

From L-R Commander Cormac Rynne Officer Commanding Shore Operations, Series Producer LS Ron Coveney. LS Alan Cronin, CPO David Hughes, PO James McGrath.

THIS ISLAND NATION broadcasts an extract from the series which begins transmission on CRY 104 FM from Thursday October 22nd at 6.30 p.m., with the second and third parts being broadcast at the same time on October 29 and November 5. The series can also be heard online on www.cry104fm.com produced and presented by Ron Coveney, Leading Seaman in the Naval Service.
The programme also reports the success of Irish lifesavers in winning the top awards in Europe and the huge gift of €8m. which the lifeboat service has received in the form of two historic Ferraris. The reaction of Aran Islanders to winning their battle with the Government over the air service to the islands is also reported.

Published in Island Nation
Tagged under

#EnterDryDockVideo - Afloat.ie has been informed by the Department of Defence that sea-trials of Naval Service latest newbuild OPV90 James Joyce took place between 6-9 March with delivery due shortly, writes Jehan Ashmore.

As originally reported, the trials took place in the Bristol Channel which is accessed from the estuary to where her builder's yard, Babcock Marine & Technology is located in Appledore, Devon. 

After her delivery to the Naval Service, the €54m newbuild is to be commissioned in May. Likewise of her predecessor and delivery of the third and final newbuild in late 2016, the trio will feature drone technology and un-manned mini submarine capability. This will dramatically improve surveillance and incident response times.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the dry-docking of LÉ Samuel Beckett (P61) in Cork Dockyard last month was a pre-scheduled period and the date of entering the facility can now be revealed to have begun on 23 February.

According to the Naval Service the dry-docking was standard practice with new vessels to ensure all is well with hull fittings and the ship's capability.

The above video footage only recently published was taken from L.E. Samuel Beckett's bridge-mounted camera view that overlooks the bow of the leadship OPV90 class.

The scene shown is of the OPV departing off the Naval Base's harbour berth on Haubowline Island in lower Cork Harbour. From there she makes the short passage upriver to Cork Dockyard.

As the OPV90 heads closer to Cork Dockyard, Afloat.ie had previously reported of a blue-hulled Russian research vessel among other crafts berthed along the quayside. This vessel was the Geolog Dmitriy Nalivkin of 1,935 tonnes built in 1995 during the Soviet era at a yard in Turku, Finland.

Next we see the LÉ Samuel Beckett (P61) swing into the dry-dock, or graving dock which is 165.5m (539ft) long by 22.5m (73ft) wide and with an access width of 21.3m (70ft).

The dockyard was originally established by James Wheeler in 1853. Currently, Cork Dockyard, is a member of the Burke Shipping Group which is a subsidiary of the Doyle Group.

Published in Navy
The flagship of the Irish Ferries fleet Ulysses celebrates her 10th anniversary on the Dublin-Holyhead port route, writes Jehan Ashmore.
At 50,938 gross tonnes, the cruiseferry which has space for 1,875 passengers and 1,342 vehicles, remains the largest ferry operating on the Irish Sea. Over the decade she has made approximately 14,000 crossings which equates to 826,000 nautical miles on the route linking the Irish capital and Anglesey, north Wales.

In January 2000 the keel of the worlds largest car ferry was laid at the Aker Finnyards in Rauma, Finland. The following year the €100m cruiseferry giant departed the shipyard on a four-day delivery voyage to Dublin Port. Upon Ulysses's arrival on 4th March she was presented with a traditional welcoming escort of saluting water-firing tugs.

The Ulysses was named at a ceremony in the port on 21st March by the 'golden godmother' Mairead Berry, Ireland's 25-year old Paralympic Games gold medallist. Four days later Ulysses made her commercial maiden voyage to Holyhead on 25th March.

Wih 12 decks the vessel has an extensive range of facilities and they are named with themes derived from James Joyce's famous novel 'Ulysses'. There is seating available for up to 1,938 passengers and there are 117 twin or single-cabins, accommodating up to 228 passengers.

Only two months into service the Ulysses won the prestigious 'Most Significant New Build - Ferry' category award in the Cruise & Ferry magazine 2001 Awards competition. Her Finnish builders are not only builders of large cruise-ferries for Baltic Sea operators and beyond but also are also renowned for the construction of very large cruiseships for international clients.

Ulysses was designed specifically to serve the central corridor route with a schedule of two round trips daily. She directly replaced the 1997 Dutch built 34,031 grt ro-pax Isle of Inishmore, which transferred to Rosslare-Pembroke Dock service.

In 2006 the Ulysses alongside her fleetmates were transferred from the Irish flag to the Cypriot flag in addition to a change of Irish crew with those outsourced from citizens mostly from the Baltic and Eastern European countries.

Due to the sheer size of the Ulysses, which has a length of 209m, a beam of nearly 32m and a 6.4m draught, she has not missed a single crossing due to bad weather conditions. The vessel has a 22 knot / 41kph service -speed on the 60-mile route which translates to a distance of over 182,000 kms a year.

To celebrate Ulysses 10th year in service, Irish Ferries has enhanced the Club Class option to passengers which includes free-Wifi, which enables a constant connection and an array of other benefits during the 3-hour 15 minute crossing.

For a virtual tour of the Ulysses with views taken from the top deck as the cruiseferry departs Holyhead and the mountains of Snowdonia setting as a backdrop plus interior tours of the vessel click here.

Published in Ferry
A second drill-rig platform, the Pauline was positioned in Dublin Bay on Friday, to investigate suitable conditions for an outfall discharge pipe from the Ringsend wastewater treatment plant, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The work is part of a Dublin City Council project to evaluate an extension at the Ringsend plant where treated water will be released into the bay. The council are conducting detailed feasibility studies which will be examined for an Environmental Impact Assessment.

To date the project has involved two other rigs, the Aran 250 and the larger Excalibur which remains in the bay. The barges will be towed to 20 pre-determined bore-hole locations in the bay where the jack-up rig barges operate 'legs' to sit on the seabed which enables a steady working platform. The rigs are operating on a continuous basis in an area covering most of Dublin Bay and close to the Burford Bank on the eastern fringes.

In addition a buoy will be positioned 300-metres of the barge during drill operations, which is expected to take approximately one week for each drill. For information on the location of the bore-holes, they can viewed from the Dublin Port website by clicking HERE The project is expected to be completed in late Spring.

Several support craft are engaged in the project that recently included the Seabed Worker, a 3,923 gross tonnes Norwegian anchor-handling tug supply vessel (AHTS) the tugs Multratug 7, MTS Valiant and Trojan and the RIB-craft sisters, Brian Boru and James Joyce which are on standby duties. Like the Trojan, the 12-seater RIBS are based at the Poolbeg Yacht Club Marina where in the tourist season the craft provide excursions in Dublin Bay for Sea Safari Tours. In October the project also required the services of the yellow-hulled catamaran, Xplorer to carry out a bathymetric survey of Dublin Bay. The larger tugs and rigs are based opposite in Alexandra Basin / Ocean Pier.

The largest drill-rig working to date on the project, the Excalibur arrived under the tow of the Multratug 7 on a misty morning on Christmas Day. Due to the weather conditions the red-hulled craft slipped quietly into the port. Several days later the imposing looking craft re-emerged with its six-towering jack-up 'sea-legs' that jutted skywards into an otherwise horizontal expanse of Dublin Bay.

The sight of the rig has presented many onlookers to mistakenly believe the drilling was for oil!...Not so but the assumption is not surprising given the reports last year of an oil-field discovery named the Dalkey Island Prospect. The name for the oil-field was referred to Dalkey, as the coastal suburb on the southern shores is the nearest landfall to the exploratory well sites at the Kish Bank Basin.

In fact this kind of exploratory activity was again to confuse residents throughout the bay when the drill-ship, Fugro Synergy was offshore at the Kish Bank between December 2009 and early Spring of 2010. Though on this occasion the search was not for oil but coal!

During this period the 5,200 tonnes vessel equipped with a drill-tower, seemed to be a near permanent feature on the horizon. A series of drill-wells up to 3,500-metres were conducted when the 2009 built ship was contracted to Irish based VP Power Ltd, to determine the commercial viability of extracting coal from the sea for generating electricity. The Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) project is a process where coal is heated in underwater rock reservoirs to extract gas, essentially converting gas-from-coal energy. Otherwise this method is commonly referred to as a 'clean' technology.

In addition to last year's search for deposits of large coal seams under the seabed, there was reports of a significant natural resource in the form of oil!... when several exploratory blocks again in the Kish Bank Basin were surveyed. The company behind this venture, Provident Resources, another Irish based exploration company, conducted initial oil surveys using air-born craft and as such no actual drill-based ships or rigs were used. Though should any oil flow, such an operation would be required.

Incidentally the Excalibur is designed also to perform offshore wind turbine installation work and is equipped with a 250-ton crane to hoist the wind-farm components. The vessel is operated by Fugro Seacore, a subsidiary of the Dutch parent company, Fugro, which also managed the drill-ship Fugro Synergy.

Published in Dublin Bay
The jack up barge Aran 250 has been positioned in Dublin bay to carry out Borehole Drilling. The work is part of a Dublin City Council (DCC) project relating to the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant. It will involve the use of either the jack-up barge "Aran 250" or "Excalibur".

These jack-up barges will be used for the drilling of test boreholes at various locations within Dublin Bay and its approaches. Initially, the "Aran 250" will be used and it is expected that under normal conditions it will operate on a 24 hour / 7 day week basis.

At all times when the jack-up barge is on location it will transmit an "AIS" signal. By night the barge will display white lights (operated in unison) flashing Morse code (U) every 15 seconds. These will be located at each corner. The barge itself will be lit by operational deck lights.

When the jack-up barge is operational it will have the standby boat "James Joyce" with two people on board in attendance. They will tie-up to a buoy moored approximately 300 metres away from the barge. The small tug "Trojan" will operate as a supply boat and will be based at the Poolbeg Marina. The Trojan will also be used for towing the barge from one location to the next.

The test borehole drilling positions (WGS 84) are as follows :-

M06 Lat 53˚ 19' 53.46'' N Long 006˚ 09' 39.08'' W M15 Lat 53˚ 19' 11.35'' N Long 006˚ 06' 58.16'' W

M07 Lat 53˚ 19' 11.27'' N Long 006˚ 08' 21.42'' W M16 Lat 53˚ 18' 32.75'' N Long 006˚ 06' 33.07'' W

M08 Lat 53˚ 19' 50.64'' N Long 006˚ 06' 21.73'' W M17 Lat 53˚ 20' 23.37'' N Long 006˚ 05' 16.93'' W

M09 Lat 53˚ 18' 38.17'' N Long 006˚ 05' 45.02'' W M18 Lat 53˚ 19' 32.50'' N Long 006˚ 05' 19.69'' W

M10 Lat 53˚ 17' 44.38'' N Long 006˚ 03' 41.33'' W M19 Lat 53˚ 18' 16.91'' N Long 006˚ 05' 02.71'' W

M11 Lat 53˚ 19' 42.31'' N Long 006˚ 03' 22.31'' W M20 Lat 53˚ 17' 51.94'' N Long 006˚ 04' 43.04'' W

M12 Lat 53˚ 19' 00.03'' N Long 006˚ 00' 25.74'' W M21 Lat 53˚ 18' 56.68'' N Long 006˚ 04' 07.12'' W

M13 Lat 53˚ 19' 51.50'' N Long 006˚ 10' 13.42'' W M22 Lat 53˚ 19' 09.75'' N Long 006˚ 02' 37.54'' W

M14 Lat 53˚ 19' 59.29'' N Long 006˚ 07' 53.39'' W M23 Lat 53˚ 18' 48.98'' N Long 005˚ 59' 07.97'' W

Each location will take approximately 1 week to drill. Drilling will not follow in sequence listed above. VTS will keep all shipping advised with regards to the location at which the barge is operating.

More detail is contained in a marine notice issued by Dublin Port Company's
Harbour Master, Captain David T. Dignam HERE

Published in Dublin Bay

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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