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Displaying items by tag: South Arklow Lightship

The Irish Lights issued a statement about the South Arklow Lightship that didn’t tell the full story.

Their official explanation that it was missing off station was that it had “disappeared.”

In reality it had been sunk!

Dr. Michael Kennedy of the Royal Irish Academy, who is also Executive Editor of ‘Documents on Irish Foreign Policy’, had a remarkable story to tell when he referred to the “Irish amnesiac condition” which has ignored the importance of the sea around our nation. His example, which has left a strong impression on me, is that the history of the First World War focusses strongly on the big land battles in Europe – but Ireland, the Irish coastline and seafarers were on the front line of that war… as were the men of the South Arklow Lightship.

He told me the story, which hasn’t had a lot of public attention, at a maritime history conference in University College, Cork.

Listen to Dr. Kennedy on the Podcast here and also to a tragic story about 338 sailors lost off Bloody Foreland and the rescue by RNLI of a team playing football.

• Tom MacSweeney presents THIS ISLAND NATION radio programme on local stations around Ireland

Published in Tom MacSweeney

The disappearance of the South Arklow Lightship during World War One when it was sunk by a German submarine has been highlighted at a maritime conference in University College Cork, as an example that the First World War was fought not only on foreign fields in Europe, but Ireland and mariners were on the front line. The conference – Winning the Western Approaches, Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland, 1917-18’ has been organised by UCC historian, author and lecturer, Dr.John Borgonovo and is attracting a lot of attention.

Dr.Michael Kennedy of the Royal Irish Academy spoke about Irish Lightkeepers and Lightships being on the Atlantic frontline during the war, of what they saw of the horrors of war, ships being attacked, mines laid by submarines to sink ships and seafarers’ lives lost. He described the attack on the South Arklow Lightship because of its reporting of what was happening. He also described a submarine reportedly firing at Mizen Head Lighthouse in West Cork.

“Lightkeepers saw at first hand the horrors of war, because of Ireland’s strategic location for shipping in the international context,” he said. That their service during the war had not been remembered was an example of the amnesiac memory of Ireland towards maritime affairs. His talk drew strong interest in the role of the men of the Irish Lights service during World War One.

When the South Arklow Lightship was sunk by a U-boat, it was described by Irish Lights at the time that “the lightship has disappeared.” All crew were safe.

Published in Lighthouses
Tagged under

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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