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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

About the Irish Navy

The Navy maintains a constant presence 24 hours a day, 365 days a year throughout Ireland’s enormous and rich maritime jurisdiction, upholding Ireland’s sovereign rights. The Naval Service is tasked with a variety of roles including defending territorial seas, deterring intrusive or aggressive acts, conducting maritime surveillance, maintaining an armed naval presence, ensuring right of passage, protecting marine assets, countering port blockades; people or arms smuggling, illegal drugs interdiction, and providing the primary diving team in the State.

The Service supports Army operations in the littoral and by sealift, has undertaken supply and reconnaissance missions to overseas peace support operations and participates in foreign visits all over the world in support of Irish Trade and Diplomacy.  The eight ships of the Naval Service are flexible and adaptable State assets. Although relatively small when compared to their international counterparts and the environment within which they operate, their patrol outputs have outperformed international norms.

The Irish Naval Service Fleet

The Naval Service is the State's principal seagoing agency. The Naval Service operates jointly with the Army and Air Corps.

The fleet comprises one Helicopter Patrol Vessel (HPV), three Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV), two Large Patrol Vessel (LPV) and two Coastal Patrol Vessels (CPV). Each vessel is equipped with state of the art machinery, weapons, communications and navigation systems.

LÉ EITHNE P31

LE Eithne was built in Verlome Dockyard in Cork and was commissioned into service in 1984. She patrols the Irish EEZ and over the years she has completed numerous foreign deployments.

Type Helicopter Patrol Vessel
Length 80.0m
Beam 12m
Draught 4.3m
Main Engines 2 X Ruston 12RKC Diesels6, 800 HP2 Shafts
Speed 18 knots
Range 7000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 55 (6 Officers)
Commissioned 7 December 1984

LÉ ORLA P41

L.É. Orla was formerly the HMS SWIFT a British Royal Navy patrol vessel stationed in the waters of Hong Kong. She was purchased by the Irish State in 1988. She scored a notable operational success in 1993 when she conducted the biggest drug seizure in the history of the state at the time, with her interception and boarding at sea of the 65ft ketch, Brime.

Type Coastal Patrol Vessel
Length 62.6m
Beam 10m
Draught 2.7m
Main Engines 2 X Crossley SEMT- Pielstick Diesels 14,400 HP 2 Shafts
Speed 25 + Knots
Range 2500 Nautical Miles @ 17 knots
Crew 39 (5 Officers)

LÉ CIARA P42

L.É. Ciara was formerly the HMS SWALLOW a British Royal Navy patrol vessel stationed in the waters of Hong Kong. She was purchased by the Irish State in 1988. She scored a notable operational success in Nov 1999 when she conducted the second biggest drug seizure in the history of the state at that time, with her interception and boarding at sea of MV POSIDONIA of the south-west coast of Ireland.

Type Coastal Patrol Vessel
Length 62.6m
Beam 10m
Draught 2.7m
Main Engines 2 X Crossley SEMT- Pielstick Diesels 14,400 HP 2 Shafts
Speed 25 + Knots
Range 2500 Nautical Miles @ 17 knots
Crew 39 (5 Officers)

LÉ ROISIN P51

L.É. Roisin (the first of the Roisín class of vessel) was built in Appledore Shipyards in the UK for the Naval Service in 2001. She was built to a design that optimises her patrol performance in Irish waters (which are some of the roughest in the world), all year round. For that reason a greater length overall (78.8m) was chosen, giving her a long sleek appearance and allowing the opportunity to improve the conditions on board for her crew.

Type Long Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 78.84m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 X Twin 16 cly V26 Wartsila 26 medium speed Diesels
5000 KW at 1,000 RPM 2 Shafts
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)
Commissioned 18 September 2001

LÉ NIAMH P52

L.É. Niamh (the second of the Róisín class) was built in Appledore Shipyard in the UK for the Naval Service in 2001. She is an improved version of her sister ship, L.É.Roisin

Type Long Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 78.84m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 X Twin 16 cly V26 Wartsila 26 medium speed Diesels
5000 KW at 1,000 RPM 2 Shafts
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)
Commissioned 18 September 2001

LÉ SAMUEL BECKETT P61

LÉ Samuel Beckett is an Offshore Patrol Vessel built and fitted out to the highest international standards in terms of safety, equipment fit, technological innovation and crew comfort. She is also designed to cope with the rigours of the North-East Atlantic.

Type Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 90.0m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 x Wärtsilä diesel engines and Power Take In, 2 x shafts, 10000kw
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)

LÉ JAMES JOYCE P62

LÉ James Joyce is an Offshore Patrol Vessel and represents an updated and lengthened version of the original RÓISÍN Class OPVs which were also designed and built to the Irish Navy specifications by Babcock Marine Appledore and she is truly a state of the art ship. She was commissioned into the naval fleet in September 2015. Since then she has been constantly engaged in Maritime Security and Defence patrolling of the Irish coast. She has also deployed to the Defence Forces mission in the Mediterranean from July to end of September 2016, rescuing 2491 persons and recovering the bodies of 21 deceased

Type Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 90.0m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 x Wärtsilä diesel engines and Power Take In, 2 x shafts, 10000kw
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)

LÉ WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS P63

L.É. William Butler Yeats was commissioned into the naval fleet in October 2016. Since then she has been constantly engaged in Maritime Security and Defence patrolling of the Irish coast. She has also deployed to the Defence Forces mission in the Mediterranean from July to October 2017, rescuing 704 persons and recovering the bodies of three deceased.

Type Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 90.0m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 x Wärtsilä diesel engines and Power Take In, 2 x shafts, 10000kw
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)

LÉ GEORGE BERNARD SHAW P64

LÉ George Bernard Shaw (pennant number P64) is the fourth and final ship of the P60 class vessels built for the Naval Service in Babcock Marine Appledore, Devon. The ship was accepted into State service in October 2018, and, following a military fit-out, commenced Maritime Defence and Security Operations at sea.

Type Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 90.0m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 x Wärtsilä diesel engines and Power Take In, 2 x shafts, 10000kw
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)

Ship information courtesy of the Defence Forces

Irish Navy FAQs

The Naval Service is the Irish State's principal seagoing agency with "a general responsibility to meet contingent and actual maritime defence requirements". It is tasked with a variety of defence and other roles.

The Naval Service is based in Ringaskiddy, Cork harbour, with headquarters in the Defence Forces headquarters in Dublin.

The Naval Service provides the maritime component of the Irish State's defence capabilities and is the State's principal seagoing agency. It "protects Ireland's interests at and from the sea, including lines of communication, fisheries and offshore resources" within the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The Naval Service operates jointly with the Army and Air Corps as part of the Irish defence forces.

The Naval Service was established in 1946, replacing the Marine and Coastwatching Service set up in 1939. It had replaced the Coastal and Marine Service, the State's first marine service after independence, which was disbanded after a year. Its only ship was the Muirchú, formerly the British armed steam yacht Helga, which had been used by the Royal Navy to shell Dublin during the 1916 Rising. In 1938, Britain handed over the three "treaty" ports of Cork harbour, Bere haven and Lough Swilly.

The Naval Service has nine ships - one Helicopter Patrol Vessel (HPV), three Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV), two Large Patrol Vessel (LPV) and two Coastal Patrol Vessels (CPV). Each vessel is equipped with State of the art machinery, weapons, communications and navigation systems.

The ships' names are prefaced with the title of Irish ship or "long Éireannach" (LE). The older ships bear Irish female names - LÉ Eithne, LÉ Orla, LÉ Ciara, LÉ Roisín, and LÉ Niamh. The newer ships, named after male Irish literary figures, are LÉ Samuel Beckett, LÉ James Joyce, LÉ William Butler Yeats and LÉ George Bernard Shaw.

Yes. The 76mm Oto Melara medium calibre naval armament is the most powerful weapon in the Naval Services arsenal. The 76mm is "capable of engaging naval targets at a range of up to 17km with a high level of precision, ensuring that the Naval Service can maintain a range advantage over all close-range naval armaments and man-portable weapon systems", according to the Defence Forces.

The Fleet Operational Readiness Standards and Training (FORST) unit is responsible for the coordination of the fleet needs. Ships are maintained at the Mechanical Engineering and Naval Dockyard Unit at Ringaskiddy, Cork harbour.

The helicopters are designated as airborne from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours, and 45 minutes at night. The aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, on inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains and cover the 32 counties. They can also assist in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and can transport offshore firefighters and ambulance teams. The Irish Coast Guard volunteers units are expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time of departing from the station house in ten minutes from notification during daylight and 20 minutes at night. They are also expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time to the scene of the incident in less than 60 minutes from notification by day and 75 minutes at night, subject to geographical limitations.

The Flag Officer Commanding Naval Service (FOCNS) is Commodore Michael Malone. The head of the Defence Forces is a former Naval Service flag officer, now Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett – appointed in 2015 and the first Naval Service flag officer to hold this senior position. The Flag Officer oversees Naval Operations Command, which is tasked with the conduct of all operations afloat and ashore by the Naval Service including the operations of Naval Service ships. The Naval Operations Command is split into different sections, including Operations HQ and Intelligence and Fishery Section.

The Intelligence and Fishery Section is responsible for Naval Intelligence, the Specialist Navigation centre, the Fishery Protection supervisory and information centre, and the Naval Computer Centre. The Naval Intelligence Cell is responsible for the collection, collation and dissemination of naval intelligence. The Navigation Cell is the naval centre for navigational expertise.

The Fishery Monitoring Centre provides for fishery data collection, collation, analysis and dissemination to the Naval Service and client agencies, including the State's Sea Fisheries Protection Agency. The centre also supervises fishery efforts in the Irish EEZ and provides data for the enhanced effectiveness of fishery protection operations, as part of the EU Common Fisheries Policy. The Naval Computer Centre provides information technology (IT) support service to the Naval Service ashore and afloat.

This headquarters includes specific responsibility for the Executive/Operations Branch duties. The Naval Service Operations Room is a coordination centre for all NS current Operations. The Naval Service Reserve Staff Officer is responsible for the supervision, regulation and training of the reserve. The Diving section is responsible for all aspects of Naval diving and the provision of a diving service to the Naval Service and client agencies. The Ops Security Section is responsible for the coordination of base security and the coordination of all shore-based security parties operating away from the Naval base. The Naval Base Comcen is responsible for the running of a communications service. Boat transport is under the control of Harbour Master Naval Base, who is responsible for the supervision of berthage at the Naval Base and the provision of a boat service, including the civilian manned ferry service from Haulbowline.

Naval Service ships have undertaken trade and supply missions abroad, and personnel have served as peacekeepers with the United Nations. In 2015, Naval Service ships were sent on rotation to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean as part of a bi-lateral arrangement with Italy, known as Operation Pontus. Naval Service and Army medical staff rescued some 18,000 migrants, either pulling people from the sea or taking them off small boats, which were often close to capsizing having been towed into open water and abandoned by smugglers. Irish ships then became deployed as part of EU operations in the Mediterranean, but this ended in March 2019 amid rising anti-immigrant sentiment in the EU.

Essentially, you have to be Irish, young (less than 32), in good physical and mental health and with normal vision. You must be above 5'2″, and your weight should be in keeping with your age.

Yes, women have been recruited since 1995. One of the first two female cadets, Roberta O'Brien from the Glen of Aherlow in Co Tipperary, became its first female commander in September 2020. Sub Lieutenant Tahlia Britton from Donegal also became the first female diver in the navy's history in the summer of 2020.

A naval cadet enlists for a cadetship to become an officer in the Defence Forces. After successfully completing training at the Naval Service College, a cadet is commissioned into the officer ranks of the Naval Service as a Ensign or Sub Lieutenant.

A cadet trains for approximately two years duration divided into different stages. The first year is spent in military training at the Naval Base in Haulbowline, Cork. The second-year follows a course set by the National Maritime College of Ireland course. At the end of the second year and on completion of exams, and a sea term, the cadets will be qualified for the award of a commission in the Permanent Defence Force as Ensign.

The Defence Forces say it is looking for people who have "the ability to plan, prioritise and organise", to "carefully analyse problems, in order to generate appropriate solutions, who have "clear, concise and effective communication skills", and the ability to "motivate others and work with a team". More information is on the 2020 Qualifications Information Leaflet.

When you are 18 years of age or over and under 26 years of age on the date mentioned in the notice for the current competition, the officer cadet competition is held annually and is the only way for potential candidates to join the Defence Forces to become a Naval Service officer. Candidates undergo psychometric and fitness testing, an interview and a medical exam.
The NMCI was built beside the Naval Service base at Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, and was the first third-level college in Ireland to be built under the Government's Public-Private Partnership scheme. The public partners are the Naval Service and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and the private partner is Focus Education.
A Naval Service recruit enlists for general service in the "Other Ranks" of the Defence Forces. After successfully completing the initial recruit training course, a recruit passes out as an Ordinary Seaman and will then go onto their branch training course before becoming qualified as an Able Body sailor in the Naval Service.
No formal education qualifications are required to join the Defence Forces as a recruit. You need to satisfy the interview board and the recruiting officer that you possess a sufficient standard of education for service in the Defence Forces.
Recruit training is 18 weeks in duration and is designed to "develop a physically fit, disciplined and motivated person using basic military and naval skills" to "prepare them for further training in the service. Recruits are instilled with the Naval Service ethos and the values of "courage, respect, integrity and loyalty".
On the progression up through the various ranks, an Able Rate will have to complete a number of career courses to provide them with training to develop their skills in a number of areas, such as leadership and management, administration and naval/military skills. The first of these courses is the Naval Service Potential NCO course, followed by the Naval Service Standard NCO course and the Naval Service senior NCO course. This course qualifies successful candidates of Petty officer (or Senior Petty Officer) rank to fill the rank of Chief Petty Officer upwards. The successful candidate may also complete and graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Leadership, Management and Naval Studies in partnership with Cork Institute of Technology.
Pay has long been an issue for just the Naval Service, at just over 1,000 personnel. Cadets and recruits are required to join the single public service pension scheme, which is a defined benefit scheme, based on career-average earnings. For current rates of pay, see the Department of Defence website.

 

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