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The 162 gross tonnes tug had served a career of nearly three decades in Dublin Port, after entering service in 1972. Prior to working in Irish waters the 100ft tug spent the previous decade operating in the UK as Appelsider for Lawson-Batey Tugs Ltd who chartered her to Tyne Tugs Ltd. For historical record and photos click HERE.
In 1998 the Dublin Port Company disposed of the Coliemore alongside her running mate Clontarf (1963/178grt) the former Cluain Tarbh, also built from the same Yorkshire shipyard on the banks of the River Humber.
Initially they were towed to Liverpool but they later appeared at Cork Dockyard in 1999. The Clontarf remained there for a year until she was sold to Barcazas Dominicia SA, Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. For photo of the tug in far distant waters click HERE. It was intended Coliemore would follow her Caribbean counterpart but her sale fell-through.
The vessel's ownership eventually transferred to Cork Dockyard where her scrap value will pay for her long-term berthing fees. The tug recently made her final short journey under tow from her berth at the former Verolme Cork Dockyard (VCD) to the facilities slipway where work to break-up the vessel began.
Coliemore and her fleet-mates were given the traditional naming theme of Dublin Bay coastal suburbs spelt in Irish. The naming policy was used by the Dublin Ports & Docks Board (DP&DB) which operated the fleet remained until transferred to the Dublin Port Company established in 1997.
Between the 14-16th centuries Dalkey Sound became increasingly important as larger vessels with deeper drafts could no longer enter the port in Dublin due to the dangers of constantly shifting sandbanks and swallow channels in Dublin Bay.
The nearest alternative was for vessels to anchor off Dalkey Island and in the relative shelter of Dalkey Sound where cargoes for the capital where transferred to and fro by lighters to the coastline along Dalkey at Coliemore, which became the principle port for Dublin. Some of the cargo was stored temporally in the medieval castles in Dalkey, otherwise it was directly transported by horse and cart across the plateau to the city.
It was not until the 17th century that the issue of accessing the port of Dublin was resolved, with the completion of the harbour walls that enabled shipping to return on a frequent basis. Captain Bligh of the 'Mutiny on the Bounty' completed mapping Dublin Bay in 1803 which became the most accurate chart at the time and this aided to the safety of mariners.
The fortunes of Dublin's shipping trade increased due to the combination of an easier and safer navigational channel and deeper depths along the quaysides. This led to the eventual demise of shipping using Dalkey. The present-day harbour structure at Coliemore Harbour was constructed in 1868 and is home to a humble fleet of recreational boats and a passenger-ferry service to the island.
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Following his retirement in September 1980 he worked with Irish Shipping Ltd for a further five years during the construction of the state-owned company ships at the Verolme Cork Dockyard. At the same dockyard, he had also been closely involved in the design and commissioning of the Naval Service's helicopter patrol vessel L.É. Eithne, its largest vessel which was built in 1984.
To read more about the distinguished career of Cdr Liam Ahern and also his wartime role in the Royal Navy, his obituary is published in today's Irish Times.
Jehan Ashmore adds that the L.É. Eithne arrived into Dublin Port this morning to dock at Sir John Rogersons Quay next to the French Navy minehunter Cassiopée (M642) and mine-route survey craft Altaïr, which have been on a visit to the capital for the St. Patrick's festivities.
At 1,760 tonnes the L.É. Eithne is not only the largest vessel of Ireland's eight-strong fleet but is also the last ship of any type built in the Republic of Ireland. For a photo of the 27-year-old ship seen off Cobh (where Cdr Ahern was born) click here.
The 80m vessel has a crew of 85 (9 Officers and 77 ratings). Her main armament is a Bofors 57mm anti-aircraft gun with a LIOD fire control system and two 20mm Rheinmetals.
In 1986 L.É. Eithne made a historic visit as the first Irish Naval Service ship to cross the Atlantic, where she sailed to the United States, visiting Hamilton, New York and Boston. A decade later she became the first Irish Naval ship to tour the continent of South America.