Dingle today is closely associated with superb hospitality, good food, the sporting entertainment of the biennial Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, and the eternal sense of the nearby presence of the mighty Atlantic in one direction, and majestic mountains soaring to the peak of Mount Brandon in the other. Thus it is easy to overlook the fact that this remote yet spirited and independent port has a long history of interacting with the sea for fishing, international trade, and other intriguing activities writes W M Nixon.
The annual Dingle Maritime Weekend in the October Bank Holiday Weekend has been running for six years now to increase awareness of Dingle’s often colourful maritime past. It was established by Kevin Flannery of Dingle Oceanworld and former Harbour Master Captain Brian Farrell (whose tour of duty did so much to bring the harbour to its present healthy state), and the idea is to exlore aspects of that rich heritage, and how it relates to Dingle’s fascinating maritime environment today.
It’s held at the Oceanworld Aquarium and admission is free for three special talks spread in civilized style between the Saturday afternoon and early Sunday afternoon. Thus it’s a user-friendly format which means you can combine the usual multi-activity Dingle holiday weekend with some digestible maritime information. But of course with the varied audience which it usually attracts, all sorts of post-presentation conversations can happily arise.
Dingle Maritime Weekend Programme, 28th and 29th October 2017 at Oceanworld Aquarium
SATURDAY 28th OCTOBER 14:00hrs
'The coast of Kerry in the 16th and 17th centuries: trade, ships, piracy and plunder.'
by Dr Connie Kelleher
The talk will draw on sources such as the High Court of Admiralty Papers, State Papers and other contemporary sources to illustrate episodes when the expansion of maritime empires meant that the diversity of goods traded encouraged smuggling, piracy and corruption. It will show that harbours like Dingle, Ventry and Valentia, rather than being remote, formed part of a network central to this global development in commercial shipping, colonial enlargement and associated growth in opportunistic plunder.
DR CONNIE HELLEHER is a member of the State Underwater Archeology Unit in the National Monuments Service Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Connie is a graduate of UCC with an MA in maritime archaeology and a PhD from Trinity College Dublin on the history and archaeology of piracy in Irish waters in the early 17th century. As a commercially trained diver, her work with the NMS is broad and focuses on the protection of Ireland's underwater cultural heritage. She is visiting lecturer in underwater archaeology in the Archaeology Dept UCC and is a Board member of the international advisory council on underwater archaeology. With several papers and chapters published on piracy in Irish waters, she is currently putting the final edit to her book: “Ireland's Golden Age of Piracy”.
SATURDAY 15:30 hrs
Irish Antarctic Expedition.
PADDY BARRY will give an illustrated talk on the Irish Antarctic Expedition which followed the survival route of Shackleton & Tom Crean by sea in a small boat and then over the mountains of South Georgia.
Tom Crean came from Annascaul on the Tralee to Dingle road, and is one of the Dingle Peninsula’s most internationally-noted historic figures (another is film star Gregory Peck).
Paddy Barry is a Civil Engineer, now retired, who has, during his working life, taken many 'career breaks' to sail to out of the way places, while at the same time somehow maintaining domestic relations on the home front. He lives in Monkstown, Dublin and has worked, apart from Ireland, in the UK, the USA, Malawi and Ethiopia. His first 'big' trip was to America, in the Galway Hooker ' Saint Patrick', followed in the same boat by journeys to Spitsbergen and later to North West Greenland.
In a very much smaller boat he was Skipper of the Irish Antarctic team which followed in the wake of Shackleton's small boat journey. In 2001 he was Expedition Leader of the team who traversed the North West Passage in the vessel 'Northabout'.
Paddy in his sailing boat Ar Seachrán escorted Camino Thar Sáile on its first year of voyaging across the Irish Sea and the Channel to Europe.
Paddy’s talk will be followed by the Kerry Launch of his newly published autobiography, “So Far, So Good – An Adventurous Life”. Available to purchase here.
SUNDAY 29th October 12:30hrs
Smuggling in Dingle in the Eighteenth Century
Speaker Dr Conor Brosnan
DR CONOR BROSNAN will discuss smuggling in Dingle in the eighteenth century. He will explore the reasons, sources, methods and people involved in what was known as Free Trade. He will talk on the methods the authorities used to suppress smuggling and the legacy it left.
Dr Conor Brosnan is a local GP and a member of Dingle Historical Society. He has a deep interest and knowledge of the Dingle area and its history.