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World’s Last Sea-Going Paddle Steamer Celebrates 70th Anniversary

1st October 2016
Today, the World's last sea-going paddle steamer, P.S. Waverley which has visited Irish ports, celebrates its 70th anniversary Today, the World's last sea-going paddle steamer, P.S. Waverley which has visited Irish ports, celebrates its 70th anniversary Photo: Waverley Excursions

#Waverley70th - P.S. Waverley, the world’s last sea-going paddle streamer built for Scottish service, which in recent decades has visited Ireland, today celebrates her 70th anniversary since launching, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The paddle steamer built in 1946 was the last of her type commissioned to serve on the Clyde (See YouTube). Since the 1970’s the magnificently preserved excursion paddler steamer with its iconic twin slanting towering funnels, timber decks, gleaming varnish and brass, has struck a chord with the public’s imagination.

This season P.S Waverley included a call to Red Bay, Co. Antrim, though the 925 passenger capacity steamer has in seasons past, included Irish ports calls along with the routine annual UK excursion season. This is mostly concentrated with trips in western Scotland.

As for her excursions along Ireland's eastern seaboard, P.S. Waverley called to Dundalk, Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, Wicklow, Arklow and as far south to Rosslare Harbour.  She is featured on pages 13 and 15 of ‘Maritime’ Dalkey, a series (July 2011-July 2016) published in the Dalkey Community Council Newsletter.

It was on a short hop between Dublin and Dun Laoghaire that I had the first opportunity to sample steam-power. One could not ignore the impressive machinery available to view as those mighty engines where underway, having set off from the capitals Sir John Rogerson’s Quay bound for the harbour's Carlisle Pier.

The draw of nostalgia and for newcomers, is where Waverley Excursions provide a programme of the Glasgow based paddler. P.S Waverley explores the Lochs & Islands of the West Coast of Scotland, among them Firth of Clyde destinations to the Isle of Arran Bute and Cumbrae (see related ferry ‘Lego’ project).

According to the operator’s website, today P.S. Waverley is cruising in London along father Thames, where yesterday on the banks of the famous river the HQ of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) held World Maritime Day along with a debate on global shipping.

Published in Historic Boats
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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