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Icebound Endruance

Shackleton Endurance Exhibition

11th September 2012 – 30th August 2014, 11.00am – 5.00pm in Dún Laoghaire Harbour
Telephone : 0868523498, Website : www.shackletonexhibition.com


Family € 18, Adult € 8, Child € 5. Group rates: Adult € 7.50, Child € 4.50

On display are over 150 photographs taken by the Expedition photographer Frank Hurley, a full size exact replica of the James Caird; the lifeboat that proved so critical to the rescue, and much, much more.  The exhibition tells a survival story like no other: Irish-born explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition of 1914-1917.


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National Maritime Museum of Ireland, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland

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The Board of Directors for 2012-2013 are:

    • President: Peadar Ward
    • Deputy President: John Moore
    • Secretary: Therese King
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    • Barry Desmond (President Emeritus)
    • John Paul Durkan
    • Richard McCormick
    • Breasal O’Caollai
    • Hugh O’Rorke
    • Noel Vaughan
    • Raymond Traynor
The Board of Directors for 2013-2014 are:

  • President: Peadar Ward
  • Deputy President: John Moore
  • Secretary: Therese King
  • Treasurer: Gareth Davis
  • Membership Secretary: Lorrie Kelly
  • Museum: Roger Kirker
  • CE/Vol: Ray Traynor
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  • Marketing: Rupert Bowen
  • Rules: Barry Desmond
  • Gen: Noel Vaughan
  • Fundraising: Hugh O’Rorke
  • Library: Richard McCormick
  • Retail: Breasal O’Caoillai

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Much of the material on this site has been, or will be, published in “The Trident”, or in “Iris Na Mara” the newsletter or the journal of The Maritime Institute of Ireland. Where, the copyright rests

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guarding neutral ireland

LOP 6 Howth Head

LOP 6 Howth Head

The Coastwatching Service in Howth, Co. Dublin: LOP 6, the Summit, Howth

Michael Kennedy (difp at iol.ie)

[paper delivered to the Howth Historical Society, February 2009]
For a PDF version of this page: click here

I: Introduction

May I begin by thanking you for the invitation to address the society this evening, as it is always a pleasure to talk about the coast watching service, Ireland’s frontline troops during the Second World War? Dermot Quinn’s invitation has given me the opportunity to undertake some new research into the role of the service on the east coast of Ireland by focussing on the records of the Look Out Post, the ruins of which until recently stood in the car park at the summit on Howth Head.
My talk has two sections. Firstly I’d like to look at Howth Head LOP in the general context of the Coast Watching Service and talk about what the service was and how the Howth post operated within that structure. Then I’d like to focus on the post in day-to-day operation during a particular period of the Second World War, a period usually ignored by historians of the Battle of the Atlantic. Most accounts of the conflict in Atlantic end in the summer of 1943 when through technology and combined naval and air power the Allies defeated the U-boat. However I want to focus on a later period and that is the first months of 1945, the final months of the Second World War. In these months a renewed U-boat campaign began in the coastal waters around Britain and Ireland. That campaign brought German submarines into the Irish Sea for the first time and this led to increased Allied air and naval operations off the east coast of Ireland. Looking out east across thirty miles of sea towards Wales as well as southeast across Dublin Bay, the Kish bank and down the Irish Sea towards Wicklow Head, Howth Head lookout post was in a prime position to view this development in the war at sea.  I should explain that one further reason for picking early 1945 is a practical one. The logbooks for the post only survive from 1943 to 1945. This precludes examination of one obvious area, and that is the role of the LOP in the air defence of Dublin during the period surrounding the North Strand bombing of May 1941.

II: LOP 6 in local geostrategic and Command level contexts

By the final year of the war the coastwatchers were a well-trained force with considerable active service experience. As local men employed in their own locality they knew the conditions to expect in the area and by early 1945 could be relied upon to supply an accurate picture of the events unfolding before them. With their binoculars, telescopes and telephones they sighted and reported the events unfolding around them through the Second World War. And do not forget that Ireland was on the frontline of that conflict from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945 and in the Battle of the Atlantic the coastwatchers witnessed the longest battle of the conflict being fought off Ireland’s shores.
Howth Head was LOP 6 in Number 1 District, which stretched from Ballagan Point in Louth to Kilmichael Point in north Wexford. In effect this was the coastal region of the Defence Force’s Eastern Command. Each post was operated by a group of eight men, one corporal and seven volunteers. It was enough to man three watches with a watch of two men off duty. The NCO in charge of Howth Head was Corporal John Rourke. From the records available and through the work of Tony Kinsella, we know that eight volunteers, the rank and file coast watchers who manned the post through the Second World War were Roger Austin, John Gallagher, Thomas MacLaughlin, Tom MacNally, Andy Moore, Paddy Moore, John Redmond and Tom Redmond. While the Gardaí at Howth could be relied upon to call the LOP on the Summit close to 11pm and 8am, the logbooks also show the regular but unpredictable visits of Corporal Rourke, the NCO in charge of the post, and his superior, the District Officer Captain Jordan made unscheduled visits at all hours which were essential to
keeping the men on their toes and alert.
The men on Howth Head had by January 1945, like their colleagues in 82 other posts along the Irish coastline, kept a 24-hour watch seven days a week along the Irish coast since September 1939. They stretched from Ballagan Point in Louth to Malin Head in Donegal, divided into groups to make up 18 districts each district under the control of a Lieutenant or a Captain. Districts were grouped together to report to Reporting Centres at Command and later at Air Defence Sector level. They were primarily an invasion warning force, but they were in reality an air and marine observer corps who provided essential intelligence information to G2, the Military
Intelligence Branch of the Defence Forces. Made up of former members of the inter-war Volunteer Force, the army reserve and those with marine experience who joined in 1939, the rank and file coastwatchers were equivalent to privates in the regular Defence Forces and the only promotion in the service was to Corporal, the NCO who headed each post.

The physical location of the LOP is a factor we also need to consider. The post was sited 550 feet above sea level and faced due east. Its main windows faced directly out to sea and its secondary focus being South and North along the coast. One should also take account of the local geography – for example the Howth post could not directly see down into Howth Harbour and the member of the watch patrolling outside had restricted visibility to the north and northwest and southwest over Dublin when compared to the clear field of vision northeast, east and south east.
Weather conditions are also important – how prone was the post to fog for example; how did its fare in the changing seasons and the hours of daylight available?
One should also factor in what one might call human frailties. By this I mean that the coast watchers were subject to the same foibles as you and I. For example, they suffered from the effects of tiredness, were not always fully alert, fell asleep on watches, drew of false conclusions and were working in conditions where they lacked general overall information on the forces they were observing. With regard to this last point, the Irish Defence Forces during the emergency, and in particular G2, were conscious that information regarding the most up-to-date military equipment and technologies was not available to them and intelligence suffered accordingly.
Coastwatchers were also instructed to report only the most basic form of information structured to the set pattern outlined above.
The neighbouring posts were Rush nine miles to the north and Dalkey seven to the south across Dublin Bay. The post’s own location covered the approaches to Dublin Bay. But with the effective closing of the Irish Sea to marine traffic following the laying of a minefield from the Wexford coast to Wales in May 1940, Howth Head saw little other than routine local marine traffic until the end of the war. Occasionally the post recorded an Irish Shipping vessel passing the Kish and a handful of times during the final months of the war Marine Service Motor Torpedo Boats and the patrol vessel Muirchú were sighted. The vast majority of incidents recorded in the post logbook referred to air activity and observations and is therefore not surprising that the primary role of Howth Head LOP was with regard to the air defence of Dublin.

III: The Air Defence of Dublin

Howth Head was the North Eastern limit of the no-fly zone over Dublin city a rough rectangle from Howth Head south to Dalkey, west to Tallaght, north to Collinstown airport and back to Howth Head. Aircraft inside this zone could be and were fired upon without warning by the anti-aircraft guns in the vicinity – their targets included American, German and British aircraft, as well as a handful of friendly fire incidents directed at Irish military and civil aircraft. Unlike their colleagues in Rosslare and in Donegal, there is no record of these guns scoring hits on incoming aircraft. Located with the lookout post on Howth Head were a sound locator, a
searchlight and a light anti-aircraft gun, most likely a heavy machine gun. Dublin’s air defence during the Second World War was extremely basic and well below strength. Searchlights at Howth, Clontarf, Ringsend, Blackrock and Dalkey working with sound locators on Howth Head and Sorrento Park in Dalkey would to identify aircraft and work in conjunction with batteries of heavy medium and light anti-aircraft guns to defend the city. An air attack on Dublin was expected from the east with incoming aircraft using the River Liffey as a landmark to position before attacking the strategic locations of Dublin Port with its oil storage tanks, the General Post Office, Government Buildings and the Telephone Exchange in the city centre as well as Defence Forces GHQ at Parkgate Street. All these facilities were located along the line of the Liffey. The incoming aircraft were expected to be lined up on their bombing run by the time they entered Dublin Bay and the heavy guns – two at Clontarf and four at Ringsend could engage targets up to 6½ miles away, that is to say
approximately the eastern end of the no-fly zone over the city marked by a line between Howth Head and Dalkey.
So within this context the LOP on Howth head had a very important strategic role in defence of Dublin city. The system was undoubtedly primitive, but working with posts along the east coast and as far southwest as Brownstown Head in Waterford, Howth Head reported all air traffic to Air Defence Command and ultimately, once a countrywide reporting structure was in place, to Air Defence Command’s Eastern Sector where aircraft were plotted. The night of the North Strand bombing of 30-31 May 1941 saw the system operate with considerable success, the major failing being that the phone system connecting LOPs to ADC in Dublin Castle
was overloaded and temporarily collapsed.
So it is predominantly air-traffic that I will talk about tonight. The LOP had a commanding view of traffic to and from Collinstown, now Dublin, airport nine miles west north west and also from the Air Corps base at Baldonnell to the south west of Dublin. Indeed daily Air Corps patrols along the east coast and the daily Aer Lingus return flight to England, to Liverpool and Manchester, are routine entries in the post logbook. But the logbook presents a puzzle at this point. Here are two scenarios. Is it possible that, perhaps possibly if a dignitary were on board, or material of sensitive nature was being transported, the post logged a single Aer Lingus Douglas DC-3 being joined in flight and escorted shortly after takeoff by an Air Corps biplane. For example at 1142 on the morning of 5 January 1945 the LOP logged one Douglas DC3 six miles northwest of the post flying east at 4,000 feet being escorted by an Air Corps biplane four miles northwest of the post at a higher altitude. If so it looks like the Air Corps fighter escorted the Aer Lingus plane to the limits of Irish airspace
because the post also regularly logged a returning Air Corps biplane shortly after the Aer Lingus aircraft had passed. I can’t say for certain, but possibly these were amongst the last flights of the Aer Corps three remaining Gloster Gladiators, which were finally struck off charge on 31 March 1945. However the Howth Head logbook records Irish biplanes flying in and out of Collinstown through April and May 1945, so presumably these are Aer Lingus’ de Havillands. So perhaps rather than escorted flights what the LOP was observing was two Aer Lingus flights taking off in close proximity to each other and flying together out over the Irish Sea. There are no 100% identifiable reports in the period I have examined of any of the sixteen Hurricanes that the Air Corps had on charge on 31 March 1945, though scores of low-wing, single-engined, single tailed monoplanes are reported passing the post. Perhaps one would have expected Hurricanes to escort important flights rather than the slower antiquated Gladiators. Which returns me to the likelihood of the aircraft being Aer Lingus de
Havilland biplanes. Presumably recourse to a timetable might answer this conundrum – however it shows the limits of the LOP logbook.

IV Analysing Coast Watching Service reports

Examining reports from a variety of posts along the coast shows the coastwatchers as a force that, despite differences of ability between posts, was capable and consistent in its operations and, despite various failings and the low level of technology available to them, a force that accredited itself favourably. Reports of incidents from posts tally not only with reports from neighbouring posts but also with reports from the belligerent forces that the coast watchers were observing. In fact the British often used coast watching service reports being radioed by Command Headquarters to Dublin to monitor the activity of their own aircraft.

When analysing reports from the LOPs it is best to follow a similar approach to that of military intelligence. Individual incidents reported by coastwatchers eachprovide interesting episodes, but they do not illustrate anything more than that specific incident. Incident reports were phoned to Command level reporting centres in a standard format across the Coast Watching Service network. To give you some examples: Volunteers T. Redmond and R. Moore reported to Marine Sector at 1629 on New Year’s Day 1945 that they had ‘Seen one LIBERATOR monoplane 6 miles EAST of post flying SOUTH altitude 2000 feet Nationality British Visibility
Moderate.’ Early the following morning their colleagues T. McLaughlin and F Gallagher reported at 0304 ‘Aircraft heard five miles NORTH EAST of post moving SOUTH altitude and nationality unknown Visibility Moderate.’ The day watch of 2 January, F Redmond and T McNally, reported at 0957 ‘8 Low Wing Single Tailed Twin Engined monoplanes 7 miles NORTH EAST of post moving SOUTH EAST altering course 6 miles SOUTH EAST and returning NORTH EAST heights from 2000 to 3000’. It sounds like aircraft training, but the precise aircraft type is not clear.
Such reports need to be pieced together to provide a general narrative and analysis over a period of time.
The tendency when reading LOP logbooks is to concentrate on the peculiar and unusual. For example, at 1401 on 23 February the LOP reported:

One Wellington and One Anson 4 miles north-east moving south. The Anson was looping the loop over the Wellington. Altitude 3000 4000 feet. Nationality British. Aircraft altered course 6 miles south-east and flew north at 4000 to 7000 feet. Visibility good.

While I am sure these reports brought a smile, what G2 actually wanted were broad brushstrokes covering daily and weekly events, patterns, sequences, repetitions and also periods of negative information where little happens as all were important in building up a picture of tendencies in any particular location. And I would ask you to bear this in mind through the paper.
It is a question of first establishing, by grouping and linking individual incident reports, what could be regarded as a normal and then piecing together the changing sequence of events from subsequent incidents. We will see below that certain events could be expected by the coastwatchers on duty to occur daily at set times and once this pattern of normal activity was established then it was possible to place unexpected and unusual events within this context until new trends were established and patterns of the belligerents’ activities and intentions emerged. A Daily Reports Summary taking incidents from all 83 Coast Watching Service LOP
reports over the preceding 24 hours was circulated every 24 hours by G2 to senior  military officers, the Minister for Defence and to the Department of External Affairs.
Reports for a given period were pieced together and plotted to show air activity off the east coast. What I hope this shows is that the individual reports each LOP phoned in to their respective reporting centre were accumulated and analysed. The final step  was known as the Command Intelligence Summary, a monthly report from the Intelligence Officer in each Command sent to the Director of Military Intelligence.
While this might seem an example of military bureaucracy, what I would like to emphasise is that the men who served at Howth Head LOP were part of a large information gathering operation that stretched around the Irish coast and played a critical role in the defence and foreign policy of wartime Ireland. This may not have been apparent to the men on Howth Head, they were simply reporting on events locally as they saw them, and this was the same all across the service. But what is apparent in retrospect and from examining military and diplomatic records in Britain and the United States, is that these reports from the Coast Watching Service could
find their way by top-secret channels to London and Washington and that the coast watchers were only a few steps removed from one of the most sensitive areas of Irish foreign policy during the second world war and that is Ireland’s covert military co-operation with the Allies under the veil of official neutrality.

V LOP 6 January to May 1945

Now turn to the post itself and place it in context before examining and analysing just what the coast watchers upon Summit of Howth Head saw and reported as the Second World War entered its final months in Europe.
Each post had a specific daily routine. Howth was no different. The post operated three watches: midnight to 8 AM; 8 AM to 4 PM; and 4 PM to midnight.
Weather reports were submitted to Air Defence Command towards the end of the evening and night watches – after nightfall and at dawn. The morning watch tested and checked the post’s telephone and its clock with Air Defence Command. These checks were critical as the post’s communications equipment had to be synchronised and in working order if its reports were to have any value to Air Defence Command and to Military Intelligence. The post also submitted a report to the Marine Service Sub-depot in Portobello Barracks in Dublin, today’s Cathal Brugha Barracks. This report covered the daily activities of the post regarding personnel and establishment matters and subjects covered included leave requirements, training, provision of uniform and kit, medical inspections, and the report announced any visitors to the post. The afternoon watch inspected the nearby anti-aircraft battery – a searchlight, sound locator and light anti-aircraft gun and its various associated hutments, barbed wire fences and warning signs. However by 1945 that post had been mothballed as
German air attacks on Dublin were now thought unlikely. Earlier, in 1944, ADC informed its men not to fire on Allied aircraft.
Reporting routine activity was the most taxing task facing Howth Head LOP in early January 1945. Standard day time observations were of Aer Lingus and Air Corps aircraft on the flightpath to and from Dublin airport passing three to six miles to the north from east and west and aircraft three to six miles offshore passing north and south. The aircraft flying south split between those that continued along the Irish coastline down past the LOPs at Bray Head and Wicklow Head or those who, using the Kish lightship as a waypoint, routed northeast. Traffic out of Collinstown tailed off after 4pm and when the final incoming flights ended near 6pm the evening and night watches recorded vastly reduced air traffic on the northern and southerly routes, though a large proportion of these flights evidently also used the Kish to the south of Dublin and the Rockabill light to the north of as waypoints, flying around Dublin to the east and then moving north again – a route first confirmed in 1941.
However G2 had learned from Admiralty sources that a new U-boat campaign was likely in the first weeks of the New Year. U-boats were en-route to the Irish Sea and sunk two British merchant ships off Holyhead on 11 January. 11 January was a quiet day at Howth Head. The Aer Lingus DC3 had made its return trip, Air Corps aircraft on patrol were logged and the only remarkable event was that the Sub-Depot had inquired about which men were to go for a dental inspection. However G2 sources intercepted reports of the sinkings off Holyhead and further learned that the in the hours after the attack the Dún Laoghaire to Holyhead mail boat had sailed with extreme precautions and without lights. In fact 30 minutes out of Holyhead the danger from U-boats was so acute that using the excuse of engine failure it returned to port. As the mail boat returned passengers on the vessel saw a flotilla of motor torpedo boats leaving Holyhead and later heard explosions from depth charges.
At 0935 on the morning of 15 January Howth logged three heavy explosions an estimated 30 miles southeast of the post and at 1240 heard heavy explosions an estimated 35 miles north of the post. There were also sightings of groups of three to five British fighter aircraft training off Howth, coming from the north 6-7 miles offshore, flying south towards the Kish and then sweeping back east and northeast.
But noticeable amidst all of this was a sharp rise in the amount of air activity passing approximately north-south and south-north along the Irish Sea seven to ten miles from shore, routes which suggested the passing flights were anti-submarine patrols. These flights continued the following day with ten Sunderland flying boats sighted on similar routes during daylight hours and a destroyer sighted 25 miles east moving south at dusk.
While the night watch was quiet, 17 January saw the Allied operations off Howth continue as 15 Group and 19 Group of RAF Coastal Command began intensive patrols over the Irish Sea to counter the new U-boat threat in the area. This was an area of the Irish Sea into which U-boats had not previously dared to penetrate.

The counterattack air deployment was seen by coastwatchers whose reports to G2 showed heavy air activity along the east and south to the east coast of Ireland on the 17th and 18th of January, with flares and gunfire reported during darkness.
On 17 January a Coastal Command aircraft sighted a moving oil slick, a sign of submarine activity, in the Irish Sea east of Skerries. That day Howth Head LOP reported many similar Coastal Command flights from mid-morning when at 1033 a Liberator, a favourite Coastal Command very long range aircraft, was sighted five miles to the south east flying north east low over the sea at 1,000 feet. It was followed a quarter of an hour later by a Sunderland flying boat at 500 feet following a similar route. That night Howth reported bright white flares to the north and south of the post. The following afternoon two frigates were sighted manoeuvring six to eight miles to the north-east during a period of continual air patrolling which suggested strongly that the U-boat threat remained real and present in the Irish Sea. It may also have been that the presence of a ‘large boat like a liner’ sighted ten miles north-east at 2043, fully illuminated moving south, probably a hospital ship, was the reason for this increased activity as air and naval assets sought to clear a path for the vessel, a second
presumed hospital ship being sighted moving south ten miles off shore on the evening of 20 January.
These operations greatly worried Colonel Dan Bryan, the head of G2. He wrote to Minister for Defence Oscar Traynor and the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces General Dan McKenna as well as to the head of the Naval Service and the Secretary of the Department of External Affairs that

the increase in aerial and naval activity off the east coast indicates the presence of a German submarine or submarines in the Irish Sea. These are the first instances of such activity against shipping, known to this branch, near the Irish coast. If such activities continue they will again direct attention to the question of the Irish ports.

The Allied counter-attack in the Irish Sea continued. In the encounter off Skerries, sono-buoys were dropped and naval vessels combed the area, but with no results. Signals intelligence suggested that up to five U-boats were now operating in the Irish Sea. The Royal Navy feared that they could have very serious effect on British anti-submarine forces training off Liverpool. Following a report that Hitler ordered the intensification of the U-boat war, the commander-in-chief of the Western approaches, Admiral Sir Max Horton, instructed Coastal Command aircrews to pay particular attention to areas of the Irish Sea were U-boats when being hunted sought cover by bottoming in suitable declivities on the seabed. These areas include the seabed of Howth and off Anglesey.
The frigates first sighted by Howth Head on 18 January remained off the Irish coast through 19 January and while identifiable Coastal Command activity was slight the presence of the naval vessels indicated a continued danger from U-boats.
Expecting the arrival of the Irish Shipping vessel Irish Larch at dusk that afternoon, Port Control instructed Howth Head to keep a sharp look out for the vessel and report her when she was within sight. She was duly reported at 2230, three miles southeast, safely entering Dublin Bay.
The last ten days of January saw no let up in anti-submarine operations off Howth. In a period of good weather and clear visibility, the post noting on the morning of 22 January that the Welsh Mountains were visible, the Sunderlands and Liberators of Coastal Command kept up regular patrols. In one crowded report at 1340 on 22 January Howth reported a departing an Air Lingus DC3 from Dublin airport, sighted at 2000 feet, six miles to the northwest, whilst ten miles to the east out to sea a Liberator and two Sunderlands flew low level anti-submarine patrols at 500 feet. Further east still on the horizon the post logged ‘six warships’ manoeuvring and tracking west towards Ireland. An hour and a half after the initial sighting the naval group was ten miles east south east of Howth. A destroyer from the group was reported dropping two depth charges and later as night fell red flares were seen from the direction of the force. Luckily the clement weather had continued, with good visibility, light south winds and a calm sea and this allowed Howth Head to send in detailed reports of this action.
Naval forces sank U1051 and U1172 south of Anglesey in late January, but Royal Navy Signals Intelligence suggested six further vessels were en route to the Irish Sea. However for our subject, Howth Head LOP, the story was not so exciting.
The weather changed for the worse on 23 January and with fog and rain reported. Fog reduced visibility and made aurally locating the direction of an aircraft more difficult. The post reported bright red flares to the east on 24 January, but in the murky conditions with reporting made more difficult by the phone going out of order,
Howth was reduced to reporting events over a more localised region. However the steady stream of Liberators sighted over the following days indicated that the anti-submarine war was still on.
The picture is somewhat scattered for early February with the consistent theme being routine daytime patrols by Air Corps and RAF interspersed with periods of intense anti-submarine operations flown by Liberators and Sunderlands, with the usual daily Aer Lingus flight passing east and west to the north of the post. The transit of groups of three to seven aircraft from north to south along the Irish Sea during the evening was followed by fairly quiet nights. Unusual actions were such as at 2128 on 2 February when an aircraft identified by its navigation lights 8 miles northeast flying south at 3000 feet was signalled to by Morse code by a presumed naval vessel it flew over. On 8 February, during a period of poor and stormy weather the post was informed by Eastern Sector ‘to keep a lookout for an Anson which was lost on [a] flight between Northern Ireland and Wales.’ Ten days later, on 18 February, just after 6pm, a second incident was reported when ‘Air Defence [Command] notified [the] post that [a] plane was lost between here and Dundrum Bay’ on the east coast of Northern Ireland beside Newcastle. The watch at Howth was to ‘keep [a] look out for wreckage’. Visibility had closed in through the day as overcast skies gave way to fog, through which RAF Liberators flying at low level searched for traces of the missing aircraft.
But more often aircraft simply passed from north to south offshore singly or in groups with occasional aircraft flying south to the Kish and then routing east or northeast. The remainder of February was by and large routine. The main focus of air and naval activity remained off the Wexford coast, but in early March G2 recorded increased air activity along the east and south-east coast.
On 6 March the Irish Times and Irish Press carried a Reuters report that ‘U-boats are in the Irish Sea – the submarine war is on again day and night without pause.’ That morning the Gardaí at Howth rang the LOP to tell the coastwatchers that ‘a submarine had been seen four miles off Rockabill’ fourteen miles directly north of the post. A number of Liberators flew past Howth Head during the day, but a sign that operations were underway were explosions on the horizon twenty to thirty miles east of the post out to sea on 7 and 8 March. The Allied counter-attack the coastwatchers were observing included the largest operational effort ever flown in one day by American forces operating with coastal command. On 8 March an American liberator of 103 Squadron made radio contact with a submarine off Arklow. Two days later Oberleutnant Herman Bruder,   commanding U1058 reported to Admiral Donitz that there was Allied air activity all day in the middle of the Irish Sea. This was already apparent to Howth Head LOP, the post reporting regular flares and explosions in the same vicinity to Military Intelligence. These sightings died down mid-month, partially due to a deterioration in the weather.
On the morning of 25 March a Liberator of 110 Squadron made contact with a submarine 40 miles north-east of Howth. The following day another Liberator made visual contact with a U-boat off Cahore Point. A periscope and a v-shaped wake were sighted, but the disappeared before an attack could be made. That day Howth reported a large number of flares to the northeast and to the southeast, but there was no obvious changes or increase in military activity off the coast of Dublin.
To the Commander of American forces operating with Coastal Command the operational effort in March was the greatest ever expended in any month by aircraft of his wing both in the number of sorties and hours on patrol, but nonetheless, German submarines continued their offensive in coastal waters of Britain and Ireland with some success. Howth did not see a great deal of this later part of the spring 1945 offensive, poor visibility and the centre of operations being located out to sea further  south down the east coast of Ireland were the reasons.
April saw a further fall off in anti-submarine operations and was quite a contrast to January. For April reports from Howth showed two definite trends. First is the almost complete absence of anti-submarine operations by combined air and naval assets. Second is the continuation of heavy air traffic along the east coast of Ireland. Day and night show different patterns. The majority of aircraft reported between midnight and 0800, perhaps 2/3 of them, came along the coast from the North, flying south over the Rockabill light. They generally did not alter their routes to avoid Dublin. The opposite was the case for the aircraft transiting the Irish coast from the south, they flew up the coast and routed north east by the Kish. Indeed on the early morning of 19 April the LOP reported an aircraft circling over the Kish before getting its bearings and flying northeast.
Day reports for April were much more numerous and the month the day watch was the busiest and most important of the three watches at Howth Head. Its reports showed considerable air traffic, though an almost complete absence of marine traffic, off Howth. Aer Lingus daytime flights took place almost daily, as did a regular British biplane flight from Collinstown as commercial air traffic between Britain and Ireland recommenced in the aftermath of D-Day. The number of reported flights by Irish biplanes is greatly reduced, perhaps bearing out the assertion of the Chief of Staff that the Gloster Gladiators were phased out at the end of March 1945? As with night-time flights the day reports reinforce the role of the Kish lightship as navigation aid for the majority of aircraft transiting the east coast of Ireland. Of these aircraft the majority are unidentified ‘Low Wing, Twin Engine, Single Tailed monoplanes’, either flying singly or in groups of up to half a dozen., though poor visibility with fog mid-month again reduced the number of incidents reported. Except for the sustained passage of Liberators during the afternoon of 11 April there was no sign of sustained anti-submarine activity during the month, the majority of flights appearing to be routine coastal patrols or groups of aircraft training. Probably if logbooks for Dalkey and Bray LOPs for the same period were factored in it would be apparent if any of these aircraft were from Baldonnell and perhaps a greater number could be identified.
A proportion of the aircraft flying from the south and passing northeast must be Irish Air Corps, but only one flight was seen to the south and heading south east. Perhaps the identification of these flights was made more difficult by the Dublin mountains in the background? For the record I should add that through April the evening watch from 1600 to 0000 was, with the exception of 18 and 25 April, quiet and unremarkable. 18 and 25 April were busy days for the day watch as they saw heavy air traffic past the post.
Despite the conflict winding down in Europe as Russian forces moved into the centre of Berlin, the level of military operations – training and transport flights – off Howth LOP continued as April gave way to May 1945. It was the same in the last week of the war. There are only two indications in the logbook that the war in Europe was ending – two messages to be on the look out for any German U-boats flying a black flag and seeking to surrender – these messages being phoned to all posts around the coast. In reality only the posts on the Inishowen Peninsula saw surrendering submarines as German U-boats were brought into Lough Foyle under escort. Despite the end of the war in May there was no immediate fall off in activity off Howth. The regular flights continued in the pattern of previous months. There was a noticeable increase in marine traffic with a cargo vessels and oil tankers taking to the waters of the Irish Sea in greater numbers.

Peacetime conditions saw the Defence Forces demobilise from their wartime strength. The Coast Watching Service was one of the first branches to be stood down.
Colonel Bryan, Commander O’Muiris, the Head of the Naval Service and a number of senior officers in the Army argued the case with the Chief of Staff General Dan McKenna for keeping the Coast Watching Service in existence in peacetime in a reduced form and they also argued that the service would be a necessity in any future war. Despite the coastwatchers having performed the role of a coastguard in alerting the lifeboat service to incidents at sea on many occasions during the war and thus having a viable peacetime role in a country with no coastguard it was not to be.
Howth continued in operation until the end of the day watch on 19 June 1945.
The men had been informed four days earlier by District Office Captain Jordan that they were ‘all men to have kit on post at 1400 on 19 June’. The post’s last observation, by Volunteer John Redmond, was at 1516 of an Aer Lingus DC3 coming in to land at Dublin airport. Perhaps in this there is something poignant in this for a new age of peaceful air travel in the post war years. But for LOP 6 it marked the end of the emergency after a watch of five and a half years. The telephone was dismantled and signed over into the custody of Private Lumsden of the Army Signal Corps and the coastwatchers melted back into civilian life.

VII: Conclusion

So what does all this tell us? I think I can draw a few short conclusions from the story of Howth LOP. First of all, we can see that Corporal Rourke and his men ran an efficient post and within the structures of the service they were part of played a confident and effective role. We know very little about how the Defence Forces operated during the emergency and more often than not we get Dad’s Army stories and inaccurate writing. In fact what was going on up on the Summit in Howth and being replicated along the coastline was a well thought out Irish response to an Irish problem. The state had no naval service in 1939, it had to monitor its coasts, how would it do this. The answer was through landward observation. Planned by Military Intelligence in conjunction with the general staff, the Coast Watching Service was set up in little over a year and its men were trained up from scratch. The post was well positioned, strategically located for air and marine observation and provided information of contemporary and, as I hope I have shown, historic value. We can use the LOP’s log to find out what the Second World War off Howth was like. The log shows us just how close the Second World War was to Ireland. Neutrality could not insulate Ireland from a conflict that took place around her shores and on the limits of her territory. The logbook of LOP 6 shows that the Second World War was taking place in the seas and skies off Dublin. The Second World War was not a conflict that took place remote from Ireland, it took place on our doorstep. We have forgotten this, or we possibly never realised it, and Howth LOP helps us remember that fact.

The copyright of any articles published here remain with the author in all cases

Ireland's WWII Sea Losses


16 Ships Lost in Unprovoked Actions

Captain Frank Forde, the author of this article

Captain Frank Forde, the author of this article


In the years following 1922, Ireland, unlike the majority of more recent independent nations, made no attempt to encourage the development of her own mercantile marine. Each year the fleet declined: from 127 in 1923, until in September 1939 we had only 56 ships flying the Irish flag, none ocean-going, all designed for the short sea trades. They were a very mixed lot, including passenger vessels, livestock carriers, coal colliers, lighthouse tenders, schooners and general cargo traders. The oldest was the schooner Brooklands of Cork, built in 1859; the most modern the motor vessel Menapia of Wexford, just launched and fitted out at her builders in Rotterdam.      

Within a few days of the outbreak of war a massive exodus from the Irish register had occurred and we were left with only those 56 ships.      

Ships bought


This tiny fleet increased with the formation of Irish Shipping Ltd. in March 1941 when, under great difficulty, 15 ocean-going dry cargo ships were purchased or chartered.      

Finding suitably qualified personnel was another major problem but many Irishmen, serving under other flags, were glad of the opportunity to sail for the first time on their own ships and the manning shortage was overcome.      

Casualties were heavy, for although never more than 800 men were serving the fleet at any time, 136 of them died in 16 ships that were lost. In addition to these fatalities a further 14 fishermen were killed aboard two trawlers.      



The first Irish ship to be sunk in World War Two was the passenger ship Munster, which fell victim to a mine in Liverpool Bay on 7th February 1940. Built at Belfast in 1938 for the British and Irish Steam Packet Company she ran on a nightly service between Dublin and Liverpool until the out -break of war when the service was suspended. She was trading between Belfast and Liverpool, on charter to the Belfast Steam Ship Company and commanded by Captain J. Paisley when sunk. Fortunately there were no deaths, though Captain Paisley and four of his crew were wounded. Over 200 passengers and the crew of fifty escaped in lifeboats and were rescued a few hours later by the collier Ringwall.       



Steam Trawler Leukos

Steam Trawler Leukos


A month later on 9th March 1940 the steam trawler Leukos, owned by the Dublin Trawling Company, was sunk by gunfire from U – 3 8 (Kapitanleutnant Heinrick Liebe) while fishing off Tory Island. Eleven men died with her.      



City of Limerick was the first Irish ship to be sunk by German aircraft in World War Two. Owned by Palgrave Murphy Ltd. and commanded by Captain Robert Ferguson she departed Cartagena, Spain for Liverpool in early July 1940. At 8 a.m. on 15th July, when 100 miles west of Ushant, she was attacked from astern by an aircraft with machine-gun fire. As the plane roared overhead it dropped a stick of bombs which hit the ship but failed to explode. It returned for another attack and this time two men were killed. The ship was now stopped and disabled and the captain gave the order to abandon her. As the crew pulled away in lifeboats more German planes appeared and following further attacks the ship sank.      

After a cold night in the boats the survivors were rescued next day by a Belgian trawler and landed at Penzance, Cornwall.      



Meath, a livestock carrier was built at Ardrossan, Scotland in 1929 and was owned by the British and Irish Steam Packet Company. Just before midnight on 15th August 1940 she sailed from Dublin for Birkenhead with 700 cattle on board. She first had to call at Holyhead to obtain clearance from the Naval Control Service. The work was completed when a terrific explosion occurred under the port side of the bridge; a magnetic mine had gone off beneath her. Three men including Captain Thomas MacFarlane were wounded. All hands cleared the ship in the port lifeboat. Twenty minutes later they were picked up by a trawler and watched Meath sink with the 700 animals still on board.      



In 1922 the Limerick Steam Ship Company purchased the steamer Fairfield and renamed her Luimneach. She saw action during the Spanish Civil War enduring twelve air raids in five days in Valencia in October 1938. In the last attack the ship was hit and one man killed. 4th September 1940 found her in the Bay of Biscay bound from Huelva, Spain to Drogheda with a cargo of iron pyrites commanded by Captain Eric Jones. Shortly after 7 p.m. a submarine was sighted astern, rapidly overtaking the Limerick ship. What happened next is record – ed in Captain Jones’s logbook;      

“4th September 7.30 p.m. sighted submarine, warning shot across bows, hoisted name and destination. Nationality plainly marked on vessel’s side. Second shot fired, vessel stopped. All hands manned star-board lifeboat and pulled clear. Submarine hailed me, told me to return for second boat, this done, pulled clear with nine men in each boat. Vessel sunk by gunfire”.       

The submarine that sank her was U- 46 (Oberleutnant zur See Englebert Endrass).      

Two days later the captain’s boat was sighted by the French fishing boat St. Pierre, which transferred them to a Spanish boat that a week later landed them near San Sebastian. A French fishing boat also rescued the other boat but they were brought to Lorient in German occupied France.      

Artist’s impression of the Kerry Head, first Irish ship to be deliberately attacked. This and other pictures in this article are details from paintings by the marine artist, Kenneth King.

Artist’s impression of the Kerry Head, first Irish ship to be deliberately attacked. This and other pictures in this article are details from paintings by the marine artist, Kenneth King.




The first Irish ship to be deliberately attacked was the collier Kerry Head of Limerick; the incident occurred on 1st August 1940 off the Old Head of Kinsale when an unidentified aircraft straddled her with bombs. No hits were recorded but the underwater explosions caused leaks through fractured plates and sprung rivets. Fortunately the pumps were able to control the inflow of water and she reached Limerick safely. Next time the attackers were more successful. On 22nd October 1940, in full view of watchers on Cape Clear Island she was bombed and sunk. There were no survivors from her twelve-man crew, which included two brothers, George and James Naughton of Windmill Street, Limerick.      



City of Cork Steam Packet Company owned the livestock carrier Ardmore which sailed from Cork for Fishguard on 11th November 1940 under the command of Captain Thomas Ford. The crew numbered 24. She never arrived at the Welsh port but three weeks later the bodies of several crewmen were found on beaches north of Fishguard. Her wreck was discovered south of the Saltees in 1995. The damage indicated she had struck a mine.      




 Artist’s impression of “Isolda”

Artist’s impression of “Isolda”


Isolda was a lightship tender owned by the Commissioners of Irish Lights and registered in Dublin. On her sides in letters five feet high were the words ‘Lighthouse Service’. At dawn on 19th December 1940 she sailed from Rosslare with relief crew for the Barrels and Coningbeg Light-ships. The relief men were placed on board Barrels and the ship then headed for the Coningbeg. When she was three miles from the lightship aircraft attacked her. Observers in the army lookout post at Carnsore Point witnessed the massacre as bombs hit the ship starting massive fires. Six men were killed and seven wounded. Next day the German High Command announced the sinking.      



Innisfallen was a passenger ship owned by the City of Cork Steam Packet Company and in December 1940 she was operating between Dublin and Liverpool commanded by Captain George Firth of Clontarf, Dublin. At 6 p.m. on 20th December 1940 she left Liverpool landing stage for Dublin with 157 passengers and a crew of 63. She had just left the berth when air-raid sirens began sounding a warning and the harbour authorities closed the port to navigation. Captain Firth anchored the ship in the river as bombs and mines fell about her. At daylight it was reported there was an unauthorised passenger on board and when the ‘All Clear’ sounded Captain Firth took the ship back to the stage to land him. In the early afternoon the port re-opened and at 3 p.m. Innisfallen again sailed for Dublin.      

 Clonlara, sunk after picking up survivors from another ship during attack by seven U-boats

Clonlara, sunk after picking up survivors from another ship during attack by seven U-boats


Big explosion


Twenty minutes later when moving slowly down river past New Brighton Tower a massive explosion occurred just forward of the bridge on the port side; a magnetic mine had activated. Three crewmen were killed outright and quartermaster Daniel Geary sustained injuries from which he died a few hours later. Two other seamen and Captain Firth were wounded. However he remained in charge and ordered the evacuation of the ship. He was the last off, sliding down a rope into a tug that had come to the rescue. Innisfallen sank fifteen minutes later. The Tower buoy off New Brighton marks her wreck.      



Clonlara joined the fleet of the Limerick Steam Ship Company in 1926 when she was built at Dundee. Commanded by Captain Joseph Reynolds, the opening days of August 1941 found her in Cardiff loading coal for Lisbon. When loading was completed she sailed down the Bristol Channel and anchored in Milford Haven where convoy OG 71 was assembling. When they sailed, 22 strong, on 12th August another Limerick ship, the Lanahrone was with them. Their naval escort consisted of a destroyer, a sloop and six corvettes. All went well until a German aircraft sighted the convoy on 17th August and then followed six days and nights of battle as OG 71 defended itself against air and submarine attacks.      

In all seven U-Boats were involved in the battle and they were most successful sinking eight merchant ships and two naval vessels with no losses to themselves. At the height of the battle in the early hours of 20th August, Clonlara d distinguished herself when, with ships in flames about her, she stopped to pick up survivors from the Scottish ship Alva torpedoed in the column ahead of her. She herself was sunk two nights later with the loss of eleven of her crew.   


On August 16, 1940 the Loch Ryan (Captain J. Nolan) was bombed off Lands End. There were no casualties.       

On March 9 of this year The Irish Times reported that the German authorities insisted they had no liability for the bombing of the Loch Ryan. The family of the late owner of the Loch Ryan had sought compensation from the German authorities but, the paper reported, the Irish
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Cowen, said there was no international legal forum before which Germany could be compelled to attend.        


City of Waterford was built at Belfast in 1879 as the Fair Head for the Ulster Steam Ship Company and was renamed when purchased by Palgrave Murphy Ltd. in 1934. Under the command of Captain Thomas Aplin from Sandymount, Dublin she joined convoy OG 74 at Milford Haven in September 1941. The naval escort in addition to a destroyer, sloop and six corvettes included the escort aircraft carrier, HMS Audacity and the rescue ship Walmer Castle. When all its 22 ships had assembled the convoy sailed for Gibraltar. On 19th September 1941 City of Waterford sank following collision with a Dutch ship which was also in the convoy. All her crew were rescued by a naval escort and transferred later that day to the rescue ship Walmer Castle. She was attacked by aircraft next morning and sank with heavy loss of life including five survivors from City of Waterford.        

Several months after the sinking there was a postscript to the saga. In the Dublin Circuit Court Judge Davitt ruled that the parents of Seaman Edward Kearney had no case against Palgrave Murphy Ltd for the loss of their son, for his contract of employment ended when City of Waterford sank and he was technically unemployed when killed on board the rescue ship. Therefore damages could not be paid under the Workmen’s Compensation Act.     

Torpedoed ship’s crew rescued by another Irish vessel


In September 1941 at New Orleans the American steamer West Neris was taken over by Irish Shipping Ltd. and renamed Irish Oak. Built at Seattle in 1919 she was a sister-ship of Irish Pine sunk in November 1942. She too would not survive the war. Under the command of Captain Eric Jones she departed Ta m p a , Florida for Dublin with a cargo of phosphate in late April 1943. Shortly before dawn on 15 May she was sighted by U607 (Oberleutnant zur See Wolf Jeschonnek) who noted the neutrality markings and name but was unable to find Irish Oak in his Standing War Orders as a recognised neutral. At 12.19 German Summer Time he fired two torpedoes. One missed, the other struck the port side of No. 1 hatch and exploded inside raising clouds of phosphate dust. A radio distress call was transmitted and picked up by Irish Plane that was eighty miles away.       

All hands safely cleared Irish Oak in her lifeboats and were rescued in the afternoon by Irish Plane and landed in Cobh on 19 May.       


Shortly after the formation of Irish Shipping Ltd. in March 1941 the company chartered two ships from the American government for the duration of the war. West Hematite was taken over at New Orleans in October and renamed Irish Pine. For the next twelve months she carried grain across the Atlantic from Canada. In November 1942 she was bound to Boston and was only two days from there when sighted by U- 608, (Kapitanleutnant Rolf Struckmeier). He followed her for eight hours, frequently losing her in rain and snow squalls. At no stage does he record seeing her neutrality markings. At 7.15 p.m. Zone Time on Sunday 15th November he attacked her.       

The War Diary records the last moments:      

“Range 800 metres, torpedo depth 2 metres, running time 80 seconds. Target stopped. The torpedo hit the after part of the ship and she began to settle immediately by the stern. A lifeboat with a very bright light is lowered. Ship becomes perpendicular and sinks stern first at 0017 Central European Time. Wind north-west force 6, sea very rough, barometer 1014 millibars, temperature 12 Centigrade”.       


So ended the Irish Pine, sinking in just three minutes. No wreckage or any of the bodies of her 33 crew were ever found.       


Kyleclare was built at Dundee in 1932 for the Limerick Steam Ship Company and up to the outbreak of the war mainly traded from ports in the west of Ireland to Liverpool. The morning of 21st February 1943 saw her departing Lisbon for Dublin as she steamed down the Tagus and into the Atlantic. Two days later she had made good progress northwards and was at 48 50 north, 12 20 west when sighted by U-456 (Kapitanleutnant Max Teichert). He manoeuvred into attack position; wind was south-southwest, force 3, sea smooth, gentle swell, good visibility.       

He later claimed that he had not seen Kyleclare ’s neutrality markings as she was so low in the water, listing to starboard and his periscope was awash. From a distance of 500 metres he fired a fan of three torpedoes. The moment of firing was logged; 2.38 p.m. Central European Time, 23 February 1943. As the torpedoes left the tubes, the submarine rose higher in the water and at that instance Teichert saw the double inscription EIRE on the ship’s side. Seconds later a double explosion echoed throughout the submarine. He proceeded to the position of the sinking but found nothing except wreckage; Kyleclare had disintegrated in a massive cloud of brown smoke. Eighteen Irish lives were blasted into eternity with her.       


The last Irish marine casualty of World War Two occurred on 2nd May 1945 when the Helwick fishing vessel Naomh Garbhan, working nine miles off Dungarvan, picked up a mine in her nets. It exploded killing three of the crew.       

This article was first published in the winter 2002 edition of Iris na Mara      

Capt. Forde is author of The Long Watch published by New Island. He went to sea at the age of 15 and was Captain with the B & I Shipping line for 29 years before retiring in 1999. 

The copyright of any articles published here remain with the author in all cases

Visit from Belgium

From the April 2000 edition of the Belgian “Neptunus Marine”
Details in this article, in particular opening times, are out-of-date

Balade Maritime au Pays de James Joyce !


Saint Bernard du Spuikom Photos: Fr Philips
Si d’aventure vous faites un jour escale en République d’lrlande, près de Dublin, ne manquez surtout pas de vous rendre à Dun Laoghaire (prononcez ‘Dun leary’!), une très jolie “coastal county town” située à une dizaine de miles an sud de la capitale. Dans cet ‘avant-port’ de Dublin vous écouvriez de très intéressants musées, dont I’un, assez particulier, est passionnant à  plus d’un point de vue de marin. Il s’agit du National Maritime Museum of Ireland qui curieusement, a trouvé refuge dans une ancienne élise jadis baptisée The Mariners’ Church. If by chance you were to make a day trip to Ireland, in the neighbourhood of Dublin, do not miss going to Dunlaoghaire, (pronounce it, Dun Leary), a very pretty coastal county town, situated a dozen miles to the south of the capital.  In this port of refuge of Dublin you will discover some very interesting museums, of which one in particular is devoted to more than one reference to the sea. It is called the National Maritime Museum of Ireland, which curiously has found a home in a former church known as “The Mariner’s Church”.
belg2 belg1
La célèbre barque de Bantry et en hauteur, jubé et narthex où se tenaient les marins de la Royal Navy. La Mariner’s Church ‘shows again the flag'; celui du patrimoine maritime Irlandais.
Robbie BRENMAN, Conservateur (hon.) de ce musée, nous expliqua que I’origine du nom de cette cité balnéaire très en vogue, remonte an 5ème siècle, lorsque le ‘King of Tara’, qui était également “High King of Ireland” (=Laoghaire) érigea en cet endroit un ‘château-fort situé près de la mer'(= Dun).  Et de rappeler qu’à cette époque ce dernier autorisa un moine du nom de St. Patrick à parcourir le pays pour le christianiser. Robbie Brennan, honorary conservator of this museum, explained to us that the origin of this seaside resort, very much in fashion, pertained to the 5th. Century when the King of Tara, who was High King of Ireland (=Laoghaire), erected in that place a strong castle beside the sea (=Dun), And to recall that at that period, this latter authorised a monk of the name of St. Patrick to travel the land to convert it to Christianity.
Petit port de pêche jusque dans les années 1770, les premiers travaux en vue de la construction d’un port de mer ‘moderne’ débutèrent début du 19ème.
Au fil des années des hydrographes aux noms aussi célèbres que celui du fameux Capitaine L. Blight (Cfr. mutinerie du H.M.S. Bounty en 1789) prêtèrent leur concours an développement de ce qui allait devenir, au siècle dernier, un port d’avant-garde et la cité balnéaire par excellence de I’Empire britannique.
De 1821 à 1921 Dun Laoghaire fut d’ailleurs rebaptisé Kingstown en I’honneur du roi George IV.
A little fishing port up to the years around 1770, the first works towards the construction of a modern sea-port began in the 19th. Century.
Down the years hydrographers, with names as celebrated as that of the famous Captain Blight (Mutiny on the Bounty 1789), lent their support to the development of that which was to become, in the last century, a port of refuge and a seaside resort par excellence of the British Empire.  From 1821 to 1921 Dun Laoghaire was moreover re-named Kingstown in honour of the King George IV
Quant à I’église elle-même, elle fut construite en 1837 et pouvait contenir 1.400 fidèles.
Erigée sur le port, elle devait accueillir tous les gens de mer, et surtout ceux dont les navires, fuyant la tempête, venaient se réfugier en rade de Kingstown.
As regards the church itself, it was built in 1837 and could hold 1,400 worshippers.
Erected above the port, it could receive all the seamen, and above all, those whose ships, fleeing the storm, sought refuge in the roadstead of Kingstown.
Le “Deed of Trust” de I’époque stipulait qu’un tiers des places assises devait être réservé aux familles des marins, garde-côtes et des Services des Impôts.  Et aussi que la Capitainerie du Port devait fournir une embarcation aux prêtres pour leur permettre de rendre visite aux navires en relâche dans le port ou à I’ancre. The “Deed of Trust” of the time stipulated that rows of seats should be reserved for the families of seafarers, Coastguards and Revenue Services.
Also that the Harbour Master should furnish a boat for the clergy to permit them to visit ships in the port, or at anchor
Au début des années 1970, I’abri côtier de Dun Laoghaire fut déserté par les navires marchands et donc, faute de fidèles, la Mariners’ Church dut également baisser pavillon. L’ancienne congrégation religieuse locale alla prendre ses quartiers dans la Christchurch toute proche. At the start of the 1970’s, the shelter of Dun Laoghaire was abandoned by the merchant ships, and since, without a congregation, the Mariners’ Church had to lower its flag.  The former congregation moved to the nearby Christchurch.
Cinq ans plus tard, grâce aux bons offices de la Irish Shipping Ltd., I’exbâtiment religieux devint le siège du quartier général du
Maritime Institute of Ireland.
Celui-ci fut doté de bureaux, d’un beau musée, le National Maritime Museum of Ireland et d’une riche librairie disposant e.a. de la collection complète
des ‘Lloyds Registers’ de 1842 à nos jours!
Five years later, thanks to the good offices of Irish Shipping Ltd., the former religious building became the headquarters of the Maritime Institute of Ireland.  This provided offices, a good museum, and a rich library, containing, among others, a complete set of “Lloyd’s Registers” From 1842 to the present day.
Ces nouveaux locaux furent officiellement inaugurés en 1976. lls remplaçaient ceux installés dans le Sailor’s Reading Room, qui luimême fut
fermé en 1965, après 6 ans d’activité, le building devant être démoli pour y ériger
le nouveau terminal pour ferries, au St. Michael’s Wharf.
The new site was officially opened in 1976.It replaced those installed in the Sailors’ Reading Room, which itself was closed in 1965, after 6 years activity, the building having been demolished to erect the new ferry terminal at St. Michael’s Wharf.
Aujourd’hui en effet, la jolie cité balnéaire de Dun Laoghaire est (re)devenue un centre maritime actif, assurant le trafic, important, des
navires de et vers la Grande-Bretagne.
Sans négliger pour autant, la noria des luxueux yachts privés qui font régulièrement escale aux célèbres: Royal Irish Yacht Club (le premier d’lrlande, 1850), Royal St. George Yacht Club (1863), ou encore au National Yacht Club datant de 1876.
Today indeed, the pretty seaside resort of Dun Laoghaire has become an active and important maritime centre, for boats and for the route to Great Britain.
Not to be neglected however, the luxury private yachts, which make regular calls to the famous yacht clubs.
Royal Irish Yacht Club (the first in Ireland, 1850), Royal St. George Yacht Club (1863),or again the National Yacht Club dating from 1876.

Un musée-église: visite guidée!

Museum-church: guided visit.

L’espace “réception” du musée, installé dans une crypte jadis dédiée à St. Columba, est sobrement aménaé en lieu de mémoire pour tous les marins irlandais ayant péri en mer entre 1939 et 1945.
Une très belle collection de peintures de I’artiste Kenneth King y est accrochée aux cimaises.
The reception area of the museum, installed in a side chapel dedicated to St. Columa, is reverently dedicated to the memory of all the Irish who died at sea between 1939 and 1945.  A very good collection of paintings by Kenneth King hanging on the wall.
Dans la nef centrale sont exposées de nombreuses et riches pièces de collection, dont la plus prestigieuse est assurément la “chaloupe de
Bantry”.  Cette ‘yole’, longue de 7m. provient de la frégate française “RÉSOLUTION” et fut retrouvée échou6e sur I’ile de Bere, en baie de Bantry (Comté de Cork, côte sud-ouest) après la violente tempête de décembre 1796.
In the centre of the nave are exhibited numerous and valuable pieces of the collection, of which the most prestigious is surely “The Bantry Yole”. This yole, 7m long, came from the French frigate “Résolve”, and ran aground on Bere Island in Bantry Bay (Co. Cork, south west coast), after the violent storm of December 1796.
Cette année-lâ, convaincu par un patriotic irlandais dénommé Theobald Wolf Tone, de I’opportunité d’organiser une opération de rébellion contre les Anglais, le Directoire français mit sur pied, à partir de Brest, un corps expéditionnaire fort de 14.000 soldats qui furent embarqués dans 44 navires placés sous le commandement du général Lazare Hoch et de I’Amiral Morard de Galle. That year, persuaded by an Irish patriot called Theobald Wolfe Tone, to take the opportunity to organise an operation of rebellion against England, the French Directory mounted, to leave from Brest, an expeditionary force 14,000 soldiers strong, which embarked on 44 ships placed under the command of General Lazare Hoche, and Admiral Morand de Galle.
Cette expédition se solda par un cuisant échec militaire dú e.a. aux conditions atmosphériques extrêmes qui occasionnèrent de très nombreux naufrages.  Seule rescapée, cette élégante barque qui est la seule actuel- lement de ce type, dit-on! This expedition failed because of a bitter military set-back due, among other things, to extreme atmospheric conditions which brought about numerous wrecks. Sole escapee, this elegant boat, said to be actually the only one of it’s type.
De part et d’autre de la nef centrale, à quelques mètres de hauteur, courent deux galeries réunies par un jubéomé de quelques très beaux vitraux et d’intéressants “memorials” muraux, rappelant les faits de quelques grands personnages du cru. From one side to the other of the nave, at a height of some metres, run two galleries united by a lobby decorated with some very beautiful stained glass windows, and interesting wall-memorials some very e recalling the deeds of certain notables.
La tradition (anglaise!) voulait qu’au cours de l’office, les marins de la Royal Navy occupant les narthex et jubé, dont les extrdmités étaient
pourvues d’un ‘enclos’ oú, sous bonne garde, les ‘punis’ du personnel naval
prenaient place pour assister au service religieux dominical.
The (English) tradition required that during the service, the sailors of the Royal Navy occupied the nave and the lobby during the service, whose extremities were provided with an enclosure where under guard, Naval personnel, under punishment discipline sat to assist in the religious service of the Lord.
Dans le choeur même de I’église, pr6ne la gigantesque optique du phare de Baily.
D’une puissance de 2.000.000 candelas, ce phare érigé sur la péninsule de Howth, fonctionna de 1902 à 1972, année où il fut  décommissionné.
L’optique fut alors démontée, offerte au musée et réinstallée par les membres de la Commissionners of Irish Light.
In the chancel itself of the church shines the gigantic optic of the Baily lighthouse, with a candlepower of 2 million.  This lighthouse, erected on the peninsula of Howth, functioned from 1902 to 1972, in which year it was decommisioned.
The optic was then dismounted, offered to the museum, and re-erected by personnel of the Commissioners of Irish Lights.
La collection proprement dite du musée est basée principalement sur les legs ‘Halpin’, légués par la famille Kent, descendants directs du
capitaine Robert HALPIN (Wicklow 1836 – 1894).
Celui-ci fut premier officier, puis commandant, en 1865, du célèbre navire GREAT EASTERN conçu par I’ingénieur Isambard Kingdom Brunel (Portsmouth 1806 – Westminster 1859).
Rappelons que ce demier était le fils du non moins célèbre ingénieur Sir Marc Isambard (Hacqueville Fr. 1769 – Londres 1849) qui construisit les plus grands navires en fer propulsés par hélice de I’époque.
Les GREAT WESTERN, GREAT BRITAIN (1845) et GREAT EASTERN ou LEVIATHAN (1858).  C’est avec celui-ci que fut installé en 1866, après moult péripéties, le premier câble tédlégraphique entre I’île Valentia et Newfoundland, soit un distance de
2.600 milles.  D’autres câbles furent encore installés plus tard, entre Lisbonne et le Brésil, dans I’océan Indien, etc.
The appropriately called collection of the museum is based principally on the Halpin collection, bequeathed by the Kent family, direct descendants of Captain Robert Halpin (Wicklow 1836-1894). This man was made First Officer, then Master of the celebrated ship “Great Eastern”, designed by the
Isambard Kingdom Brunel (Portsmouth 1806 – Westminster 1859).
Let us recall that this last was the son of the no less celebrated engineer Sir Marc Isambard (Hacqueville, France 1769 – London 1849) who constructed the biggest iron ship propelled by propeller of that period, the “Great Western”, Great Britian
1845,and the “Great Eastern”,or “Leviathain”, (1858).  It was with this ship that,
after vicissitudes, was laid the first telegraphic cable between VaIentia Island and Newfoundland, being a distance of 2,600 miles. Other cables were again laid later between Lisbon and Brazil, in the Indian Ocean.
D’autres pièces rares et documents rassemblés dans cette église témoignent tour à tour du développement du Naval Service, de la cruelle rébellion de 1916, des missions des garde-côtes, de la Irish Shipping Cº et autres services de ferries. Other rare artefacts and documents collected in this church, display in turn, the development of the Naval Service, of the cruel rebellion of 1916, of the missions of the Coastguard, of the Irish Shipping Co. and other services of the ferries.
Des hommes célèbres et leurs exploits y sont glorifiés; tel G. MARCONI (1874 – 1937) qui en 1906, réussit la première transmission hertzienne
transatlantique depuis sa station émettrice installée dans les environs de Clifden (Co Galway-Connemara).  Ou le Iégendaire John Philip HOLLAND (Liscannor 1841- 1914), inventeur du sous-marin moderne et initiateur de la U.S. Navy!
Une salle spéciale est d’ailleurs consaerde aux submersibles en général; on y trouve entre autres les objets souvenirs légués par le Capitaine Raimund WEISBACH, commandant du sous-marin allemand U-19 qui débarqua Sir Roger CASEMENT à Kerry (côte sud-ouest) en 1916.
N é à Dublin en 1864, ce dernier tenta d’organiser une opposition germano-irlandaise pendant la première guerre mondiale.  Fait prisonnier lors de son débarquement sur la plage, il fut exécuté comme trsître par les Anglais la même année!  Tout cela est narré en détail, par du texte, des images et autres souvenirs d’ époque.
Celebrated men and their exploits are praised there: such as G. Marconi (1874-1937) who in 1906 sent the first wireless transatlantic transmission from his broadcasting station installed near Clifden (Co. Galway, Connemara).
Or the legendary John Philip Holland, (Liscannor. 1841-1914), inventor of the modern submarine and of the US Navy.  A special room, besides is devoted to submarines in general; one finds there, among other objects, souvenirs given by Capt. Raimund Weisbach, commander of the German submarine U-19, which landed Sir Roger Casement in Kerry, (South West coast) in 1916.  Born in Dublin in 1864, this
latter tried to organise a German-Irish opposition during the First World War, made prisoner at the time of his disembarkation on the strand, he was executed as a traitor by the English the same year.
All this is told in detail by text, pictures, and other souvenirs of the time.
Terminons ce bref tour d’horizon par I’exposition permanente, depuis 1994, consacrée à I’extraordinaire odyssée du coaster irlandais m/v KERLOQUE (335 tx.) qui, dans le golfe de Gascogne, sauva 164 naufragés allemands dont le navire avait été coulé par I’aviation alliée en décembre 1943.
Mais ceci est une autre histoire, que nous relaterons en détail, dans une prochaine parution.
Let us end this brief tour of the area with the permanent exhibition, since 1994 devoted to the extraordinary odyssey of the Irish coaster M.V. Kerlogue (335 tons) which in the Bay of Biscay rescued 164 shipwrecked Germans, whose ship had been sunk by Allied aircraft in December 1943.
But this is another story, which we will relate in a next issue.
Et, pour clôturer votre journée tout en restant dans cette ambiance maritime très 19ème, invitez-vous à dîner somptueusement dans les prestigieux salons de la Tinakilly House, sise à Rathnew (Wicklow).  Vous y découvrirez à loisir son immense parc, sa très victorienne demeure et le cadre
merveilleux dans lequel vécut jusqu’à sa mort, le maître des lieux, un certain capitaine Robert Halpin.
And to end your day, remaining in this very 19th. Century maritime ambience, invite yourself to dine sumptuously in the prestigious rooms of Tinakilly House, sited at Rathnew (Wicklow).  You will there discover at leisure, it’s immense park, it’s very Victorian residence, and the marvellous surroundings in which lived, until his death, a certain Captain Robert Halpin.
Un moment exceptionnel, qui lui aussi fait partie d’une balade irlandaise! An exceptional moment which made him also part of an Irish ballad.

Les coordonnées de ce muscée sont:
Haigh Terrace – Dun Laoghaire,
Tel.:+ + 01 280 0969

Géré par des bénévoles, il est ouvert
– à partir de Pâques, les dimanches de 13.00 à 17.00

– mai à septembre, du mardi au dimanche, de 13 à 17.00

– en octobre, les dimanches de 13.00 à 17.00

Prix d’entrée: Adultes £ (irl) 1.50 –
Enfants: 80p.

Managed by volunteers it is open daily – except Mondays – 13:00 to 17:00


The Maritime Institute of Ireland

Le Maritime Institute of Ireland fut fondé en 1941 par le Colonel Tony LAWLOR et quelques amis qui, plus que quiconque, réalisèrent combien le pavs dépendait de la mer et des navires pour son approvisionnement et son développement.
Et aussi en cette période particulière de guerre que l’Irlande restât neutre, la n écessité pour elle de pouvoir disposer d’une propre marine marchande, battant pavilion national.
The Maritime Institute of Ireland was founded in 1941,by Colonel Tony Lawlor, and some friends, who more than anyone, realised how much the country depended on the sea and ships for it’s supplies and development. And also in this particular period of war, especially as Ireland stayed neutral; the necessity for her to be able to dispose of her own merchant marine, carrying the National flag.
Les promoteurs de I’institut reconnurent que le développement maritime était absolument essentiel pour I’essor de I’île irlandaise et donc que I’on devait réveiller I’intdrét ‘latent’ du peuple irlandais pour les choses
The promoters of the Institute recognised that maritime development was absolutely essential for the island of Ireland, and hence that one should awaken the latent interest of the people of Ireland.
The promoters of the Institute recognised that for maritime matters.
Le nouvel Institut, créé le 31 octobre 1941 sous statut de ‘Limited Company’ fut déniommé FORAS MUIRI NA HEIREANN, autrement dit en anglais: National Maritime Institute of Ireland. The new Institute, created 31st.October 1941 under a statute of limited company named Foras Muiri na hEireann, otherwise in English, National Maritime Institute of Ireland.

The copyright of any articles published here remain with the author in all cases


Assessment of the National Maritime Museum

for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council

Robert Taylor and Elaine Sansom

Museums and Heritage Consultants

June 2008

Final Report submitted to County Council by Robert Taylor

June 2008

The Laurels, The Square, Amberley, Arundel, West Sussex BN18 9SR, UK

T+44 (0) 1798 839580  M:+44 (0)7941 381378  E: consult@robertstaylor.f2s.com


Executive Summary……………………………………………………………………………………… 3

1.Introduction and Background……………………………………………………………………. 4

2.Assessment of the museum against the Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI)   5

2.1 Overview of findings………………………………………………………………………… 5

2.2 Summary of the support required and the financial implications…….. 6

3. Key stages of development to produce a viable new museum with a regional and/or national profile……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 7

3.1 Formal identification of mission and role…………………………………………. 7

A. A memorial museum…………………………………………………………………… 8

B. A museum about Dún Laoghaire, Dublin and the Sea………………. 8

C. A national maritime museum………………………………………………………. 9

3.2 Redevelopment of the museum…………………………………………………….. 11

3.3 Refinement of the operational plan for the re-opened museum……. 11

A. Revenue Budget………………………………………………………………………. 11

B. Management Structure of the Museum…………………………………….. 13

C. Museum Governance……………………………………………………………….. 14

4. External Support Opportunities………………………………………………………………. 14

4.1 Financial support…………………………………………………………………………… 14

4.2 Low cost and in-kind support…………………………………………………………. 15

Appendix1- Assessment of the National Maritime Museum against the MSPI Standards 17

Appendix 2- Support required to achieve the Standards……………………………. 27

Appendix 3- Museum development stages and their inter- relationships…… 29

Appendix 4- The National Context……………………………………………………………… 30

Appendix 5- Consultations and Contributors……………………………………………… 32

Appendix 6- Project Brief……………………………………………………………………………. 33

Executive Summary

The National Maritime Museum is housed in a historic church building, the Mariners’ Church in Dún Laoghaire. The museum collection belonging to the Maritime Institute of Ireland, is one of the most important maritime collections in Ireland. The museum is currently closed while a major refurbishment programme is underway. (Section 1)

The National Maritime Museum has the potential to achieve the Interim and Full standards of the Museum Standards Programme for Ireland in due course. However, the museum will require external professional support and the successful completion of the remaining capital works. A new management structure, with additional paid staff, will make it easier to achieve and maintain the standards. (Section 2.1)

The ability of the museum to achieve the standards will be an important indicator of its likely successful operation. However, there are other critical factors that will affect the viability of the museum and its ultimate long-term ability to thrive and develop. (Section 2.2)

The Maritime Institute of Ireland needs to clearly define the museum’s scope by formally adopting a mission statement that sets out the role of its museum within Ireland. We recommend that the Maritime Institute consults with stakeholders to clarify which mission and role would attract most financial support. (Section 3.1)

The Maritime Institute has submitted an application to the government for funding to complete the capital works and, if successful, it will lead to the reopening of the museum with new displays. The specification for these works should be informed by a clear identification of the role that the museum will fulfil and the external funding available for future operation. The programme to fit out the museum and reopen in 2009 will be extremely challenging, and is unlikely to be achieved without additional professional help. (Section 3.2)

The present income and expenditure projections are not accurate enough to enable a business plan for the redeveloped museum to be drawn up. They show a total shortfall of revenue funding over the first five years of €204,328 and this includes some very optimistic income projections. We recommend that the Maritime Institute take external advice to help them develop a robust business plan. (Section 3.3A)

It is clear that the Maritime Institute is proposing to operate the museum in a deficit mode. This is not unusual in itself, but it is essential that external contributions be secured to cover elements of the expenditure, as without them, the proposed projections are not sustainable and a viable operating model is not in place. (Section 3.3A)

The lack of professional management of the museum has been identified as one of the major factors contributing to operational difficulties in the past. The Maritime Institute has identified the need for a museum manager, part-time curator and part-time librarian to operate the museum at an enhanced level of service for 300 days a year. This extended period of opening would be very unlikely to be achieved without a full-time paid museum manager, and a professional paid curator will be required if the museum wishes to perform more than a local role. (Section 3.3B)

The future governance arrangements for the museum cannot be determined until its mission and role has been identified. If more partners become involved in the operation of the museum, the governance would need to change to reflect their involvement. (Section 3.3C)

If a high quality museum were developed, with a robust budget, it would be in a good position to contribute to the culture of the County and the proposed heritage cluster. In these circumstances the County Council, or another partner, could consider supporting the posts of manager and part-time curator identified by the Maritime Institute. (Section 4.1)

The County Council could consider a number of other low cost areas of support, including providing the services of the Dún Laoghaire library service to assist with cataloguing and managing the museum library. (Section 4.2)

The question of the location of the museum is not addressed in this report. It is taken that this is the only potential location, although previous reports have proposed alternative locations.

At the time of writing the report, the Maritime Institute was developing its plans for the re-opening of the museum in 2009 and this report can only reflect the information made available to the authors at the time.

1.Introduction and Background

The National Maritime Museum has requested financial assistance from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to assist it in its current and future operations.  This assessment was carried out to provide the County Council with an understanding of the National Maritime Museum’s current capacity and future potential to fulfil its role as a museum. It was carried out in February and March 2008, and we are grateful to all those that contributed to this work.

The National Maritime Museum is housed in a historic church building, the Mariners’ Church in Dún Laoghaire. The collection, belonging to the Maritime Institute of Ireland, is acknowledged as being ’possibly the largest and most comprehensive collection of maritime artefacts in the country’[1], and includes a comprehensive maritime library. The exhibits cover a wide variety of Irish maritime history with a particular focus on significant events and activities from the Dún Laoghaire region. The long established ferry links to Holyhead have encouraged the museum to develop links to the Holyhead Maritime Museum in Wales.

The church stands on a prominent position overlooking, but set back from, the harbour. At present it is separated from the town centre by a park and development site but, by 2012, it is anticipated that a new library centre will be constructed adjacent to the museum. The church was built in 1837 to serve the Officers and Sailors using Kingstown harbour, now Dún Laoghaire. In 1971 the building ceased to be used as a church and in 1976 it was leased to the Maritime Institute, who subsequently purchased the freehold from the Representative Body of the Church of Ireland. The Maritime Institute, which is a limited company and charity, has opened the church to the public as the National Maritime Museum since the mid 1970s. A substantial grant was obtained from the Taoiseach’s Office in 2006 to conserve the fabric of the building and the second phase of major building works is currently underway.

However, in recent years the museum opened at irregular times. This led to a substantial drop in visitors, prior to the current closure while the refurbishment is taking place. There is a proposed next phase of capital works that will provide services, including heating and lighting, as well as the new displays. The application to fund these works was submitted to the Taoiseach’s Office in April 2008. If the application is successful, the Maritime Institute’s intention is to re-open the museum in 2009, on completion of these works. The Maritime Institute is also seeking other funds to support the operation of the museum, including launching a public appeal and exploring European Union funding.

The museum is operated solely by volunteers, and insufficient income has been identified as one of the factors that has contributed to operational difficulties in the past. From 1995 to 1997, a number of reports were commissioned to look at future development options for the museum, but few of the recommendations were implemented.

2.Assessment of the museum against the Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI)

2.1 Overview of findings

This assessment of the museum was conducted when it was being refurbished, and access to the building was very restricted. Therefore, the information in this report has been obtained from documentary sources prepared by members of the Executive Committee and the Museum Committee, interviews and a workshop with members of the Maritime Institute on 1st March 2008. Details of the people consulted and a review of the workshop are given in Appendix 5.

‘The Museum Standards Programme for Ireland consists of a series of detailed, and vigorous, minimum standards and objectives that recognise international best practice in museums’, (Heritage Council 2006). These standards cover museum management, collection management, and public services. The Standards programme is not, however, a vehicle for the assessment of a museum’s overall viability.

The MSPI consists of 34 minimum standards, of which 25 must be achieved to achieve Interim accreditation, and the remaining nine standards must be achieved for Full accreditation. The assessment of the Maritime Museum against the standards is provided in Appendix 1, and details of the support required to achieve the various elements of the standards is set out in Appendix 2.

The members of the Maritime Institute have not yet addressed meeting the standards, but are willing to make the effort to achieve them. There is also a foundation of good practice on which to build and there is the potential for this museum to meet the standards in due course. The enthusiasm and motivation of the volunteers is important, but there is also a need for training and professional support to channel their work so that the standards can be met effectively. It should be recognised that even for museums with full-time professional staff, meeting the standards is not an insignificant activity.

The Maritime Institute has the potential to achieve the Interim standards within the three years the programme allows, subject to:

  • Additional support being available to achieve specific standards
  • The capital project being completed to improve the quality of the museum environment and facilities

Following the achievement of the Interim standards, it would be possible to achieve the Full standards within the required five-year period, with additional support. A new management structure, with paid professional staff, would make it easier to achieve and maintain the standards.

2.2 Summary of the support required and the financial implications

The Heritage Council will be providing training courses for museums in the Standards Programme, which would be available to the National Maritime Museum. In addition to this training, the cost of external support to enable the Maritime Institute to achieve the standards is set out below. These indicative costs are based on the Heritage Council’s current daily rate for MSPI assessors of €575 per day, and would total €26,450 over a five-year period.

Standard Support Required Number of Days Cost (€)
Eligibility criteria Museum professional 1


Legal advice Not possible to cost at this stage

Interim standards Museum professional 31


Conservator 4


Full standards Museum professional 10





  • 10-20 days from a teacher or educator. This should be included in the capital project to develop educational resources for the museum.
  • Costs associated with the environmental improvements to the building (within the proposed capital project), and computers and cataloguing software.

The Maritime Institute has identified the need to employ a professional part-time curator. If this appointment takes place, the curator would be able to help produce procedures and documents to achieve Interim accreditation. However, based on our experience with other museums, the Maritime Institute would still need some outside support to achieve the standards, as the part-time curator would not have sufficient spare capacity within their day-to-day duties.

Although the ability of the museum to achieve the MSPI standards will be an important indicator of its likely successful operation, there are other critical factors relating to the standards, which will affect the viability of the museum and its ultimate long-term ability to thrive and develop. These factors, and the interrelated stages of museum development, are considered in more detail in the following sections and summarised in the diagram at Appendix 3.

3. Key stages of development to produce a viable new museum with a regional and/or national profile

3.1 Formal identification of mission and role

The Maritime Institute needs to formally adopt a mission statement that sets out the role of its museum within Ireland. At the workshop held on 1st March 2008, there were a range of options put forward for the museum’s role, which remained diverse despite a previous meeting held to establish the museum’s mission. It is necessary for the Maritime Institute to clearly identify the role of the museum, before developing the detailed specification for capital works and the brief for the museum displays.

There is currently a great deal of interest and activity in relation to maritime collections in Ireland, championed by the Heritage Council which has advocated the development of a national maritime museum together with a number of regional museums, (see Appendix 4). The Maritime Institute should establish the position of its museum in relation to these proposals and the possible new developments. Although the National Maritime Museum has the title ‘National’ it has been difficult for the Maritime Institute to fill this role with their museum. In deciding on the future role and mission, the Maritime Institute needs to consider carefully whether it will be in a position to function as a national museum or whether a regional role is more deliverable.

We recommend that the Maritime Institute begins discussions with stakeholders and potential stakeholders to clarify which role and mission would attract most financial support. Organisations to be consulted should include Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, the Heritage Council, Dublin Tourism, the National Museum of Ireland and the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Board.

There are many options that the Maritime Institute may want to investigate for its future role with stakeholders, and below are three that could be considered. They are not mutually exclusive and are included in this report to give the Maritime Institute and the County Council an idea of the potential complexities of different strategies. Key factors in relation to each option are summarised in the table below.

A. A memorial museum, commemorating Irish seafarers but with the Mariners’ church as its focus.

This would provide a similar level of service and facilities to the existing museum, but with a refurbished building structure and some improved displays, focusing on the church and its role in commemorating the lives and work of Irish seafarers. The museum would be run, almost exclusively, by volunteers. The church could be used for concerts and events. The addition of the restaurant and tower visits could provide a useful income stream, if revenue forecasts (including maintenance and renewal costs), give a positive return.

This option is unlikely to attract a very large number of visitors but running costs would be low, and the church building would be in use. If sufficient funding for completing the capital works is not obtained, this may be the only realistic option in the short term.

B. A museum about Dún Laoghaire, Dublin and the Sea

There is not currently a Dún Laoghaire museum. As the town, Dublin and maritime history are interlinked, the museum could tell this regional story effectively. It would serve as good introduction to the area and could possibly house the Tourist Information Centre. It would contain modern displays, boats, cabin sections etc, with video and interactive exhibits, and require major fit-out construction to build the displays. A number of new significant exhibits would need to be acquired to develop the exhibitions, and it would require significant expenditure.

Once the museum displays are built the museum could operate at a relatively low level, with limited opening, using volunteer manpower. However, this would not make the most of the capital investment and the museum’s potential to contribute to the cultural life of the community and attract visitors to Dún Laoghaire. Therefore, the museum would be most effective if a manager and a part-time curator were employed.

C. A national maritime museum, which covers all the maritime history of Ireland.

The Maritime Institute could build on the quality of their collection and become the National Maritime Museum both in ‘title’ and in reality, being recognised as the National Maritime Museum in Ireland. It is unlikely that any other national maritime museum developments will begin in the near future and, if they take place, the Dún Laoghaire National Maritime Museum would be in position to join them in a federated operation.

Such a museum would tell the story of all of Ireland’s maritime history and would need to display objects that came from throughout Ireland. In keeping with the visitors’ expectation of a museum using the term ‘national’ it would need to contain very high quality modern displays, boats, cabin sections etc, with video and interactive exhibits, and would require major fit-out construction to build the displays. It would require the acquisition of a number of major exhibits, including boats from partners and others, and it would require significant expenditure.

Sourcing, acquiring and preparing exhibits would take time and would be best achieved once permanent staff have been recruited.  The interior space, and lack of access to sea, will make the display of vessels difficult and visitors may expect these as part of a national museum.

This would be a very high cost option, as it should open daily, have exciting displays and should have permanent staff in a new management structure.

Possible development options

Mariners’ Memorial Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, and the Sea National Maritime Museum
Scope Taking the church as its focus, it covers some aspects of maritime history and the memorial role. The history and development of the Dublin region and its relationship with the sea. Comprehensive maritime history of Ireland, and the sea.
Displays Includes similar, but improved, displays, from the previous museum operation. New displays to a high standard, using modern display techniques. New displays to a high standard, using modern display techniques.
Collections Mainly the existing collections with others obtained on an opportunity basis, as and when possible. Some new collections to reflect the region, and cover the regional maritime activities and the sea. Substantial new collections to reflect the region, the nation and comprehensively cover the maritime activities and the sea.
Governance Maritime Institute, with museum committee as now. Joint arrangement between regional partners and the Maritime Institute. Joint arrangement between national and regional partners and the Maritime Institute.
Management Museum and library committee. Management committee with representatives of all bodies. Management committee with representatives of all bodies.
Staff Mainly volunteers, although a part-time manager/ volunteer co-ordinator would be advantageous. Manager

Part-time curator

Support from Dún Laoghaire library staff


Curator/ assistant manager


Education officer

Marketing officer

Other staff

Support from Dún Laoghaire library staff

Activities General visits.

Limited school visits. Library available for researchers.

General visits.

School visits programme.

Library available for researchers and linked to Dún Laoghaire libraries.

General visits.

Comprehensive school visits programme.

Outreach programme. Library available for researchers and linked to Dún Laoghaire libraries.

Partners Mainly lenders. Regional, and maritime organisations. Ideally the museum would become linked to a group of maritime museums. Regional, national and maritime organisations.

Ideally the NMM would lead, and become linked to, a group of maritime museums.

Capital costs Low for fit out High for fit out High for fit out
Operating costs Low Medium High
Opening hours Weekends in season, holiday weekdays, other days by arrangement. All weekends, and everyday from Easter until the end of October. Every day, all year.
Visitor potential Low – up to 10,000 Medium 20-30000 Medium to High


Marketing Local Local, regional and some national Local, regional, national and some international
Restaurant Possible, but would have to completely stand alone and not need museum visitors. Possible, with more use seasonally when museum open. Possible, with use by museum visitors.


A range of concerts or events is possible if seating, heating and lighting is provided. A range of concerts and events should be provided. A range of concerts and events should be provided.
Tower views Possible, if lift and viewing platform installed and the operation is viable. Possible, if lift and viewing platform installed and the operation is viable. It would provide a useful view to interpret the area. Possible, if lift and viewing platform installed and the operation is viable. It would provide a useful view to interpret the area.

3.2 Redevelopment of the museum

The Maritime Institute has submitted an application to the government for funding to complete the capital works and, if successful, it will lead to the reopening of the museum with new displays. The specification for these works should be informed by a clear identification of the role that the museum will fulfil and the external funding available for future operation. The programme to fit out the museum and reopen in 2009 will be extremely challenging, and is unlikely to be achieved without additional professional help.

The context for the museum’s role could be affected by the report launched on 9th April 2008:The Vision- Tourism Master Plan for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. It identifies the Maritime Museum as a key project in the ‘heritage cluster’ and the hub for a themed maritime trail. One of the report’s proposals is for an elevated walkway that would connect the new library and the Mariners’ Church with the Carlisle Pier and waterfront. There are also proposals for a general regeneration of waterfront activities, including a water park and water dome. If these schemes were implemented they would have a beneficial impact on the number of visitors to the area and consequently to the museum.

3.3 Refinement of the operational plan for the re-opened museum

A. Revenue Budget

A 5-year outline of income and expenditure, with a slightly more detailed breakdown of one year’s expenditure (year unspecified) has been provided by the Maritime Institute: Five-Year Plan 2008-2012. This is summarised in the table below.

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5





Tower viewing





Shop sales





Total admission income











Letting income





Restaurant franchise





Fundraising events






Total income






Total expenditure













  • Year 1 is the year before opening.
  • The income and expenditure plan is in Euro, and excludes elements included in the capital project.
  • The proposed admission prices for 2009 are: adults €7, pensioners €5, children €3, families €15
  • The expenditure projections include a sum of €85,000 for a manager, curator and part-time librarian by Year 3.

A straightforward analysis of the projections indicates a total shortfall of revenue funding over the first five years of €204,328. However, these projections appear optimistic for the reasons indicated below.

  • The admissions income is based on about 12,300 visitors in Year 5 when the museum would be open for 300 days a year. This estimate may be on the low side as the nearby Dalkey Heritage Centre receives c.20,000 visitors per annum. The museum would also be likely to receive more visitors if the plans outlined in the Tourism Master Plan come to fruition and more visitors are attracted to the area. It is prudent not to over estimate visitor admissions and income, and to treat the income from additional visitors as a bonus. However, of more concern are the estimates of income relating to tower viewing, letting income and the restaurant franchise.
  • The viewing tower platform has the potential to generate additional revenue, and there are good examples of church towers being used in this way to financial advantage. The predicted income rises from €6000 to €11,700 by Year 5, based on a charge of €3 per person. However, managing this operation will require additional staffing and maintenance costs which will need to be reflected in the budget. The architectural and planning aspects of installing a lift in a historic tower are also complex. Therefore, this work may not be completed by the museum opening date and so may not contribute its share of the income in the first year.
  • The restaurant franchise income is based on a share of profits from a new building on a relatively small site that does not yet have a detailed design or planning permission. As with the tower viewing, it may not contribute its predicted income in the first year of the museum’s reopening. A simple analysis of the likely returns from a restaurant of this size suggests that the income in future years is unlikely to reach the level indicated, unless there is a very strong unmet demand for restaurant space in Dún Laoghaire. From 2012, the planned new library will also have a catering facility adjacent to the museum.
  • The lettings income is shown as increasing from €15,000 to €20,000. This seems an ambitious target, although the Maritime Institute have had interest expressed from two potential tenants that have funds available at this level. However, if the likely users are organisations that would normally use community premises, churches or church halls, it is unlikely that the income target will be met. To achieve any substantial income the facilities will need to be positively marketed to potential users, and the museum will have to meet the requirements of users, such as closing early to set up for events. To achieve this level of income outside normal opening hours there will be increased costs, which may not be reflected in the expenditure projections.

These three sources of income (tower, restaurant and lettings) are shown as contributing €33,000 (50% of the total income) in Year 2 rising to €51,700 (41% of total income) in Year 5. If these income streams do not begin as expected, or contribute less than predicted, the total shortfall over 5 years will be substantially greater than the planned €204,328.

The present income and expenditure projections are not accurate enough to enable a business plan for the redeveloped museum to be drawn up. The Maritime Institute is recommended to take external advice to ensure that realistic and informed estimates of expenditure and income are obtained. Of particular importance, is the need to ensure that proposed income streams, such as from the restaurant and lettings, are certain to make a contribution.

Whilst the level of deficit can be debated and refined, it is clear that the Maritime Institute is proposing to operate the museum in a deficit mode. It is common for independent museums to operate a deficit budget with external sources of grant income covering the excess expenditure. It is essential that external contributions are secured to cover elements of the expenditure, as without them, the proposed projections are not sustainable and a viable operating model is not in place.

B. Management Structure of the Museum

The lack of professional management of the museum has been identified as one of the major factors contributing to operational difficulties in the past. To rectify this the Maritime Institute has planned for three new staff posts to operate the museum at an enhanced level of service for 300 days a year: a museum manager, part-time curator and part-time librarian This extended period of opening, and the management of lettings and a restaurant franchise, would be very unlikely to be achieved without a full-time paid museum manager. For comparison Dalkey Castle Heritage Centre, which is open all year, employs a full-time manager, supported by two supervisors and staff from a government employment scheme.

The need for the part-time curator will depend on the mission and role identified for the Maritime Museum. However, the Maritime Institute has an important collection, which would benefit from having a professional curator and such a post will be essential if the museum wishes to perform more than a local role. The Museum is planning to borrow a number of exhibits for its new displays and loans from other major museums, such as the National Museum of Ireland, will be dependant on there being a professional curator in post. The curator would also be able to support, and deputise for, the museum manager. It is possible to maintain the Collections Management standards in the MSPI without a paid curator, but such a post would enable the museum to maintain these standards more effectively.

The museum has an important library collection and the Maritime Institute has identified the need for a part-time librarian. Although this post would be desirable, it has a revenue cost associated with it. The work could be carried out in a different way with support from the County Council to catalogue the museum’s library within the Dún Laoghaire Library’s cataloguing system, together with some ongoing support for the volunteer librarian.

C. Museum Governance

The museum is managed by the Museum and Library Committee of the Maritime Institute of Ireland. This responsibility is delegated by the Executive Committee, which manages the Institute and holds the Mariners’ Church in trust on behalf of all members of the Institute. The museum has been operated in this way since 1976 and many museums operate in a similar manner with oversight by a volunteer committee. The main problems that the National Maritime Museum has experienced relate to management, finance and operations, rather than governance.

At the workshop held on 1st March 2008, some different governance models were discussed. These included the National Maritime Museum becoming an integral cooperative structure jointly with the National Museum of Ireland, or forming a joint operating company with the County Council.

Although the present governance arrangements are not incompatible with the future development plans for the museum, they should be reviewed once the museum’s mission and role has been determined. In particular, if more partners become involved in the operation of the museum, the governance would need to change to reflect their involvement.

4. External Support Opportunities

4.1 Financial support

As indicated in section 3.3 the Maritime Institute is planning to operate the museum in a deficit mode and therefore will need external funding to cover a proportion of its expenditure. The level of funding required will be informed by the refinement of the mission and operational business case, which in itself will be informed by the funding available for the remaining capital works. If a high quality museum were developed, with a robust budget, it would be in a good position to contribute to the culture of the County and the proposed heritage cluster. In these circumstances the County Council, or another partner, could consider supporting the posts of manager and part-time curator identified by the Maritime Institute to ensure that the museum operates effectively. The museum’s financial projections include a figure of €75,000 per annum which would seem realistic for these two posts including overheads. (The issue of support for the museum library is dealt with in section 4.2 below).

However, if the County Council wishes to provide financial support for the museum, it may wish to consider how it could be involved in the governance of the museum to ensure its funding is used effectively. There are three options that could be considered:

A. Joint Operating Company

During the workshop held on 1st March 2008, some members of the Maritime Institute and the Museum Committee indicated that their preference would be to form a joint operating company with the County Council. If this proposal were investigated fully it is likely to lead to better management and a more effective museum that contributes to the cultural life of Dún Laoghaire. However, this will have substantial financial and administrative liabilities for the County Council.

B. Grant Funding with Representation

The County Council could support the Maritime Institute with a revenue grant.

This could be on the basis that the County Council is represented on a new management board for the museum, and that annual performance targets are agreed in relation to the grant. This would be similar to the arrangements at the Dalkey Heritage Centre, although there is a fundamental difference with the County Council owning the building in this case.

C. County Council Operation

The County Council could run the museum with support from the Maritime Institute, if this was the most effective way of providing a museum of benefit to the local community. However, as with option one, this will have substantial financial and administrative liabilities for the County Council.

4.2 Low cost and in-kind support

The County Council could provide support in ways that are low or at no additional cost. The County Council would, however, need to consider whether such support would set a precedent for other organisations in the County.

A. Support from the County Council Library Service

The museum needs to implement a new electronic cataloguing system to help them meet the MSPI standards, and it would be most effective if they used a system which would include both their library and the museum exhibits. To improve access to their library, the books could be catalogued on the County library system, although it would be essential for access to be possible from within the museum. If the County system was one that had a museum module, the County Council could support the museum to catalogue all their material on the same system. A small amount of ongoing support and advice would be necessary to ensure that the new acquisitions are catalogued appropriately and that the museum library operates effectively. It would require support from a librarian as well as computer resources.

B. Provide insurance cover

The museum will require a range of insurances from public liability to specific insurance relating to lift operations. The County Council could consider if they can add these insurances to the policies it holds at minimum cost.

C. Health and safety, building and maintenance inspections

The museum will need a range of advice and premises inspections.

D. Training

The County Council could offer the museum staff the opportunity to attend its training courses when appropriate courses are running and places are available.

E. Access to Purchasing Facilities

The museum could participate in the County Council’s purchasing arrangements to enable the museum to acquire essential supplies at a better price than they would obtain alone.

F. Signage

The County Council could ensure that appropriate directions signs are provided to the museum.

G. Overall support

The County Council could publicly indicate its support for the museum, and use its influence to encourage support from other organisations such as Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Tourism, the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company and the DART operator. The County Council could also ensure that the museum is promoted through any appropriate means and activities under its control.

Appendix1- Assessment of the National Maritime Museum against the MSPI standards

The Museum Standards Programme for Ireland consists of 34 minimum standards, of which 25 must be achieved to achieve Interim accreditation, and the remaining nine standards must be achieved for Full accreditation. This report concentrates particularly on the 25 standards required for Interim accreditation, as work will need to begin in the near future to achieve these.

The sections are numbered to reflect Heritage Council’s scheme for the  particular standards. As most of these are Interim standards and some are Full standards, the numbering scheme is not always sequential.

Eligibility Criteria

1. Meets the Definition of a Museum

In principle, the National Maritime Museum meets the definition of a museum.

However, the Maritime Institute needs to set out explicitly how its museum meets the MSPI criteria.


The Maritime Institute should identify how its museum meets the following criteria:

  • Not-for-profit
  • Collects
  • Safeguards
  • Holds in Trust
  • Researches
  • Develops and Interprets
  • Original objects and original objects on loan
  • For the public benefit
  • Places where people learn from and where people find inspiration and enjoyment through the display of original objects

2. An Appropriate Constitution

The Maritime Institute of Ireland was formed in August 1941 and it is a charity no. 5946. It has a Memorandum and Articles of Association and is a limited company registered in the Republic of Ireland, no 10232. The members of the elected Executive Committee are registered as directors of the Company. The Memorandum sets out one of the objects of the Institute as ’to establish, equip and maintain museums, meeting rooms, libraries and lecture or conference chambers’.  The Executive Committee manages the Institute and holds the Mariners Church in trust on behalf of all members of the Institute. The Executive Committee delegates the management of the museum and library within the Church to a museum and library committee, and this is one of the main functions of the Institute. The Memorandum specifically allows the Institute to operate a museum and library.


The Maritime Institute should revise its constitution to clarify the terms of reference of the museum and library committee, clearly set out its delegated powers, and to indicate how it discharges its curatorial and management functions.

3. Ownership and Type of Collection(s)

The collections are owned by the Maritime Institute, although a number of significant items are on loan.


In reviewing the terms of reference of the museum and library committee, it would be useful to clarify if the committee itself has the power to make acquisitions or whether each acquisition needs to be ratified by the Executive Committee or the Maritime Institute. This would help clarify where responsibility lies for the collection in terms of ownership, care, control, growth and disposal. In order to comply with the MSPI’s criteria for disposal, any decision by the Maritime Institute to dispose from the collection should only be carried out on the advice or recommendation of the museum and library committee. To be eligible for the standards programme, specific details of the ownership and type of the collection will need to be provided. Therefore the opportunity should also be taken to clearly identify the material on loan and ensure that the loan agreements are up to date.

To meet this standard, the Maritime Institute should:

  • Identify who owns the collection
  • Describe the development of the collection(s) and give details of:
    • Number of objects, loans and type of collections held
    • Describe nature, type and quantity of collection(s)
    • Give details of total number of objects and loans
    • Identify who owns the collection(s)

Interim Accreditation:  Minimum Standards to be Attained

Participants have three years to reach these minimum standards after joining the programme.

Management Standards

1.1 Mission Statement

The museum and library committee of the Maritime Institute of Ireland aspires ‘to have a well-run maritime museum, which forms part of the culture and tourist attractions for Dún Laoghaire’ and ‘should also be of a national character, commemorating Irish seafarers’.

The present statement of aspiration does not set out clearly enough the role and mission of the museum.


The Mission Statement should be revisited as part of the review of the museum and library committee remit, so that it sets out clearly the role that the Maritime Institute wishes for their museum. For a museum with a national remit, this would include identifying how its national character is to be developed and how collecting on a national basis would be defined. This will also be of use to other museums with maritime collections so that they are aware of the areas in which this museum is operating, or planning to operate.

The Mission Statement must:

·         Include clear Statement of Purpose

  • Present the Museum and its work
  • State the Museum’s values, goals, functions and stakeholders

This standard is critical to the success of any museum and the mission of the museum needs resolution before planning for the reopening is completed.

To formally meet this standard, evidence of formal approval of the mission statement by the Maritime Institute will need to be provided.

1.5 Collection Policy

The development of this policy will depend on the mission statement that is developed for the museum.


The Maritime Museum will need to develop a collection policy following the guidelines set out by the Heritage Council. It needs to clearly set out both the geographic area and the historical time period covered by the museum collections and the objectives for future collecting. It should include an assessment of the limitations on collecting caused by financial and storage constraints.

The development of this collection policy should take place in consultation with other organisations that collect maritime material throughout the Republic and probably the UK, to avoid duplication and overlap. The policy can then be made available to the public and will indicate which items the museum is interested in collecting (and those in which it is not interested) and therefore encourage suitable items to be offered to the museum.

1.6 Disposal Policy


The Maritime Museum will need to develop a disposal policy following the guidelines set out by the Heritage Council. Such a policy will set out a presumption against disposal from the collections, and that items are not disposed of for purely financial reasons. It will also provide a process for disposing of items no longer required by the museum, and will engender public confidence by indicating that the museum only disposes of items under exceptional circumstances.

2.1 Building Ownership

The Maritime institute owns the building but evidence of ownership would be required to meet the standards.

2. 2 Formal written agreement if the Collection is owned and managed by two separate organisations

The collection is owned by the Maritime Institute, although a number of significant items are on loan, and comments in section 2 of the Eligibility Criteria relate to clarification of the role of the museum and library committee.

2.3 Strategic Management Plan

A Strategic Management Plan and 1-Year Implementation Plan is required as evidence that corporate management is being effectively discharged and monitored.


The Museum has an outline plan for the period 2008-2012 and this should be reviewed once the mission and development plans have been clarified. The Heritage Council produce Guidelines and a Fact Sheet (which includes a recommended template), and the museum could use these if required.

2.4 Financial Plan

Details of future projections for income (for five years) and expenditure (for one year) were provided.


As with 2.3 above, these will need developing in more detail and, to meet the standards, evidence of formal approval by the Maritime Institute would need to be provided. Details of financial procedures, the current year’s budget and proposals for estimates would also be required. It would be useful to explain the financial monitoring process to identify the responsibilities of the Executive Committee and the museum and library committee.

2.5 Audited Accounts

The museum accounts are kept by the treasurer of the museum and library committee, and submitted annually to the treasurer of the Maritime Institute. The Maritime Institute is debt free and its accounts, which are audited annually, are up to date. To meet the standards audited accounts for the previous two years would need to be submitted, clearly indicating the income and expenditure which relates to the museum.

Collections Management

3.1-3.2 Evidence of Monitoring & Controlling the Museum Environment

The Mariners’ Church has had a poor environment in the past. The development project has provided an opportunity to make substantial improvements to the environment of the museum. The completed works have made the building wind and water tight and introduced UV filtering over the stained glass windows. The planned next stage of the works will provide new heating and lighting systems, which will improve the environmental conditions.

To meet this standard the museum must provide evidence that it is able to:

  • Measure and Record Temperature and RH regularly
  • Measure Light Levels and minimise UV radiation and exposure of objects to light
  • Maintain consistent records and submit sample readings
  • Make efforts to maintain a stable environment
  • Minimise sources of dust, dirt and pollutants.
  • Minimise risk of pest infestation


The refurbished museum should have good environmental systems and light control, and the Maritime Institute should ensure that the new systems enable them to provide the evidence required. Details of the systems, and how environmental conditions are maintained and recorded, should be submitted. It would be useful to indicate who is responsible for monitoring the system, and within the museum, whose responsibility it is to take action in the event of conditions being outside the accepted range. Pest control measures should also be submitted.

3.4, 3.7, 3.8,3.10,3.11 Safeguarding the Condition of the Collection


The newly refurbished church should have its condition monitored regularly, both as a housing for other exhibits and as an exhibit itself. It would be useful to record the condition of the collection as it is returned from temporary storage during the refurbishment to the new displays or new storage locations.

To meet these standards:

  • The condition of the building should be checked annually.
  • Museum staff must demonstrate basic knowledge of condition of the collection
  • Reasonable steps must be taken to preserve and protect the collection, in storage and on display

If a museum manager or curator is appointed details of the appropriate job description should be provided, together with details of the type and frequency of maintenance. This will be particularly important as the Mariners’ Church is itself part of the collection.

A risk assessment of the collection would be useful. This could be prepared as part of a review of the collection as it is put back on display or into appropriate storage.

3.13-3.15 Training in Care of Collections

The standard requires the museum to have one member of the museum responsible for collections care, and regular access to conservation and preservation advice. If the planned appointments take place, this role should be fulfilled by the new museum manager or curator.

3.18 Disaster Response Procedures

These will be required for the museum and can be developed as the museum prepares for opening. The Heritage Council produces a Fact Sheet setting out how to produce these.

4.1 Entry Record System

The museum uses a receipt form which also provides a record for loans. However, for donations or purchases it does not clearly identify a change of ownership.


The form should be reviewed to ensure that it meets the Heritage Council’s guidelines, and that it makes clear to a donor or seller that ownership has been transferred to the museum in perpetuity.

As the museum prepares for reopening, the opportunity should be taken to produce a documentation procedure manual, which sets out explicitly the steps to be taken when items are acquired. This will be particularly useful as it is likely that a number of different people will be involved in different acquisitions or different stages of the acquisition process.

Ideally the existing records should be reviewed to ensure that change of ownership has been clearly identified and the seller or donor has signed to consent to the ownership change.

Details of the entry process for items being taken on loan for exhibitions should also be provided.

4.2 Exit Records

A process for managing items that are removed from the museum should be included in any procedure manual. These exit records are required, and need to include the return of items from any temporary exhibitions.

4.3,4.4 Object Location and Movement Control

This needs to be developed. It is important to develop this procedure before the museum reopens and exhibits are moved to their display or storage locations.

4.5-4.7 Accessions Register and Secure Copy

The existing records provide the basis of an accession register and 96% of the non-library (book) exhibits have been photographed. The records are in a Word file and a printed copy exists with some hand-written entries. This method, although providing a record of exhibits, is not ideal as the museum develops as it is inflexible and provides no options for searching for data.


It is planned that a new library will be built in Haigh Terrace adjacent to the National Maritime Museum by 2012. It would be useful to discuss with the library service whether the catalogue of the Maritime Institute’s library could be incorporated into the Dún Laoghaire library system. This would enable users of the Dún Laoghaire library service to search for related materials in the Maritime Institute’s library and to be able to use them, probably by appointment. Many library-cataloguing systems can be extended to incorporate fields to record museum exhibits, and the best solution would be to use a system which enables the museum’s library and exhibits to be available on the same system.

To meet the standards two copies of the accession register should be printed on archival paper and bound, and stored in separate buildings. This process should be repeated on an annual basis for the new items added during the year. The electronic record should be backed up to another location so that there is a record held outside the museum’s premises. Further comments about the choice of a new database are given in 4.13 below.

All the items in the collection should be checked to ensure that they have been permanently marked with their accession number.

Public Services

5.1 Consistent Approach to Housestyle in Labelling

The museum must have a consistent housestyle with labelling which works for presentation and interpretation. The museum has no specific policy for using the Irish language.


The redevelopment of the museum provides an opportunity to ensure that all text panels and labels are readable by all visitors. Care will need to be taken when briefing the designers to ensure that this requirement is clearly understood and other factors that reduce readability (such as low light levels, height and positioning of text, unsuitable text, background colours and images) are avoided.

The labels used in the new displays should be planned to ensure that they have a minimum font size of 14 point and that the positioning is suitable for wheelchair users.

The labelling for any temporary exhibitions will naturally vary in style and approach, but applying the guidelines in this section is recommended.

5.2 Budgets for Exhibitions

The redevelopment of the museum will require an extensive capital budget to provide the type of displays that visitors would expect, and pay, to see in a major museum development. If regular temporary exhibitions are planned, a budget for these should be identified.

5.3 Maintenance Schedule for Exhibition(s)

The exhibitions within the museum will need maintenance. This standard asks for details of the process and who is responsible.

6.1 Outline of Education Activities/Programme

A programme is required to meet the standard.


As part of the planning for reopening, advice should be taken to ensure that the displays are useful for educational visits, and that appropriate facilities are provided. This would include providing a gallery with interactives suitable for younger children, having a teaching space, with spaces for coats and bags and for lunches to be eaten indoors. It would also be useful to have the appropriate number of suitable toilets adjacent to the teaching space. Material and resources for teachers can be made available on the museum’s website. A trained teacher should help develop the material and train the museum volunteers to be able to support the education visits.

7.2 Receipting System if Admission Charged

Details of the system to be used within the museum would be required.

7.3 Clear External Signage with Opening Hours Displayed

There are existing clear signs on and near the museum, although all would need refurbishment.


Working with the local authority it would be useful identify where signs directing people to the museum from various key points could be sited, as these may take some time to provide

7.4 Telephone with Answering Service

This is required and is in the plans for reopening.

7.4 Toilet

Toilets will be provided within the newly refurbished premises.


It is important that enough toilets are provided to cater for school groups, parties and concert visitors, rather than just the number that would be provided for general public visiting in normal hours. Problems with inadequacy or cleanliness of toilets are often a major factor that can reduce the perceived enjoyment of a visit and, consequently, the number of positive recommendations to others.

7.7,7.8 Visitor Statistics

The museum would need:

  • A system to record number of visitors
  • Monthly and annual analysis of results


The choice of ticketing system can provide data to record visitors and

may provide some analysis. Separate systems may be needed to record library users, and possibly event users. It would also be useful to keep a record of research enquiries received by telephone, in person and by email.

These can be introduced as the museum reopens.

It would be useful to make regular surveys of visitors, particularly to gauge the response to the new displays. Simpler self-completed surveys or comment cards could be used. Alternatively, a selection of visitors could be surveyed by museum volunteer staff, if this could be achieved without detriment to their invigilation duties. The Heritage Council has a template available to use for recording visitors.

Full Accreditation:  Minimum Standards to be Attained

The following nine minimum standards have to be attained for Full Accreditation. This is the stage after Interim accreditation has been obtained, and participants have up to five years to achieve these standards after joining the programme.

1.7  Loan Policy

This will be required, and will need to relate to the museum’s mission and any temporary exhibitions programmes that borrow items.

3.19  Disaster Plan

This will be required. It should identify action to be taken within the museum. Consideration should be given to developing this in conjunction with the new library to enable resources and expertise to be shared.

3.20  Care of Collections Strategy

This is required and needs to identify the care of the collections within the museum.

4.9 Plan for Documentation Backlog

The museum has most items recorded, although the documentation would need to be reviewed and improved as part of the change to the new database.

4.10-4.12  Loan Agreements and Records

Agreements and records should be reviewed in the light of this standard.

4.13  Catalogue

The museum is considering a new database for recording its collection. Using an Access database or museum system could provide a good basis for a catalogue, but details of the data standard and procedures will be required. The new database should include all the fields set out in this section of the standard.

5.4  Visitor Exit Survey to Assess Exhibition(s)

Regular surveys will be required to assess the success of any exhibitions in the new museum. In the first instance these could be used to record responses to the new displays. This would be useful to inform the future acquisition and exhibition policies.

5.5  Exhibition Policy

This would be required. As the museum is unlikely to have large number of changing exhibitions, this would be relatively straightforward to produce.

6.6 Education Policy

This would be required and can be developed from experience gained from the education activities developed to meet standard 6.1.

Appendix 2- Support required to achieve the Standards

1. Eligibility Criteria

We estimate that a museum professional would be required for 1 day to help with this aspect, plus any legal advice that may be required to amend the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Maritime Institute. 

2. The Interim Standards

(a) Management standards

The standards in this section (mission statement, collection policy, building ownership, strategic management plan, financial plan, accounts) are critical to the success of the museum, but depend on clarification of the precise role and future operation of the museum before they can be achieved. The Maritime Institute will need to develop their mission themselves but external support would be required to achieve the rest of these standards.

Working with the Maritime Institute, we estimate a museum professional would need to be employed for 20 days to assist with achieving these standards.

(b) Collections Management standards

The ability to achieve some of the standards in this section (monitoring and controlling museum environment, safeguarding the collection) will depend on the successful completion of the development of the Mariners’ Church building. If the remaining capital works are not completed, it will be difficult to achieve the standards in this section.

The Maritime Institute is at a critical stage in developing the new museum facilities and assistance at this stage would ensure a successful outcome. We estimate that 4 days advice is needed from a trained museum conservator to ensure that the proposed heating and monitoring systems are appropriate. At a later stage, we estimate that training in safeguarding the collection would also be required.

The other standards in this section deal with putting in place effective processes for the management of the collections: disaster response procedures, entry and exit record system, movement control, and accessions register.

To develop these processes, we estimate 10 days external support from a museum professional would be required.

(c) The Public Services standards

The ability to meet the standards in this section (exhibitions, long-term and temporary, labelling, visitor statistics, educational activities/programmes, receipting system, toilets, signage) is mainly dependent on the successful completion of the museum redevelopment.

To support the achievement of these standards, we estimate 1 day of external support from a museum professional would be required.

3. Support required to achieve the Full Standards

Achieving the Full standards is a second stage in the process. It is likely that up to 10 days from a museum professional, plus training, would be required to

achieve these standards.

Appendix 3- Museum development stages and their inter- relationships

Museum Standards

Programme for Ireland

Appendix 4 – The National Context

In Ireland there is a growing interest in the future of maritime collections. The Heritage Council has taken a leading role in this area, and has advocated the development of a national maritime museum together with a number of regional maritime museums to reflect regional differences.

The Heritage Council has recently commissioned two reports which could affect the development of the maritime museum in Dún Laoghaire.

Audit of Maritime Collections- a report for The Heritage Council by Darina Tully, October 2006.

The objective of this study was to:

  • Identify the location of maritime and inland waterways collections in Ireland
  • An overview of what is contained in each collection
  • An indication, where practical, of the condition of each collection
  • An indication, where practical, of the conditions in which each collection is stored
  • Whether the collections also contain paper records (archives, plans, charts and maps, photographs and drawings)
  • Ownership of each collection.

In the 26 counties of the Republic, Darina Tully and her team identified 170 collections cared for by a wide variety of organisations including museums, heritage centres, clubs and private owners.

The review of the collection of the National Maritime Museum stated:

‘housed in a historic mariners’ church, this museum contains possibly the largest and most comprehensive collection of maritime artefacts in the country’

One of the recommendations in this report could have a bearing on the development of the National Maritime Museum:

‘the need for a modern professionally run, national maritime museum, and possibly several regional maritime museums. At least one of the regional museums could be a national boat collation and another could cover inland waterways. There is no doubt that such a development would, by its nature, be both controversial and lengthy. In the interim, designated and county museums should be encouraged to exhibit more maritime related material.’

The potential to Create A Naval, Or Maritime Museum On Haulbowline Cork Harbour- Scoping Study for the Irish Naval Service and The Heritage Council of Ireland, February 2007

This study concludes that Cork harbour would be an appropriate location for the creation of a maritime museum, but points out that it would cost about €20m and implies that it would take a number of years to develop.

It suggests such a facility of national standard could only be created with a focused collection policy and loans from the reserve collection of the National Museum, County and local museums. It highlights the need to establish partnerships with a range of museums and suggests that this would effectively create ’a series of networked maritime museums across Ireland which are entirely supportive and complementary and not wastefully duplicating.’

The report concludes that ‘nowhere adequately presents the story of Ireland’s outstanding maritime heritage and the National Museum has no plans to develop a facility in the foreseeable future.’

Appendix 5- Consultations and Contributors

Carey, Tim; Heritage Officer                                   Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council

Dunne, Margaret; Manager                                     Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre

Joye, Lar; Curator of Military History                      National Museum of Ireland

Keegan, Owen; County Manager                            Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council

MacNulty, Peter; Managing Director                       Tourism Development International

Magee ,Frank; Chief Executive                              Dublin Tourism

Maguire, Dr. Hugh; Museums & Archives              The Heritage Council

Shakespeare, Richard; Senior Executive Officer   Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council

Slattery, James; Architect                                       David Slattery Architects

Members of the Maritime Institute

Members, and particularly the President Eoghan Ganly, provided a wide range of information about the museum and the development project. The following members participated in a Workshop held at the Royal Marine Hotel, Dún Laoghaire on 1st March 2008:

Dr. Philip Smyly, Barry Desmond, Michael Prior, Padraic O’Brolchain, Roger Kirker, Paul Durkan, Tom Moran, Pauline Aleen, Seamus O’Connor, John Moore, Noel Vaughan, Pat Sweeney, Eoghan Ganly.

The workshop was conducted by Elaine Sansom and Robert Taylor, and covered a number of areas:

  • Barriers to developing a successful museum and how to overcome them
  • Identifying the most important exhibits in the collection
  • Identifying the potential users of the museum, and what should be provided to attract them
  • A review of the Museum Standards Programme for Ireland and how the Maritime Institute could work towards the achievement of the standards

Appendix 6- Project Brief

(a) The tenderer will be required to carry out an assessment of the Museum’s current position with regard to the Heritage Council’s Museums Standards Programme under the Programme’s headings:

  • Management (mission statement, collection policy, loan policy, building ownership, strategic management plan, financial plan, accounts, etc)
  • Collections Management (monitoring and controlling museum environment, safeguarding the collection, disaster response procedure, care of collection strategy, entry record system, accessions register, loan agreement and records)
  • Public Services (exhibitions long term and temporary, budget for exhibitions, maintenance schedule, visitor survey and evaluation of exhibitions, exhibition policy, educational activities/programmes, education policy, receipting system, signage, visitor statistics)

(b) The tenderer will also be required to assess the future potential of the Museum to fulfil, or partially fulfil, the requirements of the Museum Standards Programme and to make recommendations as to how the Museum could fulfil, or partially fulfil, the Museum Standards Programme.

(c) The tenderer will be required to make recommendations as to changes, if any, in the Museum’s structure, staffing, outside professional input, etc.

(d) A general assessment of the financial implications of fulfilling, or partially fulfilling, the standards will be required in order to give the council an indication of the likely financial shortfall, if any, that the Museum may experience.

(e) An assessment of how the Council could support the Museum in non-financial ways.

[1] Audit of Maritime Collections, a Report for the Heritage Council by Darina Tully, October 2006


MV Kerlogue, neutral Irish ship

The MV Kerlogue

by Marie-Claire McGann

The MV Kerlogue, was the smallest of three ships belonging to the Wexford Steamship Company.  She was built in 1939, just prior to the outbreak of the war.  Intended for coastal work, she was a mere 142 feet long, and able to carry up to 335 tons, but at that, her freeboard loaded was less than one foot.  Between her maiden voyage up until 1945 she experienced, being attacked by the allies, who allegedly mistook her for a French or Italian ship; being damaged by an acoustic mine; to saving friend and foe alike.  Through this, she continued to act as a cargo ship.  Sailing as a neutral, with the tricolour and EIRE painted large on her sides and deck, out of convoy, with full navigation lights.

Perhaps the most striking factor one thinks of when dwelling on all of the Kerlogue’s activities during these war years are not just great the number of lives she saved but that she saved lives from either side – highlighting Ireland’s neutrality during the war, and thus, making her actions thoroughly humane ones.

On the 2nd April 1941, German bombers attacked a British convoy.  A crippled collier, the Wild Rose of Liverpool was left behind.  The Kerlogue at the time was under the command of Captain Samuel Owens of Carrickfergus and was on passage from Wexford to Cardiff.  Seeing distress rockets she immediately altered course went to the aid of the Wild Rose.  Due to the bomb attack, her engines were disabled and her two lifeboats were unable to be launched.  Captain Owens took the English crew of twelve on board.  The Kerlogue took the Wild Rose in tow and beached her on Rosslare strand on the Wexford coast.  When the salvage case was heard in Dublin, Justice Conor Maguire stated that: “The master of the Kerlogue had shown enterprise and courage on the occasion”.

The 23rd October 1943 proved a trying time for the little ship.  On passage from Port Talbot to Lisbon the Kerlogue was attacked about 130miles South of Ireland by two unidentified planes.  We now know that they were Mosquito RAF planes.  Captain Fortune had both legs fractured.  Second officer Samuel Owens had severe shrapnel fragments embedded in his chest and Second Engineer James Carthy sustained a gaping back wound, to name but a few.  It was Chief officer Denis Valencie who then took command.  The twenty-minute attack not only seriously affected the crew, (Captain Fortune relied on crutches and suffered from wounds he received for the rest of his life) but also the ship. The entire bridge was destroyed, both lifeboats broken along with her compass and radio transmitter and water was overwhelming the engine room.  Thankfully the pumps were able to keep the inflowing water under control and she slowly limped into Cork.  It was her cargo of coal, which saved her.  Shells, which ripped through her deck, lodged in the coal and did not reach her hull.  Remnants of cannon shells were later found and taken away for examination and were thus found to be of British origin.  Eamon de Valera on the 2nd December 1943 made the following statement in the Dáil:

“They [British] informed us that the attacking plane did not identify the ship as Irish and at the time of the attack Kerlogue was sailing off course…The British government for that reason will no accept responsibility for the attack but are prepared to make a payment ex-gratia to the injured men.”

The Kerlogue was repaired in Cork following her attack and Captain Thomas Donohue took command.  It was under his experienced captaincy (he also commanded the Lady Belle when bombed and the Irish Oak when torpedoed) that the Kerlogue made her greatest rescue.

On a routine passage on the 29th December 1943, whilst sailing back to Dublin from Lisbon the Kerlogue was repeatedly circled by a German bomber, (actually a long-range reconnaissance aircraft) signalling ‘SOS’ requesting for help from the small ship.  She altered her course to the planes request.  At 11am the Kerlogue reached a truly ‘appalling scene’, the aftermath of a naval battle. A large destroyer, the 2,688-ton Z27, and two 1,318-ton torpedo boats had been sunk; more than 700 men.   The sea all around was littered with flotsam, corpses in life jackets and desperate men on rafts or clinging to wreckage.

Chief officer Valencie of the Kerlogue paints the scene best:

“As rafts rose into view on the crests of the giant waves we could see men on them and others clinging to their sides.  At first we did not know whether they were allied or axis until somebody noticed the long ribbons trailing downwards from behind a seaman’s cap which denoted they were German Navy men.”

Lieutenant-Commander Jaochim Quedenfelt who was the senior German officer rescued, described:

“The little ship bravely moving through the enormous waves to pick up more and more of my comrades”

For at least ten solid hours until well after the light gave up on them the crew from the Kerlogue pulled men unto their boat.  Bearing in mind the size of the Irish ship being a mere 142 feet long and a third of the size of her peers it is a remarkable feat of achievement for her to have saved 168 men (later 164 to arrive in Ireland as four died on board.)  There was no doctor on board but the crew of the Kerlogue gave the men first aid treatment to the best of their ability.  Frank Forde, in his book ‘the Long Watch’ notes that:

“…Cabins, storerooms and alleyways were soon packed with shivering, soaked and sodden men; others were placed in the engine room where it became so crowded that Chief engineer Eric Giggins could not move around to attend his machinery, and so by signs – as none spoke English – he got the survivors to move the instruments he could not reach…”

Quedenfelt requested that the ship travel to La Rochelle or Brest to land his men, however the Kerlogue refused and headed back to Ireland.  A notable factor was that the German Lieutenant-Commander did not force to be landed in France – and he so easily could have done considering the Germans numbers in comparison with the modest number of Irish crewmen.

Captain Donohue headed to Cork.  He should have gone to Fishguard.  Land’s End radio in Cornwall was broadcasting instructions to the Kerlogue to go Fishguard.  Due to the survivors’ bad state of health and few supplies, Cork proved to be the better option, as it was nearer.

The media barely seemed to get hold of the story – the Cork Examiner on Monday 3rd January 1944 printed a small paragraph on the rescue – but it was merely the statement the Government Information Bureau released.  The Germans proved very grateful and notable – sending a letter of thanks to the matron of the Cork hospital who cared for the German wounded.

After an exhausting trip the Kerlogue finally made its way back to Dublin on the 5th January 1944.  A letter from the German ambassador, Dr. Hempel, was delivered to Captain Donohue in which he expressed his thanks most beautifully:

“…To you and your crew my profound gratitude as well as my high appreciation of unhesitating valiant spirit which has prompted you to perform this exemplary deed, worthy of the great tradition of Irish gallantry and humanity…”

A silver cup was later presented to Captain Donohue with the words ‘Bay of Biscay’ engraved upon it.

The rescued Germans remained at the Curragh Internment Camp until the war was over.  Two of them, Petty Officer Helmut Weiss and Lieutenant Braatz, are buried in the German War Cemetery at Glencree, County Wicklow.

During the war, there were never more than 800 men serving on Irish ships.  149 of them lost their lives.  Many more were seriously wounded.  Few combat units had such a casualty rate.  While others were engaged in the business of war, these brightly lit and clearly painted ships plied the sea.  They were a reminder of another way of life.

In general, convoys did not stop, for even their own in the water, for fear of being torpedoed themselves.  However, these ships, with EIRE and the tricolour, the Kerlogue being one, thankfully did.

Speaking in Seanad Éireann on 27 April 1994, Senator Roche said:

“My late father was a seaman with the Wexford Steamship Company. He served the nation, like so many young men, through dangerous times in the war years. In every sense he and his colleagues put their lives on the line day after day, in ships which today would not be licensed to go on the high seas, to bring supplies to this nation. Many of his colleagues and friends and many people from Wexford and around the coast paid the ultimate price in serving this nation by losing their lives. The ships were so rickety, old and derelict that we would not go to sea in them today. Yet, these brave, perhaps foolhardy, men crossed the Atlantic, went to the Mediterranean and North African coast and kept Ireland supplied with vital provisions. My father’s ship, the Kerlogue, was involved in one of the great rescues of the war. One of the proudest possessions I have is a decoration awarded to him and other members of the crew for rescuing German sailors in the Bay of Biscay in December 1943, when they hauled hundreds of young men from the water and carried them, under threat from the RAF and the Royal Navy, to safety in Cork.

To commemorate this rescue, on 27th May 1994, six German Naval ships visited Dun Laoghaire.  There was a ceremony in the Old Mariners’ Church attended by President Mary Robinson.  Later some of the German survivors presented Richard Roche, member of the crew of the Kerlogue, with a painting of the rescue.

The Long Watch, Captain Frank Forde, isbn 1 902602 42 0
Oireachtas Debates, Seanad Éireann 27 April, 1994.

Additional material held in the National Maritime Museum, Dun Laoghaire.

An edited version of this article first appeared in the wild geese in two parts: part one and part two.

The copyright of any articles published here remain with the author in all cases

Memorandum of Association 1941





Foras Muiridhe na h-Eireann


    1. The name of the Company hereinafter called “the Institute” is “FORAS MUIRIDHE NA h-EIREANN” (The Maritime Institute of Ireland).
    2. The Registered Office of the company will be situate in Eire.
    3. The objects for which the company is established are:-
      1. To aid, benefit and assist the maritime interests of Ireland and Irish citizens pursuing maritime occupations.
      2. To promote the interests of all Irish specialised knowledge, practice and research in maritime affairs.
      3. To promote scientific, historical and specialised knowledge, practice and research in maritime affairs.
      4. To promote the advance of maritime knowledge in all or any of its branches
      5. To establish, equip and maintain museums, meeting rooms, libraries and lecture or conference chambers.
      6. To accept, receive, hold, allocate, distribute, spend or otherwise dispose of money or other personal property, donated or loaned, in furtherance of maritime interest, historic research and in any or all sciences or subjects allied or pertaining thereto, including sums voted by the Oireachtas, or by any municipal, local or other authority to that end.
      7. To accept any trusts, whether subject to special conditions or not, in furtherance of any one or more of the objects of the Institute.
      8. To take over, purchase or in any way provide or secure and use equipment, appliances, apparatus or material of any type of variety, which in the opinion of the Institute is or may be necessary or  desirable for the promotion of maritime interest and to loan, hire or sell such equipment to any person, institution or local authority.
      9. to secure such personnel as the Institute think desirable or necessary for the furtherance of the objects of the Institute, either by fellowships, lectureships, or by provision of funds to enable investigators and workers to pursue research either in Ireland or abroad.
      10. To make provision for such lectures, demonstrations to maritime Societies, publications in maritime journals, papers and monographs, and annual reports as seem to the Institute, to be likely to further the objects of the Institute.
      11. To appoint Committees to investigate special problems and to report or advise thereon.
      12. To enter into such contracts or agreements in furtherance of the objects of the Institute as the Executive committee may direct.
      13. To purchase, take on lease or in exchange, hire or otherwise acquire (to the extent permitted by law) any real or personal estate which may be deemed necessary or convenient for any of the purposes of the Institute.
      14. To construct, maintain and alter any houses, buildings or works necessary or convenient for the purposes of the Institute.
      15. To take steps by personal or written appeal, public meeting or otherwise, as may from time to time be deemed expedient, for the purpose of procuring contributions for the funds of the Institute in the shape of donations, annual subscriptions or otherwise.
      16. To print and publish any newspapers, periodicals, books or leaflets that the Institute may think desirable for the furtherance of the Institute.
      17. To borrow and raise money in such a manner as the Institute may think fit.
      18. To establish and support, or to aid in the establishment and support of associations or institutions calculated to benefit the promotion of scientific, historical, specialised knowledge and research into matters of a maritime nature.
      19. To affiliate or associate with kindred institutes, societies or other organisations in Ireland and other countries and to permit such to affiliate or associate with the Institute.
      20. To support and participate, where appropriate, in the work and interests of government departments and public and voluntary bodies, in related maritime affairs.
      21. Generally to do all other lawful acts whatsoever that may be conducive or incidental to the attainment of all or any of the above objects.Provided that the Institute shall not support with its funds any objects, or endeavour to impose on or procure, to be observed by its members or others any regulations, restriction or conditions, which, if an object of the Institute, would make it a trade union.Provided also in case the Institute shall take or hold any property subject to the jurisdiction of the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland, the Institute shall not sell, mortgage, charge or lease the same without such authority, approval or consent as may be required by law, and as regards any such property the Executive Committee of the institute shall be chargeable for such property as may come into their hands, and shall be answerable and accountable for their own acts, receipts, neglects and defaults and for the due administration of such property in the same manner and to the same extent as they would be as such Executive committee have been if no incorporation has been effected and the incorporation of the Institute shall not diminish or impair any control exercisable by the High Court or the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland over such Executive Committee but they shall, as regards any such property, be subject jointly and separately to such control or authority as if the Institute were not incorporated.  In case the Institute shall take or hold any property which may be subject to any trusts, the Institute shall only deal with the same in such manner as allowed by law having regard to such trusts.
    4. The income and property of the institute, whencesoever derived, shall be applied solely towards the promotion of the objects of the Institute as set forth in this Memorandum of Association and no portion thereof shall be paid or transferred, directly or indirectly by way of dividend, bonus, or otherwise howsoever by way of profit to the Members of the Institute.Provided that nothing herein shall prevent the payment in good faith of reasonable and proper remuneration to any officer or servant of the institute or to any Member of the Institute in return for any special services actually rendered to or special work done for the institute, nor prevent the payment of interest at a rate not exceeding 10 per centum per annum on money lent, or reasonable and proper rent for premises demised or let by any Member of the institute, but so that no member of the Executive committee shall be appointed to any office of the Institute paid by salary or fees and that no remuneration or other benefit in money or money’s worth shall be given by the Institute to any Member of such Executive Committee except repayment of out-of-pocket expenses and interest at a rate aforesaid on money lent or reasonable and proper rent for premises demised or let to the Institute.
    5. No addition, alteration or amendment shall be made to or in the regulations contained in the Articles of Association for the time being in force, unless the same have been previously submitted to and approved by the Registrar of Companies and the Charity Commissioners of the Revenue Commissions.
    6. The fourth and fifth Clauses of this Memorandum contain conditions on which a licence is granted by the appropriate Minister to the Institute, in pursuance of Section 20 of the Companies (Consolidation) Act, 1908.
    7. The liability of the Members is limited.
    8. Each member of the Institute undertakes to contribute to the assets of the Institute in the event of its being wound up while he is a member, or within one year afterwards, for payments of the debts and liabilities of the institute contracted before he ceased to be a Member, and costs, charges and expenses of winding up, and for adjustment of the rights of the contributories among themselves, such amounts may be required, not exceeding €1.27.
    9. If upon the winding up or dissolution of the Institute there remains, after satisfaction of all debts and liabilities, any property whatsoever, the same shall not be paid to or distributed among the Members of the Institute, but shall be given or transferred to some other institution or institutions, having objects similar to the objects of the Institute, and which shall prohibit the distribution of its or their income and property amongst its or their members to an extent at least as great as is imposed on the institute under or by virtue of Clause 4 hereof, such institution or institutions to be determined by the members of the Institute at or before the time of dissolution, or by default thereof by such Judge of the High court of Justice as may have jurisdiction in the matter, and if and so far as effect cannot be given to the aforesaid provision, then to some charitable object.
    10. True accounts shall be kept of the sums of money received and expended by the Institute and the matters in respect of which such receipts and expenditure take place, and of the property, credits and liabilities of the Institute, and subject to any reasonable restrictions as to the time and manner of inspecting the same that may be imposed in accordance with the regulations of the institute for the time being, shall be open to the inspection of the members.  Once at least in every year the accounts of the Institute shall be examined and the correctness of the balance sheet ascertained by one or more properly qualified auditor or auditors.
    11. Annual audited accounts shall be kept and made available to the Revenue Commissioners on request.


John Joseph Flanagan,
55 Dollymount Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin
Managing Director, Flanagans Ltd.

Michael Creedon,
‘Riversdale’, Queens Park, Monkstown, Dublin.
Plastering Contractor.

Robert William Sinnot,
North Wall House, Dublin.
Director & General Manager, British & Irish S.P. Co. Ltd.

Antoine O’Leathlobhair,
‘Lisin’, 91 Mount Prospect Avenue, Clontarf,

Joseph Brennan,
1, 2, 3 Westmoreland Street, Dublin.
Insurance Broker.

Thomas O’Connor,
27/29 Upper Abbey Street, Dublin.
Merchant and Manufacturer.

Seamus Prionnsias O’Muiris,
345 Harold’s Cross Road, Dublin,
Commander, Marine Services.

Fintan P. Murphy,
3 Greenpark, Orwell Road, Rathgar.
Insurance Broker.


Dated the 11th day of August 1941


WITNESS to the above Signatures:-

W.P. Corrigan,


3 St. Andrew Street, Dublin.


Members shall comprise every person hereafter elected a Member so long as his or her name remains on the register of the Institute as a Member.

The following are declared to be the first Members of the institute and shall be known as Founder Members.

W.E. Alexander, General Manager, Ringsend Dockyard, (Dublin) Ltd. Dublin

J.A. Belton, M.A. B.L. 17 Maretimo Gardens, E. Blackrock, Co. Dublin.

E.J. Betsor, 20 Eden Quay, Dublin.

M. Birmingham, 199 North Circular Road, Dublin 7.

Senator Brennan, 1, 2 & 3 Westmoreland Street, Dublin.

H. Brockhaven, Managing Director, Siemens Schuckert (Ireland) Ltd. Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1.

R.F. Browne, 13 Palmerstown Park, Rathmines, Dublin 6.

J. Bruton, Cornelstown, Dunboyne, Co. Meath.

R.A. Burke, 22 Eden Quay, Dublin 2.

P.C. Cahill, M.P.S.I. 16 Bachelors Walk, Dublin 1.

F.J. Cassin, 13 The Quay, Waterford.

A.S. Clarkin, 2 Herbert Avenue, Dublin.

W.P. Corrigan, 3 St. Andrew Street, Dublin.

M. Creeden ‘Riversdale’ Queens Park, Monkstown, Co. Dublin.

M. Devitt, C/O P. Donnelly & Sons ltd., 37 Westmoreland St. Dublin.

M. Devlin, 2 Lower O’Connell Street, Dublin 1.

H.E. Donegan, Solicitors, 74 South Mall, Cork.

T.J. Donovan, 153 Fortfield Road, Terenure, Dublin.

T.P. Dowdell T.D. C/O Dowdell O’Mahoney & co. Ltd. Cork.

R.J. Duggan ‘Cosh’ Ailesbury Road, Dublin.

R.B. Evans, 152 Capel Street, Dublin.

M. Fitzgerald, 21 South Anne Street, Dublin.

S. Fitzgerald, c/o Harbour Office, Cork.

F. O’Flanagan, 103 Vernon Avenue, Dublin.

J.J. Flanagan, 55 Dollymount Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin.

J.W. Gallagher, 12 Raglan Road, Dublin 4.

Lord Glenavy ‘Clonard’, Kimmage Road, Dublin.

Capt. A. S. Gordon, 17 Eden Quay, Dublin.

O. Hanratty, Cois Cleanna, Mount Merrion Avenue, Dublin.

G. Heffernan, 21 south Mall, Cork.

P. Higgins, 1 Rock Road, Booterstown, Co. Dublin.

Rev. Dr. C.F. Hurley, St. Kevin’s The Presbytery, Harrington Street, Dublin 8.

S.V. Kirkpatrick, Maretimo Gardens E. Blackrock, Co. Dublin.

C. Lavery ‘Carrickbrennan’, Monkstown, Co. Dublin.

Colonel Lawlor, 91 Mount Prospect Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin.

T.J. McBride, Bunbeg, Co. Donegal.

M.J. McCabe, ‘Knocksedan’ Shrewsbury Road, Dublin.

E.T. McCarron ‘Craiglands’ Ardeevin Road, Dalkey, Co. Dublin.

J. McEvoy ‘Cararoga’, Castle Avenue, Clontarf

N. McEvoy, c/o Connolly Shaw (Ireland) Ltd. 4 Mary’s Abbey, Dublin.

T.L. McGee, Ardee, Co. Louth.

D. McGranaghan, 15 North Circular Road, Dublin.

P. McGrath, Foxrock House, Foxrock, Co. Dublin.

T. McLaughlin, St. Brigids, Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin.

R. MacKenzie ‘Milford’ 75 Merrion Road, Dublin.

S. MacKenzie, 4 Waltham Terrace, Blackrock, Co. Dublin.

Major N. MacNeill, Ordnance Survey, Phoenix Park, Dublin.

Commander Morris, 345 Harold’s Cross Road, Dublin.

R.A. Morris, Waterford.

F. Murphy, c/o MacDonagh & Boland ltd., 31 Dame Street, Dublin.

H.M. Murphy, 4 Trinity Street, Dublin.

H.W. Nesbitt, ‘Woodlawn’, 34 Seafield Road, Clontarf, Dublin.

A. Keogh Nolan, 46 St. Lawrence Road, Clontarf, Dublin.

J.P. O’Brien ‘Culmanae’, Coliemore Road, Dalkey, Co. Dublin.

T. O’CONNOR, Eglinton Lodge, Dundrum, Co. Dublin.

S. O’Farrell, 1a Hollybrook Park, Dublin.

T. O’Hanrahan, Comlucht Siuicre Eireann Teo, Clare Street, Dublin.

J. O’Keefe, ‘Ardnagreina’, Bantry, Co. Cork.

E. O’Neill, T.D. Kinsale, Co. Cork.

H. Osterberg, Managing Director, Cement ltd., 35 Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2.

Counsellor M. O’Sullivan, P.C. 74 Ballymun Road, Dublin.

P. O Siocfhradha, 119 Morehampton Road, Dublin 4.

M. Powell, B.A. Solicitor, 50 Grand Parade, Cork.

J.P. Reihill, ‘Cintra’ Ailesbury Park, Dublin.

S. Reynolds, c/o Liffey dockyard Co. ltd. East Wall Road, Dublin.

J. J. Robinson, 8 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

A. J. K. Roycroft, ‘Quinsboro’ Limerick.

J.R. Sheridan, ‘Minerva’, St. Alban’s Park, Ballsbridge, Dublin.

T.K. Sheridan, ‘Clovelly’ 123 Vernon Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin.

R.W. Sinnott ‘Knocksinna’ Stillorgan, Co. Dublin.

J.J. Stafford, St. Mary’s Summerhill, Wexford.

Cmdr. A.J. O’B. Twohig, Maretimo Gardens W. Blackrock, Co. Dublin.

H. Wilson, Wexford

R.V. Wilson, 37 Rathfarnham Park, Dublin.

T.G. Wilson, M.B, F.R.C.S.I. 3 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin.






Foras Muiridhe na h-Eireann



In these Articles of Association, (where not repugnant to the context) the words and expressions following have means hereinafter assigned to them respectively:

(a)     ‘The Institute’ means the above-named Company, ‘Member’, and ‘honorary member’ mean, respectively Member and Honorary Member.

(b)     ‘The Articles’ means these Articles of Association, with such modifications thereof or additions thereto, as may from time to time be in force.

(c)     ‘The Bye-Laws’ means the Bye-laws of the Institute for the time being in force.

(d)     ‘Regional Group’ means a Regional Group of the Institute constituted as hereinafter provided.

(e)     ‘Executive Committee’ means the Executive Committee of the institute constituted as hereinafter provided.

(f)      ‘Seal’ shall mean the common Seal of the Institute.

(g)     The Executive Committee shall forthwith provide a Common Seal for the Institute, and they shall have power from time to time to destroy the same and substitute a new Seal in lieu thereof.

(h)    The Common Seal of the institute shall be kept at the Office of the Institute, and shall never be affixed to any document except in pursuance of a resolution of the Executive Committee and shall be so affixed in the presence of at least two Members of the Executive Committee and of the Secretary, or such person as the Executive Committee may appoint for the purpose, and such member of the Executive Committee and Secretary or other person aforesaid shall sign every instrument to which the Seal is so affixed in their presence.

(i)      Deeds, Bonds and other contracts under Seal made on behalf of the institute, sealed with the Common Seal of the Institute, shall be deemed to be duly executed.

(j)      ‘Existing’ means at the time when these Articles come into operation.

(k)     ‘Secretary’ means the Secretary of the Institute.

(l)      Expressions defined in the Companies Acts 1908 to 1924 as amended, shall have the meanings so defined.

(m)    ‘The institute’ means the registered company known as ‘Foras Muiri na hEireann – the maritime Institute of Ireland’.

(n)    ‘Annual General Meetings’ means a general meeting of members called for the purpose of hearing the reports of the officers, the state of finances the election of officers, and agree the future plans of the Institute, and other relevant matters as laid out in the Order of Business.

(o)     ‘Extraordinary General Meetings’ means a general meeting of members called for the discussion of a topic or topics of special significance to the institute where a degree of urgency is required.  No topics other than those specified in the agenda may be discussed or introduced for discussion at the EGM.

(p)     ‘Regional Group’ means a body that has a constitution of rules in accordance with the declared aims and objects of the Institute, that elects officers and holds regular meetings and an annual general meeting in pursuit of these aims.

(q)     ‘Registered Member’ means an individual member of the Institute who is currently registered with the Institute in accordance with the Articles of Association.

(r)      Words importing only the singular number include the plural and vice versa.

(s)     ‘The Seal’ means the common seal of the company.

(t)      Words importing the masculine gender include the feminine gender.

(u)    ‘Director’ means the officers and members of the Executive Committee.


The structure of the Institute shall be as follows:

An Executive Committee and Regional Groups.

The Executive Committee shall, where it considers appropriate, delegate to Committees of the Institute or to a particular member of the Institute, business of the Institute regarding the Museum, Research, Publications, the Library, Commemorative Events, Public Relations, Lectures, Visits, youth training, development, fund raising and other special activities as determined from time to time in achieving the objectives of the Institute.  The Chairperson of such committees shall report to meetings of the Executive and shall be appointed by the Executive.  All committees shall work under the general guidance of the Executive and shall be subject to reappointment following each Annual General Meeting.  The President of the Institute shall have authority to attend all such meetings.


1.      The Institute shall be open to all individuals and to corporate bodies who wish to join or to be associated with the aims of the Institute.  Only such corporate bodies as have a direct or indirect connection or interest in the affairs or aims of the Institute should normally be accepted as members under this category.

2.      There shall be five types of subscription membership

Individual and Senior Citizen




3.      The Institute shall have, in addition, the power to honour certain individuals, whether members of the Institute or not, with the title of honorary Life Member below for outstanding service to the institute or to any of the aims of the Institute.  Such persons shall be decided by the Executive Committee and notified to the Annual General Meeting.

4.      Former Presidents of the institute shall have the title ‘President Emeritus of the Institute’.

5.      The Executive Committee may also nominate Patron membership of the Institute to prominent individuals or organisations who make significant contributions or other benefactors who assist the Institute to achieve it objectives.

6.      The Executive Committee shall have the power to issue medals to members or non-members of the Institute to recognise their outstanding contribution to the aims and activities of the Institute.  The conditions governing such awards shall be drawn up by the Executive Committee from time to time and shall be notified to the Annual General Meeting.  The Executive Committee shall present such awards at AGMs or other suitable occasions.

7.      For the purposes of the awarding of Honorary Life Membership and where it is proposed to award medals for special service to the institute, an Awards Committee shall be appointed.  The Awards Committee will adjudicate and report to the Executive Committee on each name submitted to it and shall make an appropriate recommendation to the Executive Committee for its approval.

8.      Each category of member shall subscribe annually such sum as may be determined at the Annual General Meeting by the Members, provided that a higher annual subscription shall be paid by corporate members than by any other category of membership.

9.      The affiliation of organisations in Ireland or abroad, that have policy objectives in maritime affairs similar to that of the institute and that can be considered beneficial, to the aims of the Institute, shall be provided for.  The Executive Committee shall have the power to decide on the format of that affiliation and the manner of working with such organisations and the subscription fees to be levied.  Such affiliates shall have the right of participation but shall not be eligible to vote in any activities of the Institute.

10.    The Executive Committee shall have absolute power to terminate the membership of any member of the Institute at any time upon giving to such member one month’s previous notice in writing of the intention to terminate such membership.  The reason for such decision shall be included and the member shall have the right of appeal to the AGM.

11.    The office of a member of the Executive Committee, or any committee or sub-committee of the Institute shall be vacated – if by notice in writing to the General Secretary he resigns his office, or if he is adjudged bankrupt in the State or in Northern Ireland or Great Britain or makes any arrangement or composition with his creditors generally, or if he becomes prohibited from such office by reason of any order made under any Statute, or

–               If he is certified to have become of unsound mind or

–               If he is convicted of an indictable offence unless the Executive Committee otherwise determines or

–               If he is directly or indirectly interested in any contract with the Institute and fails to declare the nature of his interest in the manner required by the relevant Statutes.

12.    The individual or individuals whom it is proposed to remove from a position or positions on the Executive Committee, Regional Group or any sub-committee formed for any purpose whatsoever, or from membership of the Institute, or who shall be the subject of formal censure, shall be given in writing specifying the reasons for his dismissal or censure and given notice of the intention to pursue removal or any other such disciplinary course of action.

13.    The Member against whom such a disciplinary action is proposed, shall be given the right of hearing before the body from which it is proposed he be disciplined or removed, in order to appeal or make a defence on his behalf.

14.    Legal representation shall be permitted to the appellant or appellants, but at least twenty days notification must be given by the appellant to permit of legal representation on behalf of the Maritime Institute.  The Institute shall not bear any costs of legal representation by the appellant or appellants.

15.    It shall be the duty of members of the Institute and in particular members of the Executive Committee, to uphold and advance the aims and objectives of the Institute at all times.


1.      All Annual General Meetings of the Institute shall be held in Ireland.

2.      The Institute shall, between the 1st of August and the 30th of November, hold an Annual General Meeting in addition to any other meetings in that year, and shall specify as such in the notices calling it.  Not more than fifteen months shall elapse between the holding of one Annual General meeting and that of the next.

3.      The Annual General Meeting shall be held at such time and place as the Executive Committee shall appoint to receive the Annual Reports of officers, the Statement of Verification of Accounts, the appointment of an auditor or auditors for the next year, the election of a new Executive and to discuss any other matters as indicated on the Agenda.

4.      Members of the Institute at the Annual General Meeting shall elect by secret ballot to the Executive Committee not more than 12 members including the five officers from the individual members of the Institute.  Three Tellers shall be appointed from those members at the AGM.

5.      No business shall be transacted at any Annual General Meeting unless the quorum of 20 members is present.

6.      Alterations to the Articles of Association can only be made at an Annual General Meeting, and by a two-thirds majority of those present and eligible to vote.

The General Secretary of the Institute shall give 21 clear days notice of the Annual General Meeting in writing to Members.


The Executive Committee may, whenever they think fit, convene an Extraordinary General Meeting to debate a topic or topics of special importance to the Institute.

An Extraordinary General meeting may also be called, by way of written requisition delivered to the General Secretary and signed by not less than 20 individual members of the Institute.

The General Secretary shall give twenty-one clear days written notice of meetings to all members.  The notice shall also state clearly the purpose for which the meeting is called.

All voting, with the exception of Art. 5.6 shall be by simple majority, and the Chairman shall have a casting vote in the event of a Tie.


1.      The management of the Institute shall be vested in the Executive Committee, which shall be empowered to make all decisions relating to the policy, administration, finance, membership and the furtherance of the aims of the Institute.

2.      The Executive Committee shall comprise the President, the Deputy President, the General Secretary, the Treasurer, the Membership Secretary and ten ordinary members.

3.      As and from the 2008 Annual General Meeting.  The President and General Secretary shall be elected by members at the AGM for a term of office of two years.  These officers shall be eligible for re-election for a further maximum term of two years for these positions.

4.      As and from the 2008 Annual General Meeting the Deputy President, the Treasurer and membership Secretary shall be elected for a term of office of two years.  These officers shall be eligible for re-election for a further maximum term of two years for these positions.

5.      As and from the 2008 Annual General Meeting seven ordinary members of the Executive Committee shall be elected for a term of office of two years.  These members shall be eligible for re-election.

6.      Following the 2008 A.G.M. the Executive Committee may co-opt, at its absolute discretion, a further three, and not more than three ordinary members for a term of office of one year and these members shall be eligible for re-appointment.

7.      The Executive committee shall receive the reports of the Officers, the Chairman of Committees and shall hear all relevant correspondence.  The Executive shall review the applications for and accept the applications for membership under the categories as in these Articles.  They shall also decide the applications for the affiliation of new regional groups in accordance with the Aims and Objects of the Institute and with the provisions of these Articles.

8.      The Executive Committee may appoint one or more part-time or full-time paid employees to the institute.  The employee/s shall be employed at such remuneration (if any) and for such period and, subject to such conditions as the Executive shall from time to time decide.  Such conditions shall conform to regulations of the State relating to such matters.

9.      The Executive Committee may delegate such of its powers and authority to the employee/s as it shall, from time to time decide.  All employees of the Institute may attend Executive Committee meetings and participate in the proceedings, as determined by the Executive from time to time.

10.    The Executive Committee shall ensure that all books, files and records of the Institute, when no longer required for regular use, are lodged, for safe keeping in the Library of the Institute.

11.    A quorum for an Executive Committee meeting shall be at least eight members including two officers.

12.    All such books and records shall be maintained in a secure place and access shall be ensured to the auditors or those officers entitled by their appointment in the Institute to have such access.


The Executive Committee shall have authority to establish Regional Groups of the Institute composed of members in specified area of Ireland and abroad.

The title of the Regional Group shall be designated by the Executive Committee in consultation with local members.

Each Regional Group shall subscribe an annual affiliation fee to the Institute as determined by the Executive.

The opening and conduct of Regional Group Bank A

ccounts shall be subject to the supervision of the Treasurer of the Institute and quarterly reports to the Executive.  Audited accounts must be submitted each year to the Executive.

The Executive Committee shall determine the rules and guidelines for the organisation of Regional Groups.


The Executive Committee shall have full authority over the finances of the Institute.  All accounts held by all persons on behalf of the Institute for whatever purpose shall also be open to the inspection and general supervision of the Institute’s Treasurer and Auditors.

The Company may borrow money and to Mortgage or charge its undertaking and property or any part thereof, whether outright or as security for any debt, liability or obligation of the Institute provided such acts are authorised by the Executive Committee.

The Council, may, out of the moneys of the Company, by way of the Company, by way of Reserved Fund, from time to time reserve or set apart such sums as in their judgement are necessary or expedient, to be applied at the discretion of the Executive Committee in providing against losses or leasehold or other property subject to depreciation, or to meet claims on or liabilities of the Company, or to be used as a sinking fund to pay off debentures or incumbrances of the company, or subject to the provisions of the Memorandum of Association, for any other purpose of the Company.

The Treasurer must obtain the prior approval of the Executive Committee for all expenditure over such sum as shall be decided from time to time by the Executive.

All bank cheques shall have the signature of the Treasurer and the signature of a designated officer of the Executive Committee.

All day to day financial matters, including cash transaction shall be under the supervision and control of the Treasurer.

The funds of the Institute shall be lodged in the name of the Institute’s authorised officers at a bank in Ireland nominated by the Executive Committee.

The accounts to be presented to the Annual General Meeting shall have been independently verified by the Auditor/s appointed by the Institute’s Annual General Meeting.

The accounts shall also be presented to the Executive Committee in the form of a balance sheet for the guidance and information of the meetings, but not necessarily in audited form.

The Executive Committee may authorise the establishment and operation of other bank accounts as required for whatever purposes.  These accounts shall be operated, and audited, in the same way as outlined above in relation to the main accounts.


The Executive Committee shall ensure that a record, in books provided for that purpose, is kept of all the details and minutes of the following:

The names of the members of the Executive Committee present at each of its meetings and the proceedings thereof.

The proceedings of all Executive Committee meetings of the Institute and a record of the attendance thereat.

Any such minutes, if purporting to be signed by the chairman of such a meeting or by the chairman of the next succeeded meeting, shall be sufficient evidence of such a meeting without the need for further corroboration of the facts stated therein.

All such books and records shall be maintained in a secure place in the registered Head Office of the Institute.

The conduct and business of the Executive Committee and Committees shall be open and transparent.  Minutes of meetings, where kept, will be available upon request by all paid up members.  At the discretion of the Executive Committee or request of an employee, matters which are personal to an employee or may not be in the best interest of the Institute, subject to statutory obligation and other rights, may be withheld from the public domain.


The Seal of the Institute shall not be affixed to any instrument except by the authority of a resolution of the Executive Committee and in the presence of at least two members of the Executive Committee or one member of the Executive Committee and the General Secretary of the Institute and the said members of the Executive Committee and General Secretary shall sign every instrument to which the Seal shall be so affixed in their presence, and in favour of any purchaser or person bona fide dealing with the institute such signatures shall be conclusive evidence of the fact that the Seal has been properly affixed.

The Executive Committee shall cause proper books of accounts to be kept with respect to:

All sums of money received and expended by the institute and the matters in respect of which

Such receipts and expenditure take place;

All sales and purchases of goods by the Institute and’

The assets and liabilities of the Institute.

The books of accounts shall be kept at the registered office of the Institute and shall always be open to the inspection of the members of the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee shall from time to time determine whether and to what extent and at what time and places and under what conditions or regulations the accounts and books of the institute or any of them shall be open to the inspection of members (not being members of the Executive) and no member shall have any right of inspecting any account or book or document of the institute except as conferred by statute or authorised by the Executive Committee or by the Institute in general meeting.

The Executive Committee shall provide a common seal for the purposes of the company.

Once at least in every year the accounts of the institute shall be examined and the correctness of the income and expenditure account and the balance sheet ascertained by one or more properly qualified Auditor or Auditors, and the report of such Auditors together with every other document required by law to be annexed thereto, shall be laid before the Annual General Meeting of the Institute.

Auditors shall be appointed and their duties regulated in accordance with Section 160 and 163 of the Companies Act 1963, (the members of the Executive Committee being treated as the Directors named in these Sections) or any amendment or modification thereof.


Every member of the Executive Committee, the general Secretary, and any other officer or servant of the institute shall be indemnified by the Institute against all losses or liabilities which he may sustain in or about the executive of the duties of his office or otherwise in relation thereto and it shall be the duty of the Executive Committee out of the funds of the institute to pay all costs, losses, and expenses which any such officer or servant may incur or become liable for by reason of any contract entered into or act or thing done by him as such officer or servant or in any way in the discharge of his duties, including travelling, hotel and out-of-pocket expense.

No member of the Executive Committee or other officer of the Institute shall be liable for the acts, receipts, neglects or defaults of any other member of the Executive Committee or officer or servant or for any loss of expense happening to the Institute through the insufficiency or deficiency of title to any property acquired by order of the Executive Committee for or on behalf of the institute, or for the insufficiency or deficiency of any security in or upon which any of the monies of the institute shall be invested, or for any loss occasioned by any error or judgement or oversight on his part, or for any other loss, damage or misfortune whatsoever which shall happen in the execution of the duties of his office or in relation thereto, unless the same happen through his own dishonesty.


The Executive Committee of the institute shall hold in trust the Mariners’ Church, Haigh Terrace, Dun Laoghaire and the grounds thereof on behalf of all members of the Institute.

The Mariners’ Church shall not be disposed of by the Executive Committee under any circumstances without the approval of an Extraordinary General meeting of the institute.  Such E.G.M. decision shall require a two-thirds majority of those members in attendance.  It shall be the duty of the Executive Committee to protect the major state investment in the Church in full consultation with the Office of the Public Works.

The day-to-day direction, control and finances of the Museum and the Library shall be the responsibility of the Executive Committee.  However, the Executive Committee shall have the authority to delegate such powers to a special Museum Committee and Library Committee appointed solely for such purposes and which shall carry out all its duties on behalf of the Executive Committee.  The Executive Committee shall have authority to allocate a budget to the Museum and Library Committees for specific purposes.

The Executive Committee fully acknowledges the Museum Committees right to administer their own accounts with the proviso that the Museum Accounts are annually consolidated within the Maritime Institute of Ireland accounts.

The Chairpersons of the Museum and Library Committees shall be approved by the Executive Committee and shall report to the Executive Committee as required.

The Executive Committee shall ensure that an updated archive register of all books, manuscripts, drawings, paintings, maps, photographs and any other material donated to the Library shall be maintained in the Museum.


All questions of interpretation, construction or application arising out of, or in connection with these Articles and Rules shall be determined by the Executive Committee whose decision thereon shall be final.

Alterations to any of the Rules of the Association shall be given in writing by the proposer to the General Secretary, who shall include such on the Agenda of the next General Meeting.

Alterations to either the Articles or the Rules of the institute must be carried by two thirds of these present and eligible to vote.

A journal or other publication agreed upon by the Executive Committee may be published periodically by or at the expense of the Institute, conducted whether on a part or whole-time basis, by an honorary or paid editor, or editors or Committee who shall be responsible for all that appears herein, except such matters as are inserted in accordance with the Articles and by-laws or by direction of the Executive Committee any such editor, or editors or Committee shall be appointed by and be subject to the control of the Executive Committee.  Papers of interest to the Members of the Institute shall be published as and when the Executive Committee may thing fit.

Auditors shall be appointed, and their duties regulated in accordance with Section 112 and 113 of the Companies (Consolidation) Act 1908, or any statutory modification thereof for the time being in force.

Every account of the Executive committee when audited and approved by a General Meeting shall be conclusive, except as regards any error discovered therein within three months next after the approval thereof.  Whenever any such error is discovered within that period the Account shall forthwith be correct.

A Member of the institute (including a member of the Executive Committee, may, if the Executive Committee so determine, be repaid out of the funds of the Institute any hotels, travelling or other expenses properly and necessarily incurred by him in attending meetings of the Executive Committee or otherwise on the affairs or in connection with the activities of the Institute.

Save so far as determined by Statute or by the Articles, the constitution and mode of government of the institute, the rights and obligations of every Member, honorary Member, the appointment, duties, powers and privileges of all officers, committees and governing and administrative bodies, both of the Institute and of every Regional Group, shall be such as may from time to time be prescribed and determined by or in accordance with the bye-Laws.

The Bye-Laws may be made, added to or amended, altered, or repealed by the Executive  Committee provided that:-

Any Bye-laws or any alterations or additions of or to any Bye-Laws shall be          in no way inconsistent with the Memorandum of Articles of Association.

The proposal shall not take effect until it has been confirmed at General    Meetings of the institute by at least two-thirds of the Members present    thereat;

No Bye-Law or Regulation shall be made which would amount to such an            addition to or alteration of the Articles of Association as could legally only be made by a Special Resolution passed and confirmed in accordance with           Section 69 of the Companies (Consolidation) Act 1908.  AGM 05/05/79.

The rights of the individual member shall be personal and non-transferable          and shall cease on death.  The rights of a corporate member or organisation shall be non-transferable.


1.      The members of the Institute at the Annual General meeting shall first elect the incoming President and the remaining four officers and then the remaining seven ordinary members of the Executive.

2.      The outgoing President shall continue to preside until the business of the Meeting is at an end, when he shall formally hand over to his successor.

3.      All nominations for the five posts of officers and the seven ordinary members of the Executive Committee shall be submitted to the General Secretary, in writing four teen days prior to the Annual General Meeting.  Those nominated must be present at the AGM.  The General Secretary shall submit an attendance record of all members of the Executive Committee to the AGM for the preceding year.  The person nominated must also be submitted.



1.      The business of an Annual General Meeting shall be:

Such business as by Statute, or by the Articles, or by the Bye-Laws shall for the time being be appointed to be transacted at such Meetings.

2.      The appointment of an Auditor or Auditors (who shall be a Professional Accountant or professional Accountants.

3.      Such other business as may arise for consideration.

4.      No business shall be transacted at any General meeting unless a quorum is present when the meeting proceeds to business.  Save as in hereinafter provided twenty members shall constitute a quorum.  In calculating a quorum a corporate member present by its authorised representative or representatives shall be counted as one vote.

If within a half hour from the time appointed for the holding of a meeting a quorum is not present, the meeting, if convened on the requisition of members, shall be dissolved.  In any other case, it shall stand adjourned to the same day in the next week at the same time and place, or at such other place as the Chairman of the meeting shall appoint and if at such adjourned meeting a quorum is not present within half an hour from the time appointed for holding the meeting, the members present shall be the quorum.

5.      The President shall preside as Chairman at every General Meeting, but if there is no such chairman, the Deputy President shall preside.  If at any meeting either Officer shall not be present within fifteen minutes after the time appointed for the holding the same, or shall be unwilling to preside, the members of the Executive Committee present may choose a Chairman of the Meeting, and in default of their doing so, the members present and eligible to vote shall choose some member of the Executive committee, or if no member of the Executive Committee is present, or if such members of the Executive committee present decline to take the chair, they shall choose by simple majority some member of the Institute who shall be present to preside.

6.      At any General Meeting a resolution put to the vote of the meeting shall be decided on a show of hands by a simple majority of the members present and entitled to vote, unless before, or upon, the declaration of the result of the show of hands, a poll be demanded in writing by the chairman of the meeting or by at least five members present and entitled to vote.

7.      Alterations to the Articles of Association may only be made at the Annual General Meeting and a motion or motions proposing same must accompany the Notice of Meeting to all members when calling the meeting.  A majority of two thirds of those present and eligible to vote shall be required in order to carry such proposal or proposals.

Twenty eight days clear notice of any such motions must be given to the General Secretary prior to the Annual General Meeting.

8.      Unless a poll be so demanded, a declaration by the Chairman of the meeting that a resolution has been carried or lost shall be conclusive, and an entry to that effect in the minute book of the institute shall be conclusive evidence thereof, without proof of the number or proportion of the votes recorded of the meeting at which the poll was demanded.

9.      If a poll be demanded in manner aforesaid, it shall be taken at such time and place, and in such manner, as the Chairman of the meeting shall direct, and the result of the poll shall be deemed or proportion of the votes recorded of the meeting at which the poll was demanded.

10.    with the exceptions as specified in Articles 5.6 all motions shall be carried by a simple majority of all those present and voting.  In the case of an equality of votes, the Chairman of the meeting shall be entitled to a second or casting vote.

An individual member shall have one vote.

A corporate member shall be entitled to nominate up to three representatives to attend a General Meeting but shall have only one vote.

Votes may be given on a poll either personally by an individual member, or by an authorised representative of a corporate member, or by proxy ….  In the case of a show of hands, an individual representing a corporate member, by proxy only, shall not be entitled to vote.

The instrument appointing a proxy shall be in writing under the hand of the appointer of his attorney duly authorised in writing, or if such appointer is a group member then under the hand of some officer duly authorised in that behalf or, if the appointer is a body corporate, either under seal or under the hand of an officer or attorney duly authorised.

The instrument appointing a proxy and the power of attorney or other authority, if any, under which it is signed or a notarially certified copy of that power or authority shall be deposited at the office or at such other place within the State as is specified for that purpose in the notice convening the meeting not less than 48 hours before the time for holding the meeting or adjourned meeting at which the person named in the instrument proposes to vote, or, in the case of a poll, not less than 48 hours before the time appointed for the taking of the poll, and in default the instrument shall not be treated as valid.

An instrument appointing a proxy shall be in the following form or a form as near thereto as circumstances permit – see Annex A.

The instrument appointing a proxy shall be deemed to confer authority to demand or join in demanding a poll.

A vote given in accordance with the terms of an instrument of proxy shall be valid notwithstanding the previous death or insanity of the principal or revocation of the proxy or of the authority under which the proxy was executed, if no intimation in writing of such death, insanity or revocation as aforesaid is received by the company at the office before the commencement of the meeting or adjourned meeting at which the proxy is used.

The use of proxy voting is restricted to Annual and extraordinary General Meetings only.

A notice may be served by the Institute upon any member either personally or by sending it through the post in a pre-paid letter addressed to such member at his registered place of abode.

Any notice served by post shall be deemed to have been served at the time the letter containing the same would be delivered in the ordinary course of post, and in proving such service it shall be sufficient to prove that the letter containing the notice was properly prepaid and posted.

Notice of every general meeting shall be given to:

–               Every member

–               Every person being a personal representative of the Official assignee in bankruptcy of a member where the member, but for his death or bankruptcy, would be entitled to receive notice of the meeting and.

–               The auditor for the time being of the Institute.

–               The Executive committee shall have authority to invite to whole or part of general, annual and extraordinary meetings of the Institute non-voting persons.

No other person shall be entitled to receive notices of general meetings.

Dated the 11th day of August 1941.

WITNESS to the above Signatures:-

W.P. Corrigan,


3 St. Andrew Street, Dublin.

The copyright of any articles published here remain with the author in all cases

Capt. Halpin's Uniform

Capt Robert Halpin

An exhibit illustrating Captain Halpin’s career will, on occasion, be displayed in the Museum

Captain Robert Halpin

Born in Wicklow on the 17th February 1836, son of James Halpin, innkeeper of Wicklow Bridge House. (Now known as Bridge Tavern)  He was the youngest of 13 children and first went to sea in 1847 at the age of 11.

This first stage of his life at sea was spent on the North American Trade. He was an apt and clever apprentice and as soon as he was qualified he transferred to a ship called Boomerang, which aptly enough was used on trips to Australia. He saw the way the future was to be and quickly moved to steam ships, one of which was called the Circassian. He became accustomed to dealing with passengers.

In 1858 the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company was set up in Galway, in the belief that as is was the shortest route to America, it would be safer, as many ships were wrecked rounding the coast of Ireland. At the age of 22 he took command of a 1,000 ton screw steamer called Propellor, taking passengers across the Atlantic. On one occasion there was a narrow escape as they ran out of fuel and had to burn almost everything combustible on the ship in order to reach their destination..

Then came disaster, On June 23rd 1859 when in command of a ship called Argo, he was wrecked off Newfoundland, fortunately with no loss of life. However he lost his master’s certificate for 9 months. In this same year the Galway company was looking at chartering the Great Eastern, the largest ship in the world.

Robert Halpin, meanwhile had moved on, and we next find him blockade running during the American Civil War, during the years 1863-64. He was trapped for some months in Mobile after running the Union blockade of the port. It is likely that this was a very profitable venture for Halpin.

In June 1865 he was appointed Chief Officer of the Great Eastern. A behemoth of 22,000 tons and 680 ft long, which was under the command Capt. Andersen. This amazing ship had proved to be a financial disaster as a passenger carrier, but had been chartered to lay a telegraph cable across the Atlantic.

Telegraph cables had been laid first between Dover and Calais in 1850, followed by a cable between Howth and Holyhead in 1852, (which lasted for only 3 days). In 1858 a cable was laid across the Atlantic with success, but the signal faded to nothing after a short time. In 1865, with Halpin as navigator, the Great Eastern started across the Atlantic on 22nd June. On August 1st they had gone 1,660 miles when they lost the cable in 2,000 feet of water. Using drag lines with 5 miles of hawser they made three unsuccessful attempts to recover the cable.

During the course of this work, Halpin made a name for himself by rescuing a crew member who panicked in the rigging. A fall from such a height directly into the machinery on the ship would have meant certain death for both of them. This feat brought him to the forefront of media coverage at the time.

In 1866 the same team successfully laid another cable between June 30th and July 26th. To add to his fame, Halpin then navigated the ship to the exact place where they had lost the old cable the previous year, it was successfully recovered, spliced and completed, to provide two lines of communication between America and Europe via Ireland.

When in Newfoundland, Halpin met John Munn, whose daughter he was later to marry. On his return to Ireland Halpin was given a civic reception in October 1866.

Halpin now became master of the Great Eastern and the team continued to lay telegraph cables, from France to America, and from Bombay to Suez in 1870 just as the Suez canal was due to open. The Great Eastern was a vast ship and had a very large complement of crew, cable layers, guests and officials. It was said of Halpin that “He ran the Great Eastern with the kindly amenities of a social gathering, the order of a factory and the discipline of a barrack”

In 1873 Halpin is back in Newfoundland to marry Jessie Munn, in 1874 he lays a cable to Brazil, at which time the Faraday is launched in Milford Haven. This new ship was purpose built as a cable layer and was shortly to replace the Great Eastern.

In 1876 Halpin buys Tinakilly and builds the house, which still stands. He became a respected elder in the community, and acted as Lord of the Manor. He still busied himself about maritime affairs and was frequently overseas.

In 1887 the year of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee we find him a Director of the Gas Company, and Chairman of Wicklow Regatta. In 1892 he stood as Loyalist candidate for East Wicklow without success. Finally on January 20th 1894 he died after a battle with gangrene as a result of a cut suffered when trimming his toenails. On Friday 23rd October 1897 a memorial was unveiled to Captain Robert Halpin in Wicklow’s Fitzwilliam Square.

The copyright of any articles published here remain with the author in all cases

Leinster Postcard

RMS Leinster, over 500 died

An exhibit illustrating this event will, on occasion, be displayed in the Museum

The date is 10th October 1918. The place is Kingstown (now DunLaoghaire), Britain (of which Ireland is an integral part) is at war with Germany. A war that came to a close within a number of weeks.

At the Carlisle pier one of the Kingstown to Holyhead mailboat is loading. The RMS Leinster, one of four such boats named after the provinces of Ireland, owned by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company. Launched at Belfast in 1897 the Leinster held the record for the fastest crossing to Holyhead, in 2 hours 24 minutes. At the time of launching she was the fastest ship in the world.

At this time the boat was painted in drab camouflage and carried a small gun on the afterdeck as protection. It relied on its speed to avoid submarines, which were the main menace to shipping. The crew was almost entirely Irish or Welsh. Apart from the crew and passengers, there was a team of postal sorters, working in the bowels of the ship, sorting mail delivered early that morning and due for next day delivery throughout Britain. The passengers consisted of a great variety of nationalities, many of them military, but also a large number of women and children traveling for many and varied reasons.

In total there were 771 people on board as the Leinster set sail at 8.50 a.m. under the command of Captain William Birch.

In the Irish Sea at that time there were three destroyers on patrol, His Majesties Ships, Mallard, Lively and Seal. Two of these were based in Kingstown and had set sail earlier. They reported heavy weather, it was going to be a rough crossing, with winds from the South-South-West, blowing up the Irish Sea at Force 6 or 7.

Unknown to everyone, a German U-Boat was in the vicinity under the command of Oberleutnant zur see, Robert Ramm. It was UB 123 and had made the hazardous journey from the Baltic around Scotland and Northern Ireland, sinking at least one merchant ship on the way. It was now ready and waiting for a target.

One hour after the Leinster left Kingstown, UB 123 sent off two torpedoes, one of which hit the Leinster in the bow, and the ship started to sink. An SOS was sent, which was picked up by her sister-ship the RMS Ulster which had only minutes before passed them on its way back from Holyhead. The message was relayed and sometime between 9.40 and 9.50 the Mallard, Lively and Seal rushed at full speed to the scene. Meanwhile boats and rafts were being launched, with great difficulty because of the heavy seas. Captain Birch was heard to say that he did not expect the ship to last very long, when another torpedo struck, this time in the boiler room, fragmenting a lifeboat in process of launching and sealing the fate of the Leinster, which lasted only a few more minutes. The time was around 10 a.m.

At 10 a.m. Mallard reported that their forebridge was washed away by the high seas, as it raced to the scene. At 10.15 The RMS Ulster docked and brought the first news of the disaster. A fleet of boats and ships started to get ready as fast as they could, hospitals were alerted, ambulances and transport assembled.

By 10.35 the three destroyers were on the scene lowering boats in an area 12-13 miles from Kingstown and 5 miles ESE of the Kish. Small boats got damaged, lifeboats were swamped, there were people in the sea everywhere.

The destroyers were joined by a flotilla of boats from Kingstown including the Helga. By 12.40 when the destroyers left for Kingstown taking most of the survivors, many of whom were suffering terribly from cold and immersion, a few of whom died on the way. Sadly Captain Birch, 61 years of age, did not make it. He was lost when the lifeboat he was on capsized at the moment of rescue.

It was the worst disaster ever in the Irish Sea, of the 771 who left Kingstown that morning, only 270 were saved. It was a national disaster, it was also a local disaster, there are families in Holyhead and today’s Dun Laoghaire who still remember their lost ones. Of the 22 postal workers on the boat, only one survived. Fortunately there are also some happy stories such as that of the survival of 16 year old cabin boy Thomas Connolly of Tivoli Terrace and his father Philip who was a greaser.

In late October and November, bodies were washed up on the Isle of Man and given burial there. One and a half months after the event, two bodies were washed up on the west coast of Scotland. On December 18th a bag of mail was found on the shore on the Isle of Man, dried out and later delivered overprinted with a purple stamp “Salved from S.S. Leinster”

UB 123 was probably responsible for sinking another merchant ship shortly afterwards but on Friday 18th October, her base lost contact and she was most likely sunk by a mine in the North Sea, on her way back home.

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