Archive for the ‘shipbuilding’ Category

The book I read to research this post was The Liffey Ships & Shipbuilding by Pat Sweeney which is an excellent book which I bought from kindle. This book is about the shipbuilding industry in Dublin & its history, the Liffey is a river which runs through Dublin. My family on my mums side are from Dublin & while as far as I know none of my family worked in the shipbuilding industry I thought it’d be interesting. The early days of Dublin as a shipbuilding city can be traced back to at least the 17th century making it older than the shipbuilding industry in Belfast which was the world capital of shipbuilding. In 1667 a dubliner designed & built the first catamaran in a small Dublin shipyard & had a race against 3 other boats which he promptly won. He built catamarins for a while until he built one that was 50 feet long that had such poor handling that the crew refused to sail in her after which he lost interest in catamarins. Another dubliner took out a patent for a steamer which used a steam powered wooden to power it but it was no where near as efficient as the later screw propeller. The Dublin shipbuilding industry really took off in the 19th & 20th centuries. It’s interesting that when Ireland became independent Britain still claimed 3 treaty ports until 1938 because Irelands ports were important to the british empire. Not many boatyards lasted very long they would be set up at boom times of shipbuilding but the ships typically lasted approximately 40 years so often they would have to try & get by doing ship repairs. In the first world war the shipbuilding industry boomed due to the huge amount of shipping lost. The british government put the irish shipyards under tremendous pressure to increase production with the prime minister David Lloyd George even writing to some personally. Between 1914 & 1920 the number of shipyards in Britain & Ireland increased by a huge amount. This caused a huge amount of unemployment when the first world war ended & there was a slump & also because Germany had to make reparations she gave the UK a load of her ships. What caused further unemployment for the Dublin shipyards was the british governments decision to have ships built in Belfast regardless of the cost. A dry dock was built was built in Dublin in the 60’s but nowadays most ships are built in the developing world & the last of the Dublin shipyards was filled in, in 2009.