The Maritime History of Holyhead and Anglesey,
Harbour in the 1830's - The scene from St Cybi's Churchyard
By 1820, steam ships had replaced the
sailing ships operating between Holyhead and Ireland. To tell the full story of the maritime
history of Holyhead, which relied almost entirely on trade with Ireland,
it is also necessary for us to include as equally important those ports of
Ireland into which the ships sailed. There was Kingstown (later renamed
Dun Laoghaire), North Wall in Dublin, and Greenore on the Carlingford
are also the stories of two companies that competed for the prestigious
and rewarding Irish Mail contract; the
LNWR (London and North Western Railways), and the CofDSPCo (City of Dublin
Steam Pack Company). This rivalry for the mail contract would span 7
decades, during which time ships of both companies would be lost by accident,
and by acts of war, resulting in heavy loss of life.
1882 there were seven sailings a day out of Holyhead to Ireland - 2 ships
carrying mail, 2 passenger express ships, 2 cargo ships, and 1 ship on
the Greenore service. There were of course the corresponding amount of
ships inbound per day.
Holyhead, Railway Hotel and Landing Stage
World War One (WWI) four of Holyhead's ships were sunk, three by enemy
action and one in a collision. See the links on the right hand column to
read the story of the Tara (Hibernia), Anglia, Leinster and Connemara. During World War Two (WWII) the Scotia was sunk rescuing soldiers from the beaches
in Dunkirk - read her story here too. Each of these ships were crewed by
Holyhead men and women, with devastating effects on the morale of the people
of the town.
of the main problems associated with the ships steam engines was the short
life of their boilers before they had to be replaced, sometimes only 5/6
years. Replacing the boilers was an expensive and time consuming necessity,
partially eradicated when it was decided to open workshops in Holyhead
to make their own. This replacement became unnecessary after 1888, due to improved design and materials.
Curraghmore - Holyhead 1919-1930. Later renamed the Duke of Abercorn
history of shipping links with Ireland goes back hundreds of years, and
a great many people have - and continue - to travel to Ireland via this
the shortest ferry sailing route. On Newry Beach, in the old lifeboat
station you will find the wonderful Holyhead Maritime Museum. A visit
is an absolute must. All of its part time volunteers have extensive maritime
and local knowledge that they are happy to share with any visitor.
Maritime Museum in Holyhead
about and see the photos relating to the following two companies which
operated passenger, cargo, and mail ships between Holyhead and Ireland.
Click on the links below.
London & North
Western Railway Co City of Dublin Steam Packet Company
Ships List from 1840`s on
Ships Lost during times of War.
Tara>>R.M.S. Leinster>>H.M.H.S. Anglia>>S.S. Connemara>>H.M. Transport Scotia
Primrose Hill - Shipwrecked near South Stack.