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Dublin: Republic of Ireland

Map of Dublin. 1851
John Tallis

Dublin is the largest city and the largest sea port of Ireland. It is located near the midpoint of Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey and at the centre of the Dublin Region. Founded as a Viking settlement, the city has been Ireland's primary city for most of the island's history since medieval times.

The medieval port of Dublin was located on the south bank of the river Liffey near Christ Church Cathedral some kilometers upstream from its current location. In 1715, the South Bull Wall was constructed to shelter the entrance to the port. Poolbeg lighthouse at the end of the South Bull Wall was constructed in 1767.

In 1800, a survey of Dublin Bay conducted by Captain William Bligh recommended the construction of the North Bull Wall. After the completion of the wall in 1842, North Bull Island slowly formed as sand built up behind it.

After James Gandon's Custom House was built further downstream in 1791, the port moved downstream to the north bank of the river estuary, where the International Financial Services Centre is currently located. The noise and dirt associated with the port traffic contributed to the decline of the Mountjoy Square area, with many wealthy families moving to the Southside.

February 28, 1890, Iron, London, United Kingdom

Trade Lists from 1889.

June 15, 1867, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Picture of the Informer Massey -- His Disclosures

Among the witnesses brought forward by the English law officers against General Burke and Patrick Doran, the Fenian leaders who were convicted and sentenced to death at Dublin, was General Massey, an American, and formerly in the Confederate army. He made a full disclosure of the plans of the American Fenians. The Dublin correspondent of the London Times gives the following interesting sketch of his testimony:

"Massey is the most gentlemanly looking person who has yet appeared in connection with the recent Fenian movement. He was dressed in a suit of fine black cloth, with a smart frock coat, which he wore open, and a folding vest like what is worn in this country at evening parties. His hair is black, with a lofty tuft surmounting a good forehead. He formerly wore a large black beard, which he has shaved off since his arrest, leaving an imperial and moustache. His complexion is rather sallow, his features regular and handsome. His voice is agreeable, but betrays a Limerick brogue, modified by the American accent, especially in the word 'No,' which be sounds as if it were spelled 'Naugh.'

From his examination by Mr. M'Donogh, Q. C. and his cross examination by Mr. Butt, it appears that he is a native of the County Limerick, born near Doonas, where he lived with his mother till he was 12 years old, and was known by the name of Patrick Condon, and after that time as Godfrey Massey, the name of his father. He supposed he was baptized, but could not tell where. He appealed to the Court for protection against being obliged to bring his family into this business, but was told that he must answer the questions. There is a priest, relative of his, in the west of Ireland. When 10 years of age he enlisted at Limerick in Land Transport Corps, and went to the Crimea, where he served for nearly a year, after which he was discharged. His discharge was lost or destroyed, but there was nothing in it disparaging; on the contrary, it contained the words, 'character conduct good.'

Irish Literature.

"He came to Ireland after leaving the Transport Corps, and having stayed few weeks in Limerick, he sailed from Cork to New York, where he was known as Patrick Condon. He was about four years in the Southern States, and was employed as a steward by Mr. Tooey, a large landowner in Texas. When the war broke out he entered the Confederate army, and rose to the rank of Colonel in the Second Texas Regiment, serving under General Jervis Smith.

"When the war was over he became a commercial traveller in New Orleans. All the time he was there be was more or less in concert with the Fenians and attended the meeting of the circles as a member, but not as a Centre. He first saw the prisoner Burke at No 19 Chatham street, New York, and knew him in America as Colonel Thomas Burke. Witness and Stephens travelled at the same time, but separately, from Philadelphia to New York, where there was a meeting of Fenian Centres, Stephens, Colonel Kelly, General Halpine and others being present, about 30 in all. Stephens presided and made a statement about the quantity of war material which the Fenians had then in New York, which he said was not one-seventh of the minimum fixed by himself, which was 30,000 rifles. He therefore objected to opening the fight as he had promised; but, to prove his fidelity, he offered to come over to Ireland, put himself in the hands of the British authorities, and get hanged a proposition which was scouted by everyone present. It was determined, however, that the fight should be opened, and the witness used all of his influence to overrule the objections of Stephens.

"That was in December. 1866. A few evenings after a purely military meeting was convened by Stephens. Capt. M'Caffarty wanted to know the plan of the campaign, but Stephens refused to divulge it. Several of the officers present desired that they would leave the next day for Ireland, which they did. Witness got a list of their names from Col. Kelly, Deputy Chief Organizer of the Irish Republic, and Commander-in-Chief of the Army. There was another mixed meeting at Stephens' lodgings, West Eleventh street, at which Kelly, Halpine and others were present. Witness left New York for England on the 12th of January last, via Portland.

"Before leaving he received from Col. Kelly 550 in gold. British money, to be distributed among the officers, some of whom were gone and others were to follow. He wrote down a list of those officers at Kelly's dictation and then destroyed the document, having first committed the names to memory. He had sent his wife to Ireland three months before, fully expecting that there would be an insurrection there. He landed first at Liverpool, and after staying there a day went on to London, where he met the prisoner at the bar, Col. Thos Burke, as one of the officers whom names had been dictated to him by Col. Kelly, and to whom Tipperary had been assigned as his district. Capt. Dunne, Capt. O'Brien and Capt. Deasy had districts assigned to them in the county of Cork, and Gen. Halpine was appointed for the Dublin district. Col. Kelly lodgings in London were at No. 5 Upper-Crescent, Change street. There witness met Gen. Fariola and Capt. Fuzeley; also O'Bejrne, delegate from Dublin; O'Mahoney, from Cork; and Harrison from Belfast, representing the Fenian Brotherhood in Ireland, to each of whom witness gave about 30, to be applied to the Fenian organization.

Arrest of Mr. C. S. Parnell. Morrisons Hotel, Dublin. 1881.
Arrest of Mr. C. S. Parnell.
Morrisons Hotel
Dublin. 1881

"An address was drawn up at that meeting, proclaiming the wrongs of Ireland, appealing to its people to take up arms, and invoking the sympathies or aid of the workingmen of England. Massey came to Dublin, and put up at the Angel Hotel, and the day after his arrival met twenty Dublin Centres, convened by O'Beirne. They gave returns showing the commercial strength of the Fenian army to be 14,000 men, with 8,000 weapons. Witness then went on to Castlebar and Wertport, in the county of Mayo. Having returned to Dublin, and stayed for a short time, be went to Cork, stopping at the Italian Hotel. On the night of his arrival he attended a Fenian meeting, held in the outskirts of the city, when he received a return of 20,000 men and 15,000 weapons, mostly pikes, as the strength of the army in Cork. He next went to the town of Tipperary, in the prosecution of his mission. He then returned to Dublin, and proceeded to London, where he arrived on Sunday, and repaired to the lodgings of Col. Kelly, from whom he got more money, having exhausted the 550. Kelly told him that the 5th of March was fixed on for the rising, because on that day Fenian prisoners were to be executed in Canada. Kelly ordered that the railway centres, such as the Limerick Junction, were to be destroyed, if they could not be held, and that a system of guerrilla warfare was to be maintained.

"Massey immediately returned to Dublin, stopping at the Angel for a night or two, and then proceeded to Mullingar for military purposes. He came back to Dublin and met the twenty Centres, and announced to O'Bierne that the 5th of March had been fixed for the rising by the Commander-in-Chief (Colonel Kelly). He started for Cork next day, where he saw O'Mahoney, and made the same announcement to him. He then left Cork for the Limerick Junction, intending to mass there as many Fenian troops as possible. What they were to to was to depend on the arrival of the military Commander-in-Chief, General Fuzeley. Fuzeley had belonged to the Federal army in America, and Stephens told witness in New York that he was to have the chief command in Ireland. Witness was to mobilize the insurgents, but the moment he stepped on the platform he was arrested. The newspapers stated that he swooned; he did not know whether he did or not, but if he did he was sorry that he ever recovered. He was arrested on Monday, and before the following Sunday he gave information -- first partially, and then more fully. He did so because he had himself been betrayed, and he declared that he had been fully determined to go on with the insurrection and establish a republic. All the directions for the rising on the 5th were given to the Centres exclusively by him, acting under the orders of Col. Kelly."

New Bedford Whaler Rescue

Justice Goff's Irish Rescue Party. A True Relation of What Befell When Certain Bold Spirits Sent a New Bedford Whaler Over-seas to Snatch the Fenian Prisoners from a British Penal Settlement.Irish Rescue Party. A New Bedford Whaler. Difficult to locate copies, but worthwhile to find. John W. Goff (1848-1924) was an Irish-born lawyer and judge, and also a committed Irish nationalist. In 1875 he played a prominent part in arranging for the rescue of six Fenian rebels imprisoned in a British penal colony in Western Australia. The seaborne expedition, which successfully evaded Royal Navy patrols, involving the New Bedford whaler Catalpa, was popularly known as "Goff's Irish Rescue Party."

On the 3rd of February, Devoy wrote to New Haven businessman James Reynolds saying that a whaling ship could be bought, and could cover its expenses by whaling during the rescue voyage. He insisted it was necessary to buy the ship, but he would need $15,000. Another complication was that many Clan branches wanted to send their own men to Australia, but O’Reilly thought that only one man was needed.

Devoy arrived in New Bedford on March 9th with a young committee member named Goff, ready to make a bid on a ship. They were too late to bid, but Devoy declared ‘I will stay here until a ship is bought’. Hathaway introduced him to John T. Richardson, a shipowner who recommended the Catalpa. Devoy went ahead and bought it for $5,250 plus fees. As Devoy only had $4,900, Richardson advanced his own money on condition that Clan na Gael would repay him – which they did. The Catalpa was 202 tons, 90 feet long and 25 feet broad.

The Voyage of the Catalpa: A Perilous Journey and Six Irish Rebels' Escape to FreedomThe Voyage of teh Catalpa.

Voyage of the Catalpa.Richardson persuaded his son-in-law to captain the ship. Captain Hathaway was excited by the venture, referring to the ship as ‘the Horse’ in his letters and using racing metaphors. The total cost rose to $18,000.

When the ship left America in April, 1875, almost none of the crew knew of its mission. Dennis Duggan, a Fenian who had been a schoolmate of Devoy’s and was a veteran of 1867, was one who did. Devoy afterward explained that he didn’t go because ‘my disappearance would at once have indicated that I had gone to Australia and the consequent loose talk would almost certainly have ruined the chances of success’. He had to travel quickly between New York, Boston and New Bedford to be in place for the Catalpa’s putting to sea. On the 29th of April, 1875, he described ‘seeing the ship forty miles out to sea, eating our dinner of hard tack, salt beef and cheese abroad’.

The Catalpa was in fact used as a whaling vessel, and on 30th May assisted a brig in trouble. In July, a boat steerer died, leaving room for Tom Brennan, Goff’s chosen representative who was set to join the craft later. However, Devoy wanted to send journalist John J. Breslin, who had assisted in Stephen’s escape from jail in 1865. Breslin didn’t like the Clan’s quasi-Masonic initiation rituals, but Devoy persuaded him to join the organization’s Hoboken Chapter. Breslin left America on the 13th of September with Tom Desmond, a Civil War veteran. The rescue from Australia was a success, and when the news reached Dublin, a procession of thousands of people marched, burning effigies of Disraeli and the Duke of Cambridge. Devoy was in bed with flu in Philadelphia when he received a telegram from Dennis Rossa telling him the Catalpa was in New York.

January 2, 1889, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

A Night Trip Across the Irish Sea From Dublin to Holyhead.
The Munster and the Lily Two Vessels That Ran Neck and Neck
From Port to Port Hot Fuauels.

Special Correspondence, Alta California.

Dublin, December 8, 1888.

Industrial Ireland.

There are few sea trips so exciting as that from Dublin to Holyhead. The City of Dublin Steamship Company's mail boats have always maintained a high rate of speed, but since the London and Northwestern Railway Company have been running their steamers in competition, the speed has almost been doubled. Having heard a great deal of the speed of the Banshee, Lily and Violet, owned by the Railway Company, I determined to make the trip across to the 'Head. Accordingly I took my way to the North Wall on one of those dirty, disagreeable nights so frequent in "dear, dirty Dublin." The tide was at the ebb at the time, and as I jogged along on the outside of a jaunting ear I thought that I had never smelt such an odor in all my life before, for when the Liffey is out the sewers discharge their contents high above water level. "Sweet Ana Liffey" just then to me seems a misnomer. I reached the north wall station about 7 p. m., having half an hour to spare before the boat started.

This time I occupied in going through the beautiful steamer on which I was to trust my fortunes for a night. The Lily was the steamer to go out that evening, and she was indeed a splendid vessel of her class. Long and narrow, with huge sidewheels and immense funnels, she looked an object of great speed, and on inquiry I found that she had run as high as nineteen knots an hour. After taking a look at the saloons and cabin, the appointments of which are most luxurious, I stopped at the gangway to watch the passengers come aboard. One particularly attracted my notice. He was a portly Irish priest, who had just come up from the country and was hastening to testify before the Parnell Commission. He was loud in his anathemas of England and the corporation whose steamer he was on. An oppressor of the poor both were, he said, and equally ready for perdition. His anger increased when a petty officer told him that as he had a third class ticket he could not go into the saloon. There was a terrible row for a few minutes, which was finally settled by the priest paying the difference. There were also a newly married English General, haughty and imperious in his demeanor, and several American and English travelers who had landed at Queenstown and come overland. There had been some hint of a race between the Lily and the Irish mail boat from Kingstown and the passengers were making a few bets between themselves.

At 7:15 o'clock the first whistle was blown, and friends and relatives of the travelers hastened ashore. Then we all gathered to the port rail and threw pennies to the singers on the quay. These singers always show up when a steamer is leaving and sing Irish songs by the dozen. As the moorings were cast off we could hear the last lines of the "Old Log Cabin in the Lane" and the "God bless yer honors" and cheers of these itinerant soloists, who on our departure would at once hasten to a "pub," or, as we say, a saloon, and drink their evenings away in good strong Dublin stout.

We were fairly off by a little after eight, heading straight down the river. It was quite an exciting time. The Captain, a stern, fine looking man, was on the bridge. The chief officer was standing in the bows. A few feet abaft him was one of the sailors, and then others posted at intervals to the bridge, where were the second officer and a quartermaster, while two other quartermasters were at the wheel. The night was dark as pitch and a slight drizzle was falling, We steamed under slow bell down the river, a long line of shipping little more than a biscuit-throw away on either hand. Suddenly one of the sailors forward cries ''Vessel on the port bow, sir-r-r," which is picked up by one after another of the look-outs until the Captain replies "Alright," in his short, sharp way, and follows it up with a "Port a little port there, port." But the big ship is right on us, and he cries hastily, "Hard over there, nard-a-port!" And then as the steamer answers her helm he adds "Steady there" and "Half speed ahead," for we are now beyond Ringsend Basin, and the channel is wide, while the drizzle rain has cleared off and it is possible to see several yards ahead. Then for the next half hour there is nothing to be heard but the beat, beat of the paddles and the regular cries of the men on watch as they pass the word of "Buoy on the port bow, sir-r-r," "Buoy on the starboard bow, sir-r-r." Then suddenly we see the Pigeon House light white and clear, and we are almost out of the river. When we get nearly abreast of the the Pigeon House light Fort, the captain cries "Full speed ahead," and the vessel commences to throb and quiver as she cuts through the water. Several of the men on watch go below until there are only left a lookout forward and the second officer and a lookout on the bridge. Presently the lookout sings out: " Steamer's light on starboard beam, sir-r-r;" and the passengers who have been on deck all the time turn in that direction, and sure enough them is a steamer creeping out from Kingstown, a whole blaze of light from stem to stern.

Ireland via Holyhead.

It is the mail boat for Holyhead, and, as she is right abreast, there is bound to be a race. She is a noble-looking vessel, called the Munster. Two straight sticks and two tall black funnels can be distinguished. She is longer than the Lily, and we wonder if our vessel appears such a noble looking thing to them as she does to us. Evidently she has also a full head of steam on, as there is a perceptible white whisker about her cutwater. After a while our captain slips down from the bridge and sends for the engineer, with whom he has a confidential chat, which, from their frequent nodding in the direction of the other steamer, is evidently about our speed. By this time we are in the heavy swell heavy, that is, as compared with the river waves, but very disagreeable and choppy for all that and making many of us sick. It is a hard sea too, and every time our vessel strikes a wave the water is dashed up as high as the mastheads and washes the decks fore and aft. The other vessel is making worse weather than we are, for she is taking huge seas over her paddle boxes and bows. Only one or two of the passengers remain on deck now, and these shelter themselves behind the weather cloths. Asking the second officer, he tells us that we are going 18 knots an hour, and there is hardly room to doubt it, for the tunnels are getting very, hot, and as for the other steamer great streaks of fire are flying from her funnels. This speed is kept up for two solid hours, the steamers running about two miles apart with the Lily somewhat in the lead. The only incident of the passage is a narrow escape we had from a big Inman liner. In the darkness she was not seen until almost upon us. She never offered to give way and the consequence is that there is a sudden shout of "Stop her! Full speed astern!" on our vessel and the big Atlantic liner; glides" solemnly, by, past our bows, and seemingly so close that we could almost jump on board. This little event puts us astern of the Munster, but we made up the difference by the time the South Stack light is sighted some twenty miles off.

At this time the mail boat's funnels are of a dull red heat, and we have climbed up to eighteen and a half knots. Soon the breakwater red flash-light is picked up, and it is not long before the breakwater, itself is picked up. We are well ahead of the mail boat now and could easily set into our berth first but we have to give way to the Royal Mail, so we slow down and let her pass as and go in. As we pass the end of the breakwater we time the steamer and find that she has been just three hours and fifteen minutes from light to light, tho distance being about sixty-five miles. It is a splendid passage and as we steam into our berth past the Munster we, give three toots of our whistle just to annoy those on board. But they are very courteous, for they give us three cheers in return. ~ Hornibrooke Stanley

1899. World's Fleet. Boston Daily Globe

Lloyds Register of Shipping gives the entire fleet of the world as 28,180 steamers and sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 27,673,628, of which 39 perent are British.

Great Britain10,990 vessels, total tonnage of 10,792,714
United States 3,010 vessels, total tonnage of 2,405,887
Norway 2,528 vessels, tonnage of 1,604,230
Germany 1,676 vessels, with a tonnage of 2,453,334, in which are included her particularly large ships.
Sweden 1,408 vessels with a tonnage of 643, 527
Italy1,150 vessels
France 1,182 vessels

For Historical Comparison
Top 10 Maritime Nations Ranked by Value (2017)

  Country # of Vessels







1 Greece 4,453 206.47 $88.0
2 Japan 4,317 150.26 $79.8
3 China 4,938 159.71 $71.7
4 USA 2,399 55.92 $46.5
5 Singapore 2,662 64.03 $41.7
6 Norway 1,668 39.68 $41.1
7 Germany 2,923 81.17 $30.3
8 UK 883 28.78 $24.3
9 Denmark 1,040 36.17 $23.4
10 South Korea 1,484 49.88 $20.1
Total 26,767 87.21 $466.9

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



Merchant Shipping

Merchant Shipping.Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.  
History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient CommerceMerchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.
W. S. Lindsay

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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