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Bangor's origins hark back to the founding of a monastic establishment in the early 6th century AD. The Celtic saint Deiniol is credited with establishing what was to become a powerful mission in 525 AD.

The name "Bangor" itself is a Welsh word for a type of fenced-in enclosure, and describes what was was once on the site of the cathedral in the early days of the monastery. A steam packet service between Liverpool and Bangor began in 1822, bringing visitors by sea. The pier was opened in 1896 and the Liverpool pleasure steamers landed thousands of tourists each summer. Good quality accommodation was made available at the likes of the Penrhyn Arms, the Castle Inn, the Albion, the George Hotel and the Liverpool Arms. The population of Bangor rose rapidly from 1,770 in 1801 to over 7,500 by 1841. The arrival of the railway in 1848 signalled another wave of expansion both for the industrialists and in tourism. New hotels were built such as the British, the Railway and the Belle Vue. Bangor established itself as the most important town in north Wales during the 19th century, it also claims to have the longest High Street in Wales.

June 1, 1890, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

From Belfast to Bangor by Steamer.
A Glimpse at Some of the Beauties of the Even-Green Isle
Magnficent Panoramic Views
Picturesque Shores of County Antrim and Sweet County Down Green Slopes and Wooded Glens That Are Ever Attractive Pretty Cottages, Handsome Villas and Antiquated Ruins. Written for The Sunday Call

Though Scotia's lofty mountain
With savage grandeur reigns.
Though bright be England's fountains
And fertile be her plains;
When 'midst their charms I wander
Of thee I think the while,
And seem of these the fonder,
My Own, my dear green isle.
Afar from thee sojourning
Whether I sign or smile,
I call these still, Mavourneen,
My own, my dear green isle.

~ Irish Song

SITUATED on a sheltered bay of the same name, Bangor, with its streets of white houses and pretty, detached villas, is a welcome sight to the homeward bound sailor as he enters into the well known waters of Belfast Lough. This seaside resort was a place of renown centuries ago, and has of late years rapidly developed. In summer the town is very gay, the population being more than trebled by visitors. For here the air is fresh and healthy, the bathing good, boating and yachting easy to be had; and for a background there are beautiful country roads to be enjoyed when one wearies of the too robust ozone and winds of the seaboard.

Scottish and Irish Cities: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, Belfast environs. 1897.1897 map of Scottish and Irish cities.1897 map of Scottish and Irish Cities.

These and many other attractions draw hundreds of people from the crowded city of Belfast, which is only about twelve miles distant, and from many points of northeast Ulster, to pass the summer months. Daily steamers ply from Belfast, laden with tourists out for the day, and merchants and many business men who prefer the forty-five minutes' sail up and down beautiful Belfast Lough to the quicker route by the train.

Should the weather be fine, nothing is more delightful than a trip from Belfast to Bangor on one of these line steamers. The lough winds in and out to meet the picturesque shores of County Antrim on one side and on the other lies "sweet County Down." Leaving enterprising Belfast, with its hundreds of busy mills and factories, which are usually enveloped in a cloud of smoke, we soon reach what is locally known as "The Queen's Island." Here is the famous ship-building firm of Harland & Wolff, whose vessels plow the waters of all seas, and are justly renowned. What a noise and clatter of hammers and machinery as we speed on past this busy center, with shipping on all sides. We at length leave the harbor and reach the nan channel which divides the "Twin Islands," and where our steamer is obliged to go.

Panoramic Views.

From this we soon emerge and turn our faces to the panoramic views unfolded as our dainty vessel sails away. On the left the rounded outlines of the Cave Hill command attention. Its cap of lovely white mist is just gliding off into cloud-land under the warm rays of the morning sun; and so we believe we shall have a fine day, this in the neighborhood being considered a sure token of settled weather. The Cave Hill is over 1000 fret high and is so named from the natural caves, seven of them, which are found in its face. There is a position on looking from which the profile of a man can be distinctly traced, and which is called "Napoleon Profile," from the resemblance it bears to that great soldier. The hills are continued in rounded forms down to Black Head, which on the Antrim side marks the beginning of Belfast Lough. The green slopes and wooded glens of these hills are ever beautiful, while descending to the sea beach one place of interest after another comes into view.

Carrickfergus Castle.
Carrickfergus Castle, County Antrim, Ireland
William Henry Bartlett.

The ancient town of Carrickfergus, with its walls and castle, is always prominent and of much historical interest here the soldiers practice cannon firing every summer, and as the balls whirl over the waters and the booming sound is re-echoed from shore to shore stories of the time of Edward Brace and of William III recur to mind, and one wonders could these guns guard the city of Belfast in an emergency. Irate housekeepers of the town have no doubt about the broken windows and crockery of summer recurrence, while they have small sympathy with dreamings of possible contingencies. It seems to me it is good for them to be wakened up from the prevailing sleepy air of this quiet town, which is full of story and tradition of ancient times. Interest culminates in the castle, which is regarded with much pride by the inhabitants and is without doubt most romantic. Just outside the walls, the spot on which William III landed in 1690 is pointed out. However, pages of thrilling story could be written of adventures mid exploits of still more ancient date in connection with this stronghold. From a deep well in the fortress the writer has drunk water so fresh, so cool, there was no danger of thirst during a siege with such a spring at hand. Most interesting it is to wander up and down the quaint passages, to mount the old walls, to peep through loopholes and fearfully examine the great guns.


A small garrison remains here always, but an air of sleepy duty, of genial peace, except when firing guns, pervades both castle and town. Great dignity, withal, is attached to the place, for by a special ordinance, ratifying certain privileges, the place is styled ""The County and Town of Carrickfergus."

But I wander from our trip too long. A shrill whistle from the steamer at a too audacious yachting party recalls me to present facts, and as we sail onward we leave the dark walls of the old castle and soon notice the quiet hamlets of Kilroot, where Dean Swift officiated for some time. Farther up the hillside is handsome Castle Dobbs, whose wooded demesne and lovely park are so renowned in Ulster. Still farther on and also on the Antrim side lies Whitehead, with its beautiful beach of white pebbles and romantic, coast guard station, and ending this part of the peninsula is Black Head, whose somber promontory is seen from afar -- where in summer the sea-gulls dash and whirl to and fro, their white plumage forming a great contract to the black rocks of the cliff. .Here, it is claimed, a rare specimen of fern is to be found and here the writer has gathered, with much dangerous climbing and clinging,exquisite wild flowers in shady nooks, while, the top of the headland gained, fatigue was amply rewarded by a rest on mossy grass of sweetest odor, while enjoyment was heightened by freshest breezes and lovely view.

Turning from the Antrim side our steamer affords a clearer view of County Down. The Castlereagh hills guard this part, and what with woods and glens, villages and towns, gentlemen's country seats and fishermen's dwellings, the scene is one of constant and changing beauty. The waters of the lough gleam and glisten, while the blue sky with dazzling white clouds, characteristic of Ireland, indeed, of all insular climates, is a fitting canopy for such a landscape. We pass Hollywood, a favorite residence of many Belfast business people. The channel of the lough here is not deep, so the effort to build a pier and run a line of steamers proved a failure. So Hollywood remains comparatively stationary in progress while Bangor takes the lead, having an excellent harbor. Passing on, Craigavad, with beautiful villas and lovely slopes, appears, and then


This is an Irish seat which gives the title to the famous statesman, Earl Dufferin's eldest son. Space only allows a passing notice of the many attractions of this fine property,of the good will which has ever existed between Dufferin family and their servants, of the pardonable pride which all Ulster, folk take in Earl Dufferin's great career, and of the sweet songs which immediately touch the heart, composed by his talented grandmother, Lady Dufferin. I need only mention two, "The Irish Emigrant's Lament" and "Katy's Letter."

Cradfordwhire, celebrated for its beautiful glen and romantic waterfall, comes into sight as we round Grey Point and leaving its lovely bay our steamer at length enters into Bangor Bay. Now the brass band strikes up, all prepare to laud, while expectant friends throng the pier and warmly welcome their own. It is easy to see by the blooming cheeks of the girls, those browned of the boys, what a delightful and, needful change seaside resorts are. And although these boats arrive six and seven times a day, yet there is always a crowd to meet them; excitement as they embark and disembark their human freight.

Bangor From The Sea

The view of Bangor from the sea, of its amphitheater form, its terraces and pretty cottages, is very fine. Many modern dwellings and villas have been erected, and were funds forthcoming with which to maintain a good band, evening concerts, a promenade such os Bray commands, and a public library the place would be rendered far more attractive and consequently more prosperous. Nature has done her part, man, or the slow temper of the capitalists of Ulster, has failed to do his. Yet it is wonderful how many yearly visit the town, solely for its good air and outdoor relief, without many more amendments of a more civic description.

Loading Slate at Bangor Ferry.

Loading Slate at Bangor Ferry.

John Laporte.

Bangor in ancient times possessed a fine monastery and school famous for learning, and to which hundreds of students flocked from distant lands. Antiquated ruins are still pointed out as being part of the buildings. A fine new church has been built, which is to me without half the interest of the old, whose sweet organ and quaint side aisles were impressive, no matter if we did find it difficult to see the clergyman or place the position of the choir. The old graveyard is a gruesome place, inclosed on one side by fine old trees, and as the western sun falls on ancient wall and tombstone, on tree and grass grown mound, life seems as evanescent as the shades that come and go, and dreamy and far away are the sounds that tell of its fitful struggles which find rest at length in such a place. From dates on the head-stones, and, indeed, from every outward sign, the extreme ago of the place is impressed on one.


Adjoin those of the old church, and in the line old trees a rookery gives forth a continuous flawing which seems most appropriate to the solemnity of the scene, there is someone practicing at the organ, and, as the strains of one of the grand old masters float toward us, the melancholy beauty of the whole surrounding is complete. Would that we could linger yet awhile.

Bangor Cathedral. The Choir. 1838.The Choir at Bangor Cathedral. 1838.

Bangor Cathedral. The Choir.

"Let me alone, the dream is my own and my heart is full of rest" is the burden of our thoughts. It is with a shiver of realism that we leave this peaceful rest and again outer the hard facts of modern Bangor. This is not nearly so pleasing, however more advanced in comfort and convenience it may be. There are several very interesting places in the neighborhood. Half an hour's walk by pretty, winding paths on the rocks brings one to "Strickland's Glen," a most romantic spot. Here a little stream winds in and out through steep banks and under thick bushes. Take the trouble to descend and follow its course, and gems of the freshest ferns hart's tongue and a strong specimen of maidenhair among them rare wildflowers, dark pools of water where little fish abound and where the stream lingers, shallows over which the brook sings so sweetly as it washes white and brown pebbles in its course, and overhead a canopy of foliage wreathed by the fragrant woodbine and fragile wild rose, will amply repay the trouble and afford the keenest pleasure. The place is exquisite in its seclusion and beauty, and yet a few paces bring us to a fine and open view if the lough. A young artist made a lovely bouquet of wild flowers which we gathered in this glen.

About three miles from Bangor is the rising town of Newfouards, where manufactories are developing, and on the seaside the quaint and pretty village of Groomsport. All along this part of the coast little bays and beaches of white sand, grassy mounds and pretty hillocks woo and charm the traveler to stop and explore them. Donaghadee, another seaport, with a fine pier and harbor and ancient church, is also within walking distance. Crowning a hill in Lord Dufferin's demesne is "Helen's Tower," and at a distance "Scrabo," another prominent height, both conspicuous in the landscape and much visited by tourists. All the coast drives are most interesting from the scenery of land and sea. The pretty Copeland Islands, with revolving light-house near the coast, on a summer day seem to gather so much sunshine. Have you ever noticed this brightness of some places, while others always appear to catch the shadows? When the atmosphere is in a certain condition, the coast of Scotland, which is part of the Mull of Galloway, can be seen, while "Aila Craig" (a bold rock in the channel) stands out in dark relief. And now the beams of the setting sun, streaming from over the Antrim hills, remind us that soon the steamer starts, and we must but adieu to Bangor. Once more on the lough, in less than an hour we reach the city of Belfast, and decide that our trip was well worth the taking and could again be still more enjoyed on further acquaintance.

~ Kate M'Bride

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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