I was delighted to attend the naming and commissioning ceremony for the Navy’s latest Samuel Beckett class ship, the L.É. James Joyce, in Dún Laoghaire, this afternoon.
It is very appropriate, given Joyce’s links to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, that the honour of commissioning the vessel should be given to Dún Laoghaire Harbour’s historic Carlisle Pier. The Carlisle Pier has enormous historical significance as the last point at which so many Irish immigrants left home soil to build lives for themselves in Britain and further afield. Dún Laoghaire was also the location of the old mailboat terminal and so has historic connections that range from Michael Collins’ departure to negotiate the Anglo-Irish Treaty in London, to the ill-fated RMS Leinster, to the visits of Queen Victoria to Ireland.