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Dockyard Exhibition Opens At Passage West Museum

Writes Leo McMahon

Passage West Maritime Museum reopened to the public recently with an excellent exhibition, ‘The History of Passage West Dockyard’ that runs for the next two months.

A reception was held on May 17th to thank the sponsor and supporters: Doyle Shipping, Chris Mee, Landy and David Hill of the former dockyard owner Haulbowline Industries (also joined by the latter’s grandson Roger Hill), John Cunningham, Annette Foley MPSI (represented by Andrew Wood), Gary McCarthy, Barry Coleman and Kevin O’Connor, the latter of whom crafted a superb model of the dockyard.

There was also a reception for Cork County Council, which has been a major funder of the museum located next to the library in the Town Hall and in attendance were Cllrs Seamus McGrath, Marcia D’Alton and Ben Dalton-O’Sullivan.

Numbers had to be limited due to Covid regulations and among the guests at a third reception were Co Heritage Officer Conor Nelligan and Municipal District Officer Carol Conway.

Others in attendance over the three evenings included Ken Lynch, John and Lorraine Spriggs, Sonny and Sylvia Hanlon, John and Elizabeth O’Connell, Fr Con Cronin, Ivan Wolfe plus SECAD museum officer Carmen Lopez and voluntary committee members Joe Healy, Martin Collins, Anita Howard, Margaret Bray, Robert Allison, Walty Murphy, Sile Hunt, Claire Kenneally, Don O’Sullivan, Tom MacSweeney, Brendan O’Connell, Anne Kennedy, Chris Kirby and Leo McMahon.

Pic Exib 1- Some of the sponsors and voluntary board and committee members at the exhibition about the dockyard at the re-opened Passage West Maritime Museum. (Pics: Martin Collins)

On each occasion, historian and former dockyard worker Jim Murphy outlined the two centuries of history of and numerous stories and vessels associated with the dockyard including ship building, repairs, scrapping, cargo handling and special projects.

The dockyard was developed from 1813 by Henry and William Browne and named the Royal Victoria Dockyard by the Queen in 1849. There were different proprietors up to the 1930s when it was taken over by A.O. Hill of Haulbowline Industries whose family firm gave excellent employment in the harbour area for many decades. It is now run by Doyle Shipping.

Over 200 years of its history is featured in posters with rarely seen photographs and records plus actual artefacts that complement the already impressive collection in the museum. Be sure to take time to read the stories and admire it all.

Guests were welcomed each night by museum board chairperson Angela Murphy and Joe Healy, the latter of whom collated the information with Jim Murphy and Robert Allison, designed the posters developed by Aldi and colorized the photos. As pointed out by Angela, the exhibition isn’t just about objects to view but is a story about real people and a proud dockyard community.

An invitation was extended by Joe to become a ‘Friend’ and member of the museum for just €10 per annum or €20 for a family. Opening hours: 2 to 5.30pm Wednesday to Friday and 2 to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday. Tel 087 1357634 or check on Facebook. Groups welcomed by appointment. Covid regulations apply.

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