IRISH SHIPPING LTD.

Irish Ships and Shipping 

www.irishships.com

IRISH SHIPPING LTD.

A SHORT HISTORY OF A SMALL BUT GREAT SHIPPING COMPANY

IRISH SHIPPING LTD.WAS SET UP IN 1941 TO ENSURE IRELAND COULD IMPORT AND EXPORT ESSENTIAL GOODS DURING THE 2nd.WORLD WAR. BRITAIN HAD DECIDED THAT IT COULD NO LONGER PUT ITS SHIPS AND MEN AT RISK BY SUPPLYING A COUNTRY THAT HAD DECIDED TO REMAIN NEUTRAL. SO AFTER A MEETING HELD AT EARLSFORT TERRACE DUBLIN ON THE 21 MARCH 1941 A NATIONAL SHIPPING COMPANY WAS FORMED CALLED IRISH SHIPPING LTD.

THE FIRST SHIP PURCHASED WAS THE GREEK SHIP VASSILIOS DESTOUNIS FROM P.E.PANAS FOR £142,000. AFTER A FEW PROBLEMS WITH THE SPANISH AUTHORITIES (WHERE IT HAD BEEN ABANDONED AFTER GROUNDING DURING HEAVY WEATHER) CAPT. M.MORAN WITH AN IRISH CREW TOOK COMMAND AND AFTER LOADING A FULL CARGO OF GRAIN SET SAIL FOR DUBLIN ON THE 1st. OCTOBER 1941.

ON HER ARRIVAL IN DUBLIN SHE WAS RENAMED THE IRISH POPLAR. 2 SHIPS WERE LOST DURING THE WAR:

THE IRISH PINE- SANK BY UBOAT IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC 15 NOVEMBER 1942  33 CREW LOST

THE IRISH OAK-SANK NORTH ATLANTIC 15 MAY 1943  NO CAUSALITIES

IRISH ASH 1942-49 THE IRISH POPLAR THE IRISH PINE- SANK BY UBOAT IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC 15 NOVEMBER 1942  33 CREW LOST THE IRISH OAK-SANK NORTH ATLANTIC 15 MAY 1943  NO CAUSALITIES  War time fleet cargo  

AT THE END OF THE WAR  I.S.L. PLACED ORDERS FOR 7 NEW VESSELS WITH SHIPYARDS IN BRITAIN. THE FIRST ONE WAS LAUNCHED IN 1948 AS THE IRISH ROSE(2). OTHER SHIPS LAUNCHED DURING THE NEXT 10 YEARS INCLUDED:

 

THE IRISH WILLOW(2) 1948

THE IRISH PINE(2)   1948 THE IRISH HAZEL(2)  1952 THE IRISH HEATHER  1952 THE IRISH ELM(2) 1953  
  THE IRISH FERN -- 1954 THE IRISH LARCH---1955 THE IRISH WILLOW(3) -- 1956   THE IRISH FIR(2) -- 1956 
BUILD BY LIFFEY DOCKYARD
   

BY THE START OF 1960 IRISH SHIPPING LTD. HAD A FLEET OF 20 SHIPS CONSISTING OF MOTOR SHIPS-SMALL BULK CARRIERS-COLLIERS AND TRADITIONAL STEAMERS. BUT THE DOWNTURN IN WORLD SHIPPING RATES WAS JUST ABOUT TO START.
ALSO IN 1960 THE IRISH OAK(2) WAS THE FIRST SHIP TO THE HEAD OF THE GREAT LAKES, AND CAPT.J. POOLE ( LATER COMMODORE POOLE) WAS AWARDED THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY OF DULUTH.
IN 1963 A LOSS OF £900,000 WAS REPORTED  AT THE A.G.M. AND IT WAS DECIDED TO START  A PROGRAM OF REDUCING THE FLEET. THE IRISH ELM(2)  WAS SOLD IN 1963, THE COLLIERS IN 1964, THE IRISH HAWTHORN, THE IRISH PINE(2) AND THE IRISH BLACKTHORN  IN 1965.
THE IRISH OAK(2) AND THE IRISH HOLLY IN 1967.
AT THE START OF 1967 IT WAS LOOKING BETTER AND THE COMPANY REPORTED A PROFIT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 10 YEARS. IN 1967 A NEW BULK CARRIER (38,000 TON.) WAS DELIVERED FROM VEROLME DOCKYARD CORK AND NAMED THE IRISH ELM. IT WAS THEN CHARTERED OUT TO A SWEDISH FIRM FOR 5 YEARS.
IN 1967 THE COMPANY SETS UP A NORTH ATLANTIC SERVICE WITH MANCHESTER LINERS LTD.

  THE IRISH OAK(2)  OPETATING COSTS 1963.jpg IRISH ELM(3)1968-79. FOLLOW THE FLEET SCHEME 1975  

The Irish Elm(3) 1968, the first GP rating ship operated by Irish Shipping was the first to have individual cabins for all crew (Don Menzies)

THE FOLLOW THE FLEET SCHEME ALLOWING SCHOOLCHILDREN TO FOLLOW THE MOVEMENTS OF THE COMPANYS SHIPS AROUND THE WORLD IS SET UP.

THE COMPANY HAD FOR MANY YEARS WANTED TO SET UP A CONTINENTAL SERVICE BETWEEN IRELAND AND FRANCE, AND ON THE 19 MAY 1968 THE LEOPARD A RO-RO FERRY STARTED A WEEKLY SERVICE BETWEEN ROSSLARE AND LE HAVRE. IT WAS RUN BY A  CONSORTIUM OF 3 COMPANY'S:
I.S.L. -- IRELAND
G.S.N. -- BRITAIN
S.A.G.A. -- FRANCE
THIS SERVICE LASTED TILL THE END OF 1971.

AT THE START OF 1971 THE COMPANY'S FLEET
CONSISTED OF :
2 STEAMERS
4 CARGO SHIPS
1 BULK/ CAR CARRIER
2 SELF-DISCHARGING BULKERS
AND THEIR INTEREST IN THE CONTINENTAL SERVICE.

  THE LEOPARD 1968 IRISH SPRUCE(2)1957-72. IRISH SPRUCE GOES AGROUND. IRISH POPLAR(2)1956-72.  

ON THE 26 JANUARY 1972 THE IRISH SPRUCE WENT AGROUND ON THE QUITA SUENO BANK OFF NICARAGUA AND WAS DECLARED A  TOTAL LOSS. ALSO THAT YEAR THE IRISH POPLAR(2) WAS SOLD. IN 1973 THE COMPANY TOOK DELIVERY OF 4 NEW CARDIFF CLASS SHIPS: THE IRISH PINE 3 THE IRISH MAPLE 2, THE IRISH LARCH 3, THE IRISH OAK 3.

THE IRISH PINE(3) THE IRISH MAPLE(2) THE IRISH LARCH(3) THE IRISH OAK(3)

THE IRISH PINE WAS SOLD IN 1984 AND RENAMED THE CHRISTINAKI WHICH SANK I00 MILES OFF THE CORK COAST IN A FORCE 10 IN 1994. THERE WERE NO SURVIVORS.

ALSO IN 1973 A NEW COMPANY WAS FORMED WITH FEARNLY AND EGER OF NORWAY-- LION FERRY A/B OF SWEDEN AND I.S.L. IT WAS CALLED IRISH CONTINENTAL LINE AND STARTED A NEW SERVICE BETWEEN ROSSLARE AND LE HAVRE/CHERBOURG IN JUNE 1973 WITH THE ST.PATRICK.

  ST.PATRICK. St, Patrick restaurant 73' ST.PATRICK BRIDGE THE ST.KILLIAN  

IN 1977 THEY ACQUIRED 100% OF THE COMPANY MAKING IT ENTIRELY IRISH OWNED. A SECOND FERRY THE ST.KILLIAN (EX.STENA SCANDINAVICA) WAS ACQUIRED DURING 1978 ALLOWING THE COMPANY TO MAKE 7 ROUND TRIPS TO FRANCE WEEKLY.

2 NEW BULK CARRIERS WERE DELIVERED FROM JAPAN IN 1976 AND 1977:

THE IRISH ROWAN(2)

THE IRISH CEDAR(4)

IN 1981 THE COMPANY TOOK OVER THE MANAGEMENT OF THE NATIONAL SAIL TRAINING VESSEL ASGARD 2.

ALSO IN 1981 THE COMPANY ORDERED FROM VEROLME DOCKYARD CORK A NEW PANAMAX BULK CARRIER THE IRISH SPRUCE(2) OF 72,000 TONS FOR DELIVERY IN 1983.

Position of I.S.L. Deep sea fleet at Christmas 1977 (Phil Smyth) THE IRISH CEDAR(4) THE IRISH ROWAN(2)   THE IRISH SPRUCE(2)  

BUT THE CHARTER RATES OF THE HIRED SHIPS FROM HONG KONG OWNERS PROVED TOO MUCH TO COPE WITH AND THE COMPANY WENT INTO LIQUIDATION IN NOVEMBER 1984. ALL ASSETS WERE DISPOSED OFF AND A SMALL BUT GREAT SHIPPING COMPANY WAS GONE.

"ALL THAT COULD BE HEARD WAS THE ECHO OF THE PRAISE AND PROMISES OF THE POLITICAL PARTIES AND POLITICIANS FROM OVER THE YEARS, FALLING ON THE SEAS OF THE WORLD NOW DEVOID OF IRISH FLAGGED SHIPS.
TO ALL IRISH SEAMEN WHO HAVE SERVED ON SHIPS ACROSS THE OCEANS OF THE WORLD".
                                                                            ©AIDEN MC CABE 2001

Back to home page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND FURTHER REFERENCE TO:

The Long Watch, is a dramatic and authentic book that documents the remarkable achievements and grievous losses of the Irish mercantile marine during the Second World War. Complete with a new introduction epilogue and many new photographs.
  (THE LONG WATCH) 
ISBN 1-902602-42-0
CAPT.FRANK FORDE H.C.SPONG 
(IRISH SHIPPING LTD.) 
ISBN 0-905617-20-7