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Sea, Ships & Seafaring

Click to enlarge: Crew of the iron clipper ship Star of Russia 1882The importance of the sea and seaways in shaping human history and culture is widely recognised.  As island people, our history, traditions and heritage have a significant maritime dimension.  The sea has always been an important resource and a great water highway connecting Ireland to the wider world.

The sea is an unpredictable and alien environment possessing great beauty and destructive power.  It is a mighty force of nature, constantly testing the endurance and spirit of seafarers.  Over the centuries the voyaging ship, in all its technological diversity, has become much more than a practical vessel of commerce and naval warfare.  It is an enduring cultural symbol, deeply rooted in human consciousness, and an emblematic carrier of all kinds of meanings.  

Photographic caption:

Crew of the iron clipper ship Star of Russia on the mainyard furling the mainsail.  This specially posed photograph was taken on a voyage to Calcutta in 1882.  It illustrates how seamen worked aloft handling heavy canvas sails in fair weather and foul.  Star of Russia was built by Harland & Wolff in 1875 for the famous Star Line of James P Corry & Company, Belfast.