Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

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THE DOCKLANDS - The Harbour Master

Dublin Docklands - An Urban Voyageis a work in progress, commissioned by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, and due to be completed in the autumn of 2008. The following tale represents research I have undertaken for the project which may or may not be used in the final book.

The Harbour Master

Now an upmarket restaurant, The Harbour Master was once the nerve centre of Dublin Port. From within the brown-brick walls of this two-storey late Georgian building, every aspect of towage, pilotage, craneage and berthing was arranged. Telegrams would arrive alerting them to ships in distress. At the centre of it all was the Harbour Master, usually known as ‘The Commander’, a man as vital to the smooth running of the Docklands as the Chief Engineer or the Secretary. He oversaw the Harbour Police, an unenviable role in the tough age of labour strikes and lock-outs. He also collected duties due on the bonded goods – principally tobacco, wines and spirits – kept in nearby Stacks A and B. The Harbour Master’s office was located within this bonded site, overlooking George’s Dock. The Harbour Master’s office was subsequently relocated to the Alexandra Basin and the property was acquired by the Thomas Read Group. They carried out a major restoration and converted it into a popular old style pub-restaurant

Harbour Masters of Dublin Port

Capt. William Carpenter (1856 -1885)

Capt. George Graves (1885 – 1914)

Capt. John H. Webb (1914 – 1941)

Capt. A.J. O’Brien-Twohig (1941 – 1965)

Capt. Peter Leighton (1965 – 1968)

Capt. Hubert Walsh (1968 – 1973)

Capt. Colm Lawless (1973 – 1991)

Capt. Enda Connellan (1991 – 1994)

Capt. Bob Wiltshire (1994 – 2004)

Capt. David Dignam (2005 – Present)



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