Preserving the Port’s Past

Pictured Above: Dublin Dock Workers.

Pictured Above: Dublin Dock Workers.

Strong efforts are being made to bring us something which NewsFour is surprised doesn’t already exist – a museum dedicated to the long and rich history of our beloved docklands and those who lived and worked there.

CHL Consulting Ltd. was commissioned by Dublin Port Company to scope out options for housing an archival collection of images and materials belonging to the Dublin Dock Workers Preservation Society. This collection relates to the history of the Dublin docks from the 1960s to 1990s and charts the working lives of the dockworkers.

Declan Byrne of the DDWPS told NewsFour “the Dublin Dock Workers Preservation Society has been campaigning for over five years for a Dublin Port Museum, which incorporates the stories of the men and women who worked in Dublin Docks and the surrounding dockland industries. We would like to acknowledge the involvement of the Minister for Transport Pascal Donohoe and we would like to thank Dublin Port Company for commissioning and paying for a report, which we believe is an important first step.” The Society has in excess of 3,000 followers on Facebook and over 1,700 active members on their web platform.

The DDWPS was set up in 2011 and has three key aims:
1) Preserve the history of Dublin Port.
2) Honour all the men and women who worked in the docks and the dockland industries.
3) Campaign for a Docklands Museum and Heritage Centre.

A quote from their website reads, “Gather together pictures and memories of the glory days of the Dublin Docks. The docks are now just Ro-Ro and Lo- Lo. Machinery and trucks dominate the scene. The old atmosphere is nearly all gone.” Indeed, every year that goes by, more memories and history are lost to time. To address this, they began collecting photographs depicting life in the port between 1923 and the 1990s. The collection now has in excess of 4,000 images and this number is growing as donations continue to be made.

There are a number of projects similar to the DDWPS in Ireland and overseas. Many, like the DDWPS, began life as either a personal collection or historical society with temporary exhibitions and an online presence. Some, for example Sailortown in Focus and the SHIP Project, which are both in Belfast, remain essentially the remit of a committed local history group. They are not well-resourced and their work is primarily funded by donations and sales of publications as well as conferences and events.

If you wish to get involved in the campaign, which so obviously has community, heritage, educational and tourist potential, the DDWPS would be delighted to hear from you. Find them at

By Steve Kingston