The ‘Portlairge’ sails again!

The famous Waterford steam-boat dredger, ‘Portlairge’, will sail again this Sunday evening, July 6th, but only across our television screens when the ‘Nationwide’ programme will broadcast a wonderful feature on the much loved vessel. The programme goes out at 6.30 and contains some fascinating footage that was discovered in the vaults of RTE in Dublin.

RTE’s South East Correspondent Damien Tiernan outlines the history of the ‘Dredger’ and the programme will show exclusive footage of the vessel at work on the Suir in the early 1980s. There are interviews with the late skipper, Michael Heffernan, and other crew members while several local people recount their fond recollections of the vessel.

This is an item that many people will want to record and send to Waterfordians all over the world because the ‘Portlairge’ really was an iconic part of the city for most of the 20th. century. She was the last working steamship in this country and one of the last remaining such vessels in the world when she was replaced in the early 1980s. The piece was filmed by Donal Wylde, senior RTE cameraman in the South East, who retired recently from the organisation on reaching his 65th birthday.

The once proud ‘Portlairge’ is currently lying broken and forlorn on a shoreline in County Wexford, a sad sight indeed.

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3 Responses to “The ‘Portlairge’ sails again!”

  1. marcel jacques Says:

    Is there no way the Old Lady can be rescued? At a minimum there should be some reminder of her on the Quay. It could be coupled with, or used as the basis for, a reminder of Waterford’s proud maritime history of which we are supposed to be so proud – except when it comes to doing anything about it!!!. Surely the Waterford Port Company has a responsibility in this; will they accept it?

  2. john murray Says:

    overjoyed to once again see the portlairge and her crew at work. having worked on scotch quay for a good number of years and taken photos of the old dear i would like to see her restored and her brass shine once again.

  3. Greg Carley Says:

    Incredible to see such an iconic and memorable part of Waterford city’s maritime history abandoned on a sandbank in County Wexford! What an absolute disgrace! I grew up on the Dunmore Road in Waterford, in the 1950’s and early 1960’s, and the Portlairge was an integral part of the city then. To my mind it ranked up there along with Reginald’s Tower, the Glass Factory, and Kennelly’s Bus Service. Whilst I moved from Waterford many years ago I would be prepared to start a preservation movement to save the Portlairge. In the 1970’s the Bristolians went all the way to the Falkland Islands to rescue the SS Great Britain. Surely it is not beyond the capability of the Waterfordians to rescue the Portlairge from County Wexford! Is there anyone else out there interested?????????? Greg Carley, Killiney, Co. Dublin

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