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.