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It has been suggested that a diaspora centre be located on the site of the old bonded warehouses at the Port of Cork. But it’s a shame, given Cork Harbour’s long tradition, that we don’t have a maritime museum in Cork. Passage West would be an ideal location:
1. It was the original Port of Cork, until the late 1800s.
2. This year, we will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the launching, at Passage West, of the first steamship built in Ireland, the City of Cork.
3. In 1838, the Sirius, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic to New York, left from Passage West. She was under the command of local man, Captain Richard Roberts.
Passage West has a long history of ship-building:
1. Two of the town’s graveyards have numerous headstones with maritime links.
2. Passage West was twice the ‘beach head’ for the taking of Cork City. The Duke of Marlborough’s troops landed there in 1690, and General Emmett Dalton’s Irish Free State troops in 1922.
3. It has a long line of seafarers who served in the Merchant Navy and British and Irish naval services.
Currently, there are several large, idle buildings in the centre of the town, and, next year, we will have a landing pontoon in place for harbour tours.
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