Women and the Sea: Culture, History, Industry, Science

Please click here to download the SYMPOSIUM PROGRAMME


Symposium Programme:

Friday 25th September

3.30        Registration

4.30        Panel One: Gender and the Sea (Chair: Tas Crowe, UCD)

  • Susan Steele (Sea Fisheries Protection Agency)
  • Not Just Mermaids: the waves that women can create
  • Julie Maguire (Daithi O’Murchu Marine Research Station)
  • Working on a Marine Research Station on the Sheeps Head Peninsula
  • John Mack (Sainsbury Research Unit, University of East Anglia)
  • The Gender of Ships

6.00        Reception for registered symposium participants, hosted by Councillor Barry Saul, Cathaoirleach, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council

7.00        Public Lecture (Chair: Lorna Siggins, Irish Times)

  • Sibéal Turraoin, Irish Adventures in the North-West Passage

In the early summer of 2010 Young Larry, a 44ft steel gaff-rigged yawl left Lymington on the south coast of England bound for the Northwest Passage. Skippered by Andrew Wilkes and Máire Breathnach, she stopped at Dungarvan, Co Waterford to pick up her third crew-member, Sibéal Turraoin, a fourth would join them in Canada for six weeks. This was their second trip to the Arctic having sailed two years previously in Arctic Tern, a 68ft steel hulled yacht. Leaving Dingle in mid-June, Young Larry sailed 1,700 miles through the North Atlantic to Nuuk, capital of Greenland. The next six weeks were spent cruising up the western coast to Upernavik, waiting for the ice in Baffin Bay to melt. Sights such as whale hunts, giant glaciers, icebergs, sledges and dogs all became common along the way.

After a foggy and icy crossing of the Davis Strait, Young Larry landed in Pond Inlet and collected their final crewmember Dermot O’Riordan for the six week leg through the Northwest Passage. Polar bears were spotted swimming around the boat in Beechey IMG_8126Island where Franklin spent a winter on his ill-fated exploration; a caribou and whale feast with drum dancing was had in Gjoa Haven, a settlement founded by Amundsen; Dew Line stations were explored; northern lights seen; ice floes navigated; and, after rounding through the stormy Bering Straits Young Larry arrived at the gold rush town of Nome, where Wyatt Earp ran a saloon. After continuing south to Dutch Harbour, Young Larry finally berthed in Kodiak for the winter, almost 8,000 miles travelled, the 145th boat to transit the passage, and, reputedly, the first by Irish women.

Saturday 26th September

9.30       Welcome Address

9.45        Panel Two: Stories of Seas and Coasts (Chair: John Brannigan, UCD)

  • Claire Connolly (School of English, University College Cork)
  • ‘Sea manners and sea views’: Maria Edgeworth and the Irish Sea
  • Finola O’Kane (School of Architecture, University College Dublin)
  • The Liminal Situation of Mrs. Elizabeth Fagan – Developer of Dublin’s Eighteenth-century Coastal Housing Estates
  • Fiona Savage (Sainsbury Research Unit, University of East Anglia)
  • A Passage to Africa: Voyaging in the Travel Writing of Sarah Bowdich
  • Lucy Collins (School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin)
  • ‘Their Shadow on the Sea’: Tracking the Basking Shark in Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s ‘The Sun-fish’

11.15            Tea/Coffee

11.30           Panel Three: Working the Seas and Islands (Chair: Julie Maguire, DOMMRC)

  • Mary McGillicuddy (historian)
  • The Role of Women in the Mackerel Fishing Industry in Southern Ireland, c. 1880s – 1920s
  • Rhoda Twombly (Comhdháil Oileáin na hÉireann)
  • Women of the Islands: A Vital Life Force
  • Catherine McManus (Marine Harvest)
  • From Fanad Fisheries to Marine Harvest – the first 35 years of Farming Salmon in Ireland
  • Fiona Grant (Marine Institute)
  • Putting Eyes in the Deep Ocean

1.00        Lunch (not provided)

2.00        Panel Four: Women at Sea (Chair: Richard McCormick, President, National Maritime Museum of Ireland)

  • Captain Sinead Reen (Irish Institute of Master Mariners)
  • Breaking the Mould
  • Lt Commander Erika O’Leary (Irish Naval Service)
  • The Irish Naval Service
  • David Snook (Maritime Institute)
  • Women in the British Merchant Marine: Central Records and the CR10 card photos
  • Karin Dubsky (Coastwatch)
  • Coastwatch: a citizen science initiative for the sea and us

3.30        Tea/Coffee

4.00       Panel Five: Arts of the Sea (Chair: Lucy Collins, UCD)

  • Vanessa Daws (UCD Artist in Science Residence)
  • Swimming to Lambay
  • Silvia Loeffler (Maynooth University)
  • Glas Journal: A Deep Mapping of Dun Laoghaire Harbour
  • Moira Sweeney (Spirit Level Productions/Dublin Institute of Technology)
  • Rhythms of a Port: Visualising Lived Experience on Dublin’s Docks with a Revitalised Documentary and Geographic Imagination
  • Mary O’Malley (Poet)
  • When the Seas were Lavish: Poetry and Song of the Sea

Exhibitions and Screenings of the work of Vanessa Daws, Silvia Loeffler, and Moira Sweeney will be displayed throughout the symposium

5.30        Closing Remarks

6.00       Screening: Dorothy Cross, Medusae

7.30       Symposium Dinner (Royal Marine Hotel). Delegates who wish to attend the symposium dinner should pay on registration at the museum front desk.

Between the main course and dessert at the symposium dinner, Mary O’Malley will read from her poetry, including from the collection, Valparaiso, which was begun at sea and resonates with sounds of the sea.


*Image courtesy of the Irish Naval Service

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