Apr 25

“No more on the Docks I’ll be seen …” Remembering those who’ve gone before us

“No more on the Docks I’ll be seen …”

Remembering those who’ve gone before us

Last weekend saw hundreds of people attend the first ever Service of Remembrance for all deceased Dublin Dockworkers. A lone piper led a candle-lit procession from the five lamps down Seville Place to join an Ecumenical service in St. Laurence O’Tooles church.

Lone Piper leads procession

Jimmy Carthy welcomed the political and trade union figures who attended, including the representative of the Lord Mayor (whose official functions include “Admiral of the Port”). The biggest welcome was for “the people of North Wall and the other dockland communities who have come here tonight to remember all deceased dockworkers whether they were family, friends or neighbours.”

Jimmy introduces service

Jimmy spoke of how the Dublin Docks became the heart that pumped blood into the dockland communities with the tradition that thousands of people from Sheriff Street, East Wall, Summerhill, Pearse Street and the Ringsend areas followed the work in the port. It is no coincidence that as the dock labour force declined so did the dockland communities.”

But he was clear that “Tonight is not a time for sadness or anger but a time to honour all those who worked in the docks who are no longer with us. Tonight we do this through prayer, music and memories with our heads held high and proud of our connections to the docks.”

Service in church

What followed was an emotional event, conducted by a minister and two priests, and featuring as promised, a mixture of prayer, reminiscence, music and song.

Declan Byrne displayed three items of memorabilia, representing different aspects of life on the Dockside:

“Firstly, there are examples of cargo hooks which for me stand for the hard and dangerous work. Secondly, a collection of Dockers buttons which symbolised the link between families and communities. And thirdly, there are two hand written pages of dock workers nicknames which stands for all the craic that took place inside the dock gates.”

The Button collection

The Button collection

East Wall Ladies in the Church

A beautiful rendition of “Fiddlers Green” led to an entire row of ex-dockers having to wipe tears from their eyes. A short silence followed, allowing all those present an opportunity to recall former workmates, family, friends and neighbours who had passed on.

Afterwards, an evening of celebration took place in the Sheriff Hall. The original exhibition of photos selected last year was again on display, alongside a new selection chosen and framed by students of Marino College. Memorabilia was also on display, and this combined with the photos inspired a great session of reminiscence, story- telling and the sharing of cherished memories.

Lar Redmond and Joe Mooney discuss Liffey Dockyard photo

The Nicknames

List of nick-names

Congratulations must be extended to the members of the Dublin Dockworkers Preservation Society for organising this important event, particularly John Walsh, Declan Byrne, Alan Martin and Jimmy Carthy (now dubbed the Buddha of East Wall, for his wisdom in suggesting the entire enterprise).

It is proposed that this remembrance service becomes an annual event, alternating between the communities North and South of the River. It is expected that East Wall will have the honour of hosting in 2015.

East Wall Ladies in the procession

An album of photographs featuring many of the East Wall participants can be found at this link


A much broader selection can be found on the main Dublin Dockers facebook -


All images courtesy of the Dublin Dockworkers Preservation Society.


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