Ships to Ireland from Glasgow

Fisherman, Merchant vessels, Emigrant ships etc.

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Mary Kate
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Ships to Ireland from Glasgow

Post by Mary Kate » Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:52 pm

Hello, my grandfather, John Hannigan, who was born in Glasgow, was taken to Letterkenny as a little boy to live with his mother's family. The family name is Rodden. I have him with the family on the 1901 and 1911 census.

I'm trying to find out about the ship that he would have travelled out on and back. Any suggestions ?

Many thanks

Mary Kate

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Re: Ships to Ireland from Glasgow

Post by AndrewP » Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:19 am

Hi Mary Kate,

My understanding is that passenger records were not normally kept for ships travelling between UK mainland and Ireland, as it was not foreign travel at that time. That was before the partitioning of Ireland, so the journey was all within the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland" as it was called from 1801 to 1922. Hence there would be no passport required for the journey, so there would be no record of crossing a border (no border was crossed).

All the best,


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Re: Ships to Ireland from Glasgow

Post by Falkyrn » Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:58 am

As Andrew has said at that time they were traveling internally within the one country and so no travel documents were needed and no passenger lists were maintained - The ferry services between Glasgow and Ireland were frequent and several left Glasgow each day with various companies competing for the business.
I have seen references to the ferries as the "tanner boats" referring to their low fares of 6d (sixpence in predecimal coinage) and I know that several of mine made the crossing on more than one occasion.
~RJ Paton~

Elwyn 1
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Re: Ships to Ireland from Glasgow

Post by Elwyn 1 » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:57 am

People travelling between Glasgow and Letterkenny usually sailed from Glasgow (Broomielaw Quay) to Londonderry/Derry. It was an overnight service and operated 2 or 3 times a week right up to the 1960s by the Laird Line, (later Burns & Laird). The primary business was cargo (mainly cattle to Scotland) and the passengers were top-up revenue. Consequently it was very cheap as has been mentioned by Falkryn. It was possible to pop home to Ireland for a few days for weddings, harvests and the Glasgow Fair holiday, and so people went back and forth all the time. No passenger lists were ever compiled as it was just a short domestic ferry service. (Passenger lists generally only exist for intercontinental shipping services).

At one time in the early 1900s, one of the vessels on that route was the Tiger. Another was the Rose (launched 1902). Glasgow City archives has a brochure for Lairds 1908 Irish services. See:

Travel between Derry and Letterkenny, from 1883 onwards, would have been by Narrow Gauge train. (Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway).

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