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Ports, Past and Present | 2020 – 2023

The Irish Sea basin forms a distinct node of histories, economies, and identities. The Ports, Past and Present project considers five very different ports and their communities on either side of the sea: Dublin Port, Rosslare Harbour, Holyhead, Fishguard and Pembroke Dock. Project partners are University College Cork, Aberystwyth University, University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Wexford County Council. The project seeks to enhance engagement among port town communities with their own rich heritage and that of the Irish Sea, and to use that heritage in promoting tourism and deepening a sense of shared identity.

The Ports, Past and Present team commissioned writers and visual artists to explore the history and culture of the five port towns and the journeys made across the Irish Sea. As one of these artists, I made a series of mimeograph postcards for each port in multiples of fifty. Postcard collection is the third largest collectable hobby and the most popular form of souvenir for travellers. This is mainly due to their broad thematic appeal; in keeping with this, I varied the theme for each port. Dublin Port postcards focus on trade and the movement of goods; Holyhead on the historic link between sea and rail travel; Rosslare on the seaside holiday home; Pembroke Dock on the oil and gas refineries on Milford Haven and the historical building that overlooks it, the Defensible Barracks; Fishguard on the Fishguard Ferry services and terminal.