1820 illustration of Dún Laoghaire pier

This month the Oireachtas Library is displaying an 1807 pamphlet calling for an organised lifeboat service along the Irish coast.

The pamphlet was a response to the sinking of two ships in Dublin Bay - the Rochdale and the Prince of Wales - which saw the loss of almost 400 lives in one night.

Despite the impassioned plea, it was not until 1824 that the National Institution for the Preservation of Lives and Property from Shipwreck was established for Britain and Ireland (now the Royal National Lifeboat Institution). The sinking of the two ships added to a growing campaign for the development of a safe pier at the small village of Dunleary (now Dún Laoghaire). Work on this finally began in 1817, and the new pier was finished in time to host the ship of King George IV in 1821.

The Library’s monthly display continues to be virtual while many staff continue to work from home. To find out more, visit the digital exhibition of the documents in the display case.