Know your Irish Ships? Here’s 10 Tricky Questions to Test your Knowledge!

Time for another quick maritime challenge! Good luck!


What is the name of the newest member to the Irish Naval Service Fleet?

LÉ William Butler Yeats is the newest member of the fleet. Commissioned into service in October 2016, the ship replaced the LÉ Aisling. Since its commissioning the ship has been involved in patrolling the coast and has inspected the super-trawlers fishing off the West coast.

How many torpedo boats were purchased in 1939 for the newly established Marine and Coastwatching Service to patrol and protect Ireland’s waters?

When war came to Europe in 1939, Ireland needed boats to protect her water. With the establishment of Marine and Coastwatching Service in September 1939, six motor torpedo boats were purchased by the Irish Government. The M Series Torpedo boats were sensibly numbered ‘M1’ to ‘M6’.

What was odd about the fourth funnel on the RMS Titanic?

The Titanic as well as her sister ships Olympic and Britannic only had three operational funnels. The fourth was fake and was just for show. Four funnels on a ship were a sign of prestige and power. So to rival her competitors like the Cundard Line's RMS Lusitania, White Star Line opted to build dummy funnels on their liners.

What is the name of the speedy Cork built vessel which hopes to set a world record this summer?

Thunder Child, built by the Cork-based shipbuilder’s Safehaven Marine, is a brand new 60ft high-speed boat. This summer the team will attempt a new round Ireland record when they circumnavigate the entire island including the distant rocky outcrop of Rockall which lies about 460km north west of Malin Head.

In what year was the mailboat RMS Leinster torpedoed off Dun Laoghaire?

10th October 1918 – an infamous date in Irish maritime history – the day the RMS Leinster was sunk by a German submarine with the loss of 501 lives. To this day it remains the single greatest loss of life in the Irish sea.

What’s the name of the famous Belfast shipyard where the Titanic was built?

The RMS Titanic and her sister ships in the White Star Line were built in the famous Belfast shipyards of Harland & Wolff. The company was formed in 1861 and still runs today although shipbuilding in the yards at Belfast have now ceased.

During the famine the Jeanie Johnston was an emigrant ship - what were these ships more commonly known as?

Over 1 million people fled Ireland during the famine hoping for a new life in America. But they journey they was far from kind. The ships were horrendous - cramped and crowded. Death and disease was rampant and the mortality rates were high. These ships aptly became known as Coffin Ships.

What was the HMY Helga renamed as when she was acquired by the Irish Free State?

HMY Helga was a Dublin built ship infamously known for its role in shelling Dublin during the 1916 Rising. She would later be acquired by the Free State, and renamed Muirchu (Seahound) and was one of the first ships in the newly formed Irish Navy.

What was the name of the ship that Captain Robert Halpin commanded when he lay the first successful transatlantic cable from Valentia Island to Newfoundland?

150 years ago one of the largest ships of its time, with Wicklow’s Captain Robert Halpin at the helm, set out from Valentia Island on a journey to complete an extraordinary feat of intercontinental engineering. Over the course of two weeks the crew of the Great Eastern would lay 2,730 nautical miles of telegraph cables from Valentia Island to Newfoundland in Canada, successfully connecting the two continents for the first time.

Which of these is the name of a traditional Irish boat?

The Galway Hooker is an iconic Irish boat. Built of strong and hardy oak to withstand the rough seas of the Atlantic. The boats are easily recognised by their strong sharp bow and sides that curve outwards and eye catching red sails. They have one main sail and two foresails all on a single mast. It’s a gaff-rigged sailing boat meaning the sail is four-cornered, fore-and-aft rigged, controlled at its peak by a pole called the gaf.


How did you do? If you liked this quiz why not have a go at our quick but tricky maritime quiz!

About the Author

Ann Robinson
Has a passion for coastal heritage and maritime history. Loves sharing the best of the Irish coast online. Contact me ann@coastmonkey.ie or follow me on Twitter @AnnRobinson22