Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday, almost: The Dunbrody, a famine ship

The ship in these photographs is a reconstruction of the original Dunbrody built in 1845 in Quebec Canada by Thomas Hamilton Oliver, an Irish emigrant from County Derry. The Dunbrody was built to carry about 175 people; however, on one crossing, at the height of the Famine in 1847, she carried 313. Many of her passengers were the evicted tenants of Lord Fitzwilliam's Wicklow estates and Viscount de Vesci's Portlaoise estates.

The Dunbrody carried two classes of passengers - the cabin passenger who paid between £5 and £8, and the steerage passenger who paid between £3, 15 shillings and £4. This fare was the equivalent of about two months income for a tenant farmer in the 1840s. Just imagine leaving behind the life that you knew, and travelling on rough seas for up to 40 days in these close quarters, driven by the dream of a new, and hopefully better, life in Canada or the United States. For some the dream would never come true.

For more information, including a searchable Irish emigration database visit

A single bunk for an officer

The listed names are those who occupied these small spaces

*Click on photographs to view a larger version.
All materials ©Copyright J.Geraghty-Gorman 2010.


  1. It is so hard to imagine travelling like this. Not at all easy, but it was the standard at the time. Yet, there were those who loved the maritime lifestyle. I can stay it is not for me...sea sick and, not good.

  2. It is hard to imagine traveling on this ship in such close quarters. Thank goodness for our brave and valiant ancestors! Thanks for sharing these photos.

  3. Only just found this blog and note some of the people come from the Portlaois estates. My fater came from near there and it makes me wonder if any of his relations were some of those who went on that ship.

    1. Hi Bill,

      Sounds as though it's worth a search. I hope you strike gold!



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