19 May 2023

Tribute to the SS Port Láirge and its important contribution to Waterford’s maritime heritage

The Port of Waterford is honoured to announce the unveiling of an installation paying tribute to one of its most legendary vessels, the SS Port Láirge. The propeller of the world’s last surviving steam dredger has now found a new home at the Merchant’s Quay roundabout, at the centre of Waterford City quays near the former Port of Waterford Company building.

Fondly known as the “Mud Boat,” the SS Port Láirge served on the Suir for more than seven decades until the 1980s, playing a crucial role in maintaining the navigational channels for shipping. Dredging, a constant and essential activity, ensures that the River Suir remains open and accessible to modern-day shipping requirements. This historic installation is a fitting tribute to this vessel and its important contribution to Waterford’s maritime heritage.

The Port of Waterford is proud of the rich maritime heritage of the region and how our river will always connect people and trade. As a mark of respect to the iconic dredger “Port Láirge,” in 2021 the port christened its new state-of-the-art pilot launch vessel with the same name. The new ‘Port Láirge’ pilot boat and crew, like the dredger, form is an essential service ensuring the safe and efficient navigation of ships in the River Suir, reflecting a connection to our maritime heritage and the continued importance of dredging and piloting activities in the region.

The propeller of the SS Port Láirge is hopefully the first of several maritime artefacts that will be displayed at the iconic former Harbour Master quayside office at Merchants Quay. This is a collaborative effort by the Port, Waterford Civic Trust and the Waterford City and County Council.

David Sinnott CEO of Port of Waterford added

“I think it very appropriate that we commemorate the dredger Port Láirge that was a very important part of the port and city for many years. Today the port’s operations are down river at Belview but we miss our city base and are delighted to be part of this reconnecting project.”

The official unveiling of the historic propeller installation will take place on Monday, May 22nd, at 1 pm launched by Jason Murphy our Metropolitan Mayor and David Sinnott the CEO of the Port of Waterford.  We warmly welcome all members of the public and in particular, families of former staff and crew of the Port Láirge, to attend this exciting event and pay tribute to the legacy of the SS Port Láirge.


Picture credit: Keating Fabrication (1) and Port of Waterford (2)