Neptune and the River Suir

The peaceful early morning River Suir, belies the enormous ship-building yard that built the world’s first fleet of iron steam ships in the 19th century.

When the Malcolmson’s, a local Quaker family opened Neptune Ironworks, a ship repair yard in 1843 for their fleet of liners, repairs turned to shipbuilding and three years later, the “SS Neptune” was launched. It achieved fame as the first iron ship to sail into St. Petersburg, an occasion marked by a presentation of Waterford Crystal to the Russian Tsar.

Neptune Ironworks, went on to employ over a thousand local men and built five of the trans-Atlantic liners that sailed between London, Le Harve and New York. But despite its success, the Malcolmson brothers went bankrupt in the 1870s and in 1882 the yard closed. All traces of the industry have gone – and now the river glides gently through Waterford City, passed the renovated quays and a variety of pleasure craft.

More about the city and river on the Waterford Revealed tab.

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