A Newbie Contribution

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It is widely believed that Captain William Bligh of the Royal Navy designed the North Bull Wall of the Liffey channel in Dublin, Ireland, causing the development of the North Bull Island. But do the facts support this?

The biggest problem to face the port of Dublin over the centuries was the sandbank, or sand bar, that ran north–south across the middle of the bay, creating a shallow area at the entrance to the Liffey channel. At best this was an inconvenience, as it meant that ships had to wait for high water before they could enter or leave the port. At worst it was a positive danger. Ships could easily run aground on the bar, though the risk was reduced significantly by using pilots who knew the channels well and would guide ships in and out of the port. Worse than the danger of running aground was the danger of a ship being caught in the bay by a storm and being unable to run for shelter because the bar prevented access to safer waters. Over the centuries many ships were wrecked after being caught in such an exposed position; the worst storms were the easterlies and north-easterlies, which blew straight into the bay. In such a storm it would be difficult for a ship to sail out of the bay, even if there had been a safe shelter nearby—which there wasn’t.

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  1. Bligh's Avatar
    Very interesting article Paul.
    Thanks for bringing it to my attention.