I see that P&O Cruises [about which there is a not-very-accurate Wikipedia page here: not very accurate, I mean, about the history of the P&O Line] will seek public suggestions for a name for its latest vessel, which they call “the nation’s ship”:
P&O has also previously run a similar exercise, coming up with the stately Britannia for a ship that launched last year. The company hopes for something similarly dignified and patriotic this time round […].
I do hope there will be a concerted campaign to have it named Hibernia, to recognise that
- the single most important person in the formation of the P&O Line, Richard Bourne, was Irish
- four of the eight original directors were Irish (and one was Spanish)
- 83% of the company’s original capital of £304,600 in ships, exchanged for paid-up shares, was Irish owned.
Of course, as this great Irish company expanded, it took on more British shareholders and directors, training them no doubt in how to run scheduled steam shipping services, but it is about time that the Irish role was acknowledged.
See Freda Harcourt “Charles Wye Williams and Irish steam shipping 1820–1850” in The Journal of Transport History Third Series Volume 13 Number 2 September 1992, Manchester University Press, and Freda Harcourt Flagships of Imperialism: the P&O Company and the politics of empire from its origins to 1867 Manchester University Press 2006 [ebook now also available].