• david street

Sea of Stories: A missed Opportunity for Pembroke Dock?

In March I attended the unveiling of Sea of Stories, a tiled mural created by Robert Jakes, at the Pembroke Dock Ferry Terminal. The mural was commissioned by Ports, Past and Present to focus "...on the history and heritage of port towns around the Irish Sea, and aims to bring these towns together through their shared port heritage". The mural reveals many a fun and interesting fact about the Irish Sea but little about the ports and their shared history. In fact, three of the ports listed on the mural, Fishguard, Holyhead, and Dublin Port are missing. I have looked for them but I can only find Pembroke Dock and Rosslare, which might explain why it is located in the Pembroke Dock Ferry Terminal. As well as missing ports, much of Pembroke Dock's rich maritime heritage and many of its links to the Irish coast are absent. This lack of information doesn't incentivise people disembarking from the ferry to explore the town the mural is supposed to celebrate. Another problem with the mural (I know, they're piling up) is its location in a dim, out of the way building at the far end of the former Royal Navy Dockyard. I understand why it's hanging in the Ferry Terminal, however, a project that was originally intended for the community of Pembroke Dock has been placed out of its reach.

Sea of Stories is a beautiful work of art, and I would recommend you go and see it, however, it does feel like a missed opportunity. A former Royal Navy dockyard that built over 260 ships is reduced to a not particularly accurate name on a map. The few facts about the town reveal little about how important it once was.