The Knight Commander
The Knight Commander was the first vessel launched in the Dublin Port graving dock since their gates opened for the first time in February 1860.
It was the 25th of February 1864 and the occasion was huge for Dublin. According to the Illustrated Times, 20,000 spectators gathered to attend the event, although the space at the port premises was limited as admission was by a ticketing system. People congregated in every possible spot that offered a view of the event with the Ringsend wall being the best spot to contemplate the launch from afar. Not only every inch of land was taken up by the spectators, but also the Liffey mouth. Numerous boats, including a steam tug, cramped the river waters opposite of the slip. Very relevant Irish personalities attended the launch. The Marchioness of Kildare was the godmother of the new vessel and broke the customary champagne bottle on her hull. A breakfast for 300 people was organised in one of the workshops next to the yard.