Irish Links

Derek Cassidy of University College Dublin discusses Ireland's history as a major telecoms hub and its place in modern telecoms.By Derek Cassidy
July 24, 2018

Becoming the Cog in the Wheel of International Connectivity

When we talk about regional networks we usually think of small systems that loop around the coast or connect Islands to the mainland. However we can also look at them and understand that they can also be systems that link into bigger and larger international systems carrying larger bandwidths. However we need to look at these regional links and see what their contribution is to the wider field of submarine cable connectivity. But we can also look at the reasons as to why these systems are in place and the overall impact they have on the larger international submarine links.

If we look at Ireland for instance we see a country were the very first commercial trans-Atlantic system came into operation in July 1866. This international link had a direct impact on the existing regional submarine links between Great Britain and Ireland. Before the 1866 cable there were numerous links between Great Britain and Ireland, however as Ireland was part of the Union, these links can only be seen as regional links. From 1852 to 1866 they were just regional links with local traffic and messages from steamers and liners who pass by the Irish coast and get the telegraph messages forwarded to London and other towns in the British Isles. This method was the fastest way to get international traffic across the Atlantic and the regional networks located in Blackwater, Donaghadee and Howth would be part of this network. These three telegraph submarine cable stations were connected to each other by various telegraph networks that spanned the island of Ireland. The network was extensive, as it was across Great Britain who had international links to France, Holland and Germany.

The connectivity between the countries in Europe was localised and connected by short telegraph submarine cable connections. The reason was that long distance submarine telegraphy was still under investigation and was not seen as a tried and tested design. However in 1866, 8 years after the 1858 cable between Valentia and Heart’s Content failed after 30 days, the first successful trans-Atlantic telegraph cable was laid between Valentia and Heart’s Content. With the advances in submarine cable laying and recovery the failed 1865 cable was recovered from the seabed and in September the 1865 was landed and it too was a successful trans-Atlantic telegraph cable. With two months the connectivity between Europe and America increased from no cables to two cables.

To continue reading the rest of this article, please read it in Issue 101 of the SubTel Forum magazine here on page 40.