Robert Charles Halpin, Master Mariner, was born 16 February 1836 at the Bridge dockside Tavern in Wicklow Town. From an early age Robert showed a fondness for the sea, from living beside the docks he became fascinated with the sights and sounds of sailing ships leaving and arriving with the ebb and flow of the tide at the port. Robert received his early education at a private school in Wicklow Town, and went to sea in 1847 at the age of 11 to become a seafarer.
Robert's apprenticeship was full of adventure. He joined a sailing ship named Briton to begin a seven year apprenticeship and by the age of fifteen he had become a true veteran, having crossed the ocean, sailing in and out of ports, survived a traumatic shipwreck of the Briton, and he became a senior apprentice.
Robert Charles Halpin joined the Great Eastern ship in 1864 as Chief Officer and was chartered to lay submarine telegraph cable between Valentia Island in County Kerry and Heart’s Content near St John’s, Newfoundland, thereby linking the continents of Europe and America. During 1869 and 1870 he helped to lay telegraph cable, linking France and Canada, Portugal and Brazil, Suez and Aden, Aden and India, India and Singapore, Singapore and Australia. As a result he is now recognised as one of the world's greatest mariners.
Robert Charles Halpin retired to a private life in his home town of Wicklow, where he built a splendid house at Tinakilly.
Take a stroll and walk down memory lane with Robert Charles Halpin.
The Bridge Tavern
Halpin’s Memorial at Fitzwilliam Square
Church of Ireland