A ship and a bark

 

Sir, – Arthur Brady (Letters, October 13th) might be surprised to hear of the common usage of the term “bark” exactly as used in your Magazine article of October 10th.

A barque being a type of ship, bark is used both as a type and a title, complete with capital letter. Captain Cook’s ship was called HM Bark Endeavour, and the replica is known as the Bark Endeavour replica. There is also an American whaler often referred to as the Bark Charles W Morgan. You will find references (usually abroad) to Bark Jeanie Johnston. As for Europa, her own website Barkeuropa.com refers to her as both Bark Europa and Europa. Your article was correct. – Yours, etc,

SEAN DOOCEY,

Castlelyons,

Co Cork.

Sir, – Thanks to Arthur Brady for explaining that a ship referred to as Bark Europa was actually a “barque”, a particular type of sea-going vessel.

The word helps make sense of two pieces of music I recall from childhood. One is an insufferably chirpy piece of Victorian piano music called The Fairy Barque, that teachers often inflicted on pupils. The other is The Irish Rover, as popularised by the Pogues and The Dubliners, among others. Similar to Mr Brady’s description of a barque, “she was rigged fore-and-aft” and, perhaps, a pun on the word “bark” explains the penultimate line of this Moby Dick-like story, where “the poor old dog was drowned”. Its having sunk leaves the narrator or singer lamenting “the last of the Irish Rover”.

If other correspondents can clarify why the vessel was carrying a million bags of rags, and four million barrels of bones, among other cargo, from Cork to New York, I’d be at least mildly interested. The full operations of its “27 masts” might, however, necessitate a diagram. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN O’BRIEN,

Kinsale,

Co Cork.

Sir, – A bark is perhaps no worse than a barque in a bight in adverse weather. – Yours, etc,

PATRICK JUDGE,

Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.