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Ciara (P42)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

LE Ciara.jpg
Ciara at Haulbowline in March 2008
Namesake: Saint Ciara
Acquired: 1988
Commissioned: 16 January 1989
Homeport: Haulbowline Naval Base
Nickname(s): "Road Runner"
Status: In service
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Swallow
Builder: Hall Russell
Yard number: 991
Launched: 30 March 1984
Completed: 17 October 1984
Identification: Pennant number: P242
Fate: Sold to Irish Naval Service 1988
General characteristics
Type: Peacock-class patrol vessel
Displacement: 712 tonnes full load
Length: 62.6 m (205 ft)
Beam: 10 m (33 ft)
Draught: 2.72 m (8 ft 11 in)
Propulsion: 2 diesels, 2 shafts, 10,600 kW (14,200 bhp)
  • 46.3 km/h (25.0 kn), cruising
  • 55.6 km/h (30.0 kn), sprint
Boats & landing
craft carried:
X2 Avon 5.4 m (18 ft) seariders
Complement: 39 (6 officers and 33 ratings)
  • 1 × 76 mm OTO Melara Cannon
  • 2 × Rh202 Rheinmetall 20 mm
  • 2 × 12.7 mm GPMG
Armour: Belted Steel

Ciara (P42) is a Peacock-class patrol vessel in the Irish Naval Service. Like the rest of her class, she was originally designed for use by the British Royal Navy in Hong Kong waters, and was delivered in 1984 by Hall, Russell & Company as HMS Swallow (P242).[1] The ship was passed to the Irish Naval Service in 1988 and was commissioned under her current name by the then Taoiseach Charles Haughey on 16 January 1989. She is the sister ship of Orla.

Royal Navy service

The ship was built as HMS Swallow with the yard number of 991 at the Aberdeen yard of Hall Russell. She was launched on 30 March 1984 and completed on 17 October 1984. In 1988 she was sold to the Republic of Ireland and renamed LÉ Ciara.[2]


In Irish service, the ship took her name from Saint Ciara, born in Tipperary in the 7th century who, after taking religious vows in her teens, founded a convent in Kilkeary, near Nenagh.[3] The ship's coat-of-arms depict three golden chalices which represent the three ancient dioceses among which Tipperary was divided. Also featured is a Celtic cross as a representation of the North Cross at Ahenny, County Tipperary. The coat of arms incorporates the Tipperary colours of Blue and Yellow as well as the background or field colours of the Tipperary Arms which is Ermine - white with a pattern of black arrowhead shaped points.

Weapons and equipment

Command bridge and 76 mm gun of Ciara
Command bridge and 76 mm gun of Ciara

The ship's principal armament is an OTO Melara 76 mm Compact gun. This has a 20-kilometre (12 mi) range and can fire 85 rounds per minute. It can be used in both anti-aircraft and anti-ship roles. It holds an 80-round magazine that can easily be reloaded by a two-man team.[4] There are also two single 20 mm Rh202 Rheinmetall cannons and two 12.7 mm machine guns.[3]

She is equipped with surveillance equipment and a fishery protection information system which is regularly updated via a satellite link to the Irish Naval Service base at Haulbowline Island near Cobh.

Ciara has a cruising speed of 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph) and a sprint speed of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph), making her the fastest ship in the Irish Navy;[5] the crew have nicknamed her "Road Runner" after the speedy cartoon character, which is portrayed on the funnel.[5]


Throughout her career, LÉ Ciara has been involved in fisheries protection patrols as well as search and rescue missions.[6][7]

In 2011, the vessel was temporarily taken out of service to address an issue with the hull,[8] and was again kept out of commission for several months in mid-2014 for removal of asbestos.[9]


  1. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 23 Oct 1989". Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Swallow (6127593)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Fleet - LÉ Ciara P42". Irish Defence Forces. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  4. ^ "OTO Melara 76/62 C" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 January 2009.
  5. ^ a b "J.H.L. PHOTOGRAPHY - John H Luxton Photography". Archived from the original on 18 March 2008.
  6. ^ "Sea search for crewman". The Irish Times. 6 March 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  7. ^ "Navy's Night-Time Detention of Belgium Fishing Vessel". Afloat Magazine. 3 August 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  8. ^ "LE Ciara Returns to Sea after Hull Repairs". Afloat Magazine. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  9. ^ "Asbestos found on board third naval vessel". Irish Examiner. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2015.

External links

This page was last edited on 12 November 2020, at 07:51
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