Ciara (P42)

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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
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
  • 4 × 7.62 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] She 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.


This ship takes her name from Saint Ciara, born in Tipperary around the year 611 who, after taking religious vows in her teens, founded a convent in Kilkeary, near Nenagh. 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[edit]

Command bridge and 76 mm gun of Ciara

The ship's principal armament is a 76 mm (3 in) OTO Melara Gun Compact. 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.[2] There are also two single 20 mm Rh202 Rheinmetall cannons and four single 7.62 mm machine guns.

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, 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). The crewmen have given the vessel the nickname Road Runner and the cartoon mascot is displayed on the funnel.[3] The nickname was chosen to signify that Ciara is the fastest ship in the Irish Navy.


By August 2014, LÉ Ciara had been out of commission for several months after the discovery of asbestos on the ship.[4]


  1. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster. "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 23 Oct 1989". Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  2. ^ [1] Archived 17 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "J.H.L. PHOTOGRAPHY - John H Luxton Photography". Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  4. ^ "Asbestos found on board third naval vessel". Irish Examiner. 2014-08-28. Retrieved 2015-11-02.

External links[edit]