You’ve seen the canal; now buy the book
- Waterways & past uses
- Saving the nation
- Midlands turf waterways
- The Bog of Allen from the Grand Canal in 1835
- John’s Canal, Castleconnell
- The Canal at the World’s End
- The Finnery River navigation
- The Lough Boora Feeder
- The Little Brosna
- The Lullymore canal as wasn’t
- The Roscrea canals
- Lacy’s Canal
- The Rockville Navigation page 1
- The Rockville Navigation page 2
- The Rockville Navigation page 3
- The lower Shannon
- The piers, quays and harbours of the Shannon Estuary
- Nimmo’s non-existent harbour
- The Doonbeg Ship Canal
- Kilrush and its sector lock
- The Killimer to Tarbert ferry
- The Colleen Bawn at Killimer
- Knock knock. Who’s there?
- Cahircon: not at all boring
- The hidden quay of Latoon
- The Maigue
- Sitting on the dock of the Beagh
- Saleen Pier
- The Lord Lieutenant’s Visit to Limerick — trip down the Shannon 
- The Fergus
- The Limerick Navigation
- The power of the Shannon
- The locks on the Limerick Navigation
- The bridge at O’Briensbridge
- The Limerick Navigation (upper end) in flood November 2009
- The Limerick Navigation (lower end) in flood November 2009
- The Limerick Navigation (tidal section) in flood November 2009
- Limerick to Athlone
- The piers, quays and harbours of the Shannon Estuary
- The middle and upper Shannon
- The Grand Canal
- The Royal Canal
- Waterways in Dublin
- Waterways of the south-east
- The top of the Suir
- The upper Suir: Carrick to Clonmel
- The middle Suir, from Carrick-on-Suir to Waterford
- Draining the Barrow
- The tidal Barrow
- The Nore in 1897
- The Slaney
- Johnstown, Co Kilkenny
- Waterways of Cork and Kerry
- Waterways of the west
- Waterways of Ulster and thereabouts
- Construction of the Junction Navigation at Aghoo
- The Ulster Canal rip-off
- Lock gear on the Junction Navigation [SEW]
- Lough Foyle and the Strabane Canal
- Prothero on the Erne in the 1890s
- Prothero on the Armagh Blackwater and the Ulster Canal in the 1890s
- Drum Bridge on the Lagan Navigation
- Ballyskeagh High Bridge
- Upper Fathom: Victoria Lock on the Newry Ship Canal
- The Willsborough canals
- The Broharris Canal
- Systems & artefacts
- Irish waterways furniture
- Irish waterways operations
- Miscellaneous articles
- Irish inland waterways vessels
- Cots -v- barges: defining Irish waterways
- Waterways Ireland workboats
- Wooden boats on Irish inland waterways
- Traditional boats and replicas
- Non-WI workboats
- Older Irish working boats
- The barge at Plassey
- Dublin, Athlone and Limerick
- Waterford to New Ross by steam
- Liffey barges 1832
- Steam on the Grand Canal
- The Mystery of the Sunken Barge
- Steam on the Newry Canal
- Guinness Liffey barges 1902
- Up and under: PS Garryowen in 1840
- Watson’s Double Canal Boat
- The Cammoge ferry-boat
- The ’98 barge
- A sunken boat in the Shannon
- Sailing boats on Irish inland waterways
- Some boats that are … different
- 4B mooring
- Irish waterways scenery
- Engineering and construction
- Irish navigation authorities
- The folly of restoration
- The Ulster Canal
- The Ulster Canal 00: overview
- The Ulster Canal 01: background
- The Ulster Canal 02: the southern strategic priority
- The Ulster Canal 03: implementation
- The Ulster Canal 04: Ulster says no
- The Ulster Canal 05: studies and appraisals
- The Ulster Canal 06: the costs
- The Ulster Canal 07: the supposed benefits
- The Ulster Canal 08: the funding
- The Ulster Canal 09: affordability
- The Ulster Canal 10: kill it now
- The Ulster Canal 11: some information from Waterways Ireland (and the budget)
- The Ulster Canal 12: departmental bullshit
- The Ulster Canal 13: an investment opportunity?
- The Ulster Canal 14: my search for truth
- The Ulster Canal 15: spinning in the grave
- The Ulster Canal 16: looking for a stake
- The Ulster Canal 17: the official position in November 2011
- The Ulster Canal 18: Sinn Féin’s canal?
- The Ulster Canal 19: update to February 2012
- The Ulster Canal 20: update to April 2013
- The Barrow
- A bonfire at Collins Barracks
- Living on the canals
- Waterways tourism
- The Park Canal: why it should not be restored
- The Park Canal 01: it says in the papers
- The Park Canal 02: local government
- The Park Canal 03: sinking the waterbus
- The Park Canal 04: the Limerick weir
- The Park Canal 05: cruisers from the Royal Canal
- The Park Canal 06: What is to be done? (V I Lenin)
- The Park Canal 07: another, er, exciting proposal
- Accounting for risk
- Tax-dodging boat-owners
- Waterways & past uses
I mentioned back in October 2014 that the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (whom god preserve, although I don’t know whether they have any connection with Utrecht) had applied its collective mind to COM (2014) 452. And I’m sure we were all very relieved at the news.
Regular readers, a well-informed lot, will not of course need to be told what COM (2014) 452 is all about. However, in case you’re new here, perhaps I should explain that COM (2014) 452 is a proposal for a European Council directive implementing the European agreement concluded by the European Barge Union, EBU, the European Skippers Organisation, ESO, and the European Transport Workers Federation, ETF, concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time in inland waterway transport.
And rightly so, I hear you say. But the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation “agreed that this proposal warrants further scrutiny”, which is slightly odd given that (a) Ireland has no inland waterways transport and (b) the members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation presumably have other things they could be doing with their time. However, I thought (after wading through the gobbledegook) that the proposal might affect hours of work on the half dozen or so trip-boats on Irish inland waterways.
Well, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has been giving the proposal more scrutiny. It — or at least its chair, one Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, a Fine Gael TD for Banagher (where there is a trip-boat) and some other places — recommended that
[…] the committee consider the merit of the submission of a political contribution on this proposal. The political contribution would focus on the following: the committee’s concern regarding the lack of clarity in the scope of the agreement from a sufficiently early stage; the fact that an exemption was not carved out for Ireland and other member states, as had been done previously; the issue of proportionality; and that the committee recommends in future proposals which relate to sector policy areas within which certain member states have traditionally been exempted should indicate clearly from the beginning the intended scope of application, and this would allow member states the full opportunity to scrutinise the proposal and submit a reasoned opinion within the allowed 56 day timeframe.
That seems to mean “we didn’t read the stuff properly when it came out”. But the other members agreed to the recommendation: in fact their combined contributions spent more time on wishing each other happy xmases than on debating the proposal. I hesitate to suggest that they hadn’t actually read it, but the report of proceedings provides no evidence that they had done so. Any members of the JOC who wish to prove their mastery of the issues are invited to leave Comments below.
The upshot is that Ireland, which has no inland waterways transport, is to submit an objection, on procedural but not on substantive grounds, to a proposal that seems to have emanated from countries where there are real inland waterways transport industries. It seems that Ireland is following the lead of Her Majesty’s Government across the water, which is always nice.
Of course, the United Kingdom has no serious inland waterways transport either. And, as far as I can see, neither Cyprus nor Malta, the other driving-on-the-left imperial remnants that joined the resistance movement, has any inland waterways, never mind any transport thereon. Checking on waterways in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece and Hungary, the other heroes of the people’s revolution, is left as an exercise for the reader.
So we have countries with no serious inland waterways transport objecting to arrangements made by and for those who have real waterways. That should make the remnants of empire popular.
No doubt the members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation reached their decision on opposing the proposed EU directive after appropriate analysis and consideration. They have not, alas, revealed the results of either of those processes. It would be nice to know who in Ireland would be affected by the proposed directive and what representations such persons have made to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
An interesting piece of information from Waterways Ireland’s feasibility study on the restoration of the Longford Branch of the Royal Canal. We learn on page 44 that the Royal Canal needs, on average, 10 million gallons of water per day to cope with “lockages, leakage, seepage and evaporation” and that the current supply arrangements, with much pumping, are costing €300,000 a year.
On 28 January 1907 James Robinson Kilroe [near the bottom of the page] of H M Geological Survey read to the Royal Irish Academy a paper on “The River Shannon: its present course and geological history” [Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Vol XXVI Section B No 8 Hodges, Figgis & Co Ltd, Dublin; Williams & Norgate, London 1907]. I thought that Plate V was interesting.
It will be perceived that instead of the river being shallow over the unyielding Silurian slate-rock, set almost vertically, and striking across the river-course, it is deeper than over the limestone of Lough Derg, and much deeper than over the comparatively easily eroded Old Red Sandstone at Killaloe. The river-bed actually drops below the datum line above the town, while at the town it is 100 feet above datum.
Old Red Sandstone strata are here to be seen in the river-bank, and Silurian rocks in situ in its bed. A barrier is thus formed, partly of Silurian, and partly of Old Red Sandstone rocks, which without the artificial impounding weir would retain the waters of Lough Derg to a depth of some 104 feet opposite Derrycastle — two miles above Killaloe.
One might have expected to find a fairly level shallow bed from Killaloe northward, a sudden drop from slate-rock to the sandstone floor, and a pronounced wide, well-formed valley in the limestone district southward to Limerick.
None of these elements exist; instead, we have the formidable barrier at Killaloe, naturally damming up a considerable depth of water in Lough Derg, and the river falling away southward by a series of rapids which correspond with drops in the canal, south of O’Briensbridge […], along an alternative course, possibly one used by a branch of the Shannon.
Here is an extract from the Plate V map, showing the steps of the (pre-Ardnacrusha) Limerick Navigation between Lough Derg and the sea.
Kilroe wrote of Lough Ree:
The waters of Lough Ree stood some 10 feet higher within recent times than they now do, as proved by evidence of solution, with under-cutting of limestone blocks, to be seen about five miles north-west of Athlone, close to the railway, in the townland of Cornaseer.
Under these conditions the lake must have been, perhaps, twice its width, and for a considerable period. Its ancient surface-level is clearly indicated by the caps of the mushroom-shaped blocks.
And of the Shannon between Lough Ree and Lough Derg:
The extreme flatness of the river between Athlone and Meelick is such that, consequent upon the completion of the Suck Drainage-works in 1892, it was found that the callows along the Shannon above the confluence of the Suck at Shannonbridge were much more liable to sudden and frequent floodings than they previously had been.
The more rapid discharge of the Suck waters into the Shannon, before ordinary extra water had time to pass away, had the effect of modifying the regimen of the main stream to an extent which resulted in an action at law [La Touche -v- The Suck Drainage Board].
I have found only one account of that case, in the Freeman’s Journal of 1 July 1893. The plaintiffs, Messrs Harrison and La Touche, owned land at Cappaleitrim, on the west bank of the Shannon above Shannonbridge. They said that the actions of the Suck Drainage Board had caused their lands to be flooded:
[…] that the defendants brought water from the Suck into the Shannon, containing a drainage of 40 miles, with such velocity and such volume that the Shannon was penned back, and that the back water caused the damage to the lands complained of.
[…] The jury disagreed and were discharged.
I don’t know whether the matter ever again came before a judge.
Messrs Pesda Press have a new book on Canoe Camping. I haven’t read it, but Pesda produced the excellent Oileáin, David Walsh’s superb guide to 570 Irish offshore islands, many of them most easily accessible by kayak. With more emphasis on the development of blueways and canoe trails in Ireland, Tim Gent’s book on canoe camping might be of interest to canoeists and kayakers and to those providing facilities and services for them.
Big it up for Messrs Breakingnews.ie for the information that the European Commission is taking Ireland to court over the ludicrous regulations for the use of green diesel in private pleasure craft. The topic has been covered here more than once, most recently here; I discussed the ludicrous regulations here.
Breakingnews.ie says that Ireland ignored the EU’s “letters” (presumably the Reasoned Opinion) on the subject. That is consoling, because my own requests for information about Ireland’s response to the Reasoned Opinion have likewise been ignored.
The EU’s press release is here; the EU notes that
While Irish law requires craft owners to pay to the Revenue the difference between the tax paid on marked gas oil and that due if the gas oil had been charged at the standard rate, the low number of tax returns indicate that the minimum level of taxation is not applied.