Category Archives: Non-waterway

And I’m like wow …

… as the young folk say nowadays. Searching the National Library catalogue for prints and drawings of the Royal Canal before 1900 brought up the usual suspects but also a very interesting map and this stunning view of Dublin in 1853. Viaducts! Railways! Steamers! Barges being propelled by sweeps!

I couldn’t find the Royal Canal, though.

Construction

The government’s new election manifesto construction strategy has just been published and can be downloaded here. I wouldn’t bother, though: there’s nothing in it about the Clones Sheugh and it’s written in the sort of turgid prose that won’t fry your brain: it will instead submerge your brain in a slurry pit and hold it under, providing a slow, choking, unpleasant death.

Anyway, the doughty Rob Kitchin has waded through it on our behalf and gives his conclusions here. I don’t share his enthusiasm for National Spatial Strategies and National Development Plans, but I have some sympathy for him when he says

I would have preferred something a bit more holistic, rather than trying to frame a whole bunch of stuff as a coordinated plan.

Michael Hennigan uses the B word.

Spring is sprung …

… the grass is riz.
I wonder where the brand new fleet of aircraft is.

I would welcome news of sightings of the fleet of (presumably) floatplanes/seaplanes/amphibians that Harbour Flights is to have operating “early in the new year … from [sic] destinations nationwide”.

There is some discussion on Boards.ie here, by folk who appear to know one end of an aeroplane from the other; the later posts on the second page discuss suitable types of craft.

 

Rejoice!

Waterways Ireland’s annual report for 2012 has now been published and is available for download here [PDF].

The English-language version begins on page 77 of 144; the earlier pages are devoted to an Irish-language version, that tongue being widely used in Belfast North.

The Ulster Scots Foreword gets in twice, but Dawn Livingstone is described as Chief Executive and not, alas, as Heid Fector. In a blow for parity of esteem, only the Foreword has been translated into the Hamely Tongue. And we continue to find “Waterways Ireland” translated as “Watterweys Airlann” in WI’s logo but as “Watterwyes Airlan” in the text. No wonder the shinners are running rings around the unionists [although I see that David Cameron intends to fix that].

Now I must read the report to see if I can spot why its publication was so long delayed, but we must welcome the success of the peace process that has reconciled the NI Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure with the roI Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

I suppose there’s be no chance of the 2013 report being published soon …?

If we had eggs …

… we could cook bacon and eggs, if we had bacon.

What with one thing and another, I haven’t recently been paying much attention to the campaign to keep the decayed former Aran Islands ferry Naomh Éanna from being scrapped. I gather that there is a proposal for spending €1.86 million on the vessel but I found little information online, especially about the proposed sources of capital or the expected return on investment; if the full plan is available anywhere online, I’d welcome a link.

None of the proposed onboard activities seem to require a floating home, none seems to have anything much to add to the heritage or historic value (if any) of the vessel and the only purpose of the heritage tag seems to be to enable the proposed tourism complex to get a berth from Galway Port Company. There is a cheaper floating hotel available elsewhere, which might require less expense; it could be renamed Naomh Éanna II.

I see that the fans of the existing vessel are trying to raise €15000 to have it surveyed. As far as I can gather from a Facebook page, the total raised so far is €1965: €1835 by 16 April and €139 at a beer-tasting. There seems to have been an update on 23 April but, as far as I can see, access is confined to Facebook subscribers.

Of the €1835, €500 came from the Dublin Branch of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland. I do hope that such a donation is not ultra vires: the preservation of old seagoing vessels does not seem to be within the objectives set out in IWAI’s Memorandum of Association, at least as described under “Goals of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland” on the IWAI website. Perhaps the page needs updating?

I note that folk have been sending in photos of and other information about the vessel. Now, my interest in this vessel is not in possible uses as a floating brewery or as a tourist attraction in Galway.

First, I want this albatross to be lifted from Waterways Ireland’s neck and, if Galway Port wants to house it, that’s fine by me, as long as they get it out of the inland waterways (and the taxpayer doesn’t have to pay for it).

Second, I want to counter the notion that, because the vessel is old, it is worth preserving. As I wrote here:

Yes, it had some interesting (if minor) historical associations, but the best way of recording them would be to write a book, or create a website, or even make a movie, about the ship’s history. Money spent that way would be a far better investment than money spent on keeping the Naomh Éanna afloat. Its heritage or historical value lies in the associated information, not in the steel.

National Historic Ships UK says:

As with all man-made structures, ships and boats were not built to last forever. However, the issue of dilapidation is especially acute for vessels. Unlike buildings, the accepted working life for most vessels is only some 30 years: they were not and still are not built for the long term. For many vessels of intrinsic historical importance, there will come a time when the cost of conserving or even simply repairing them becomes unaffordable. Unless the burden can be passed to another willing organisation, such vessels have no sustainable future.

That’s from one of the three volumes of its series Understanding Historic Vessels. The first two volumes are published as free PDF downloads from this page:

  • Recording Historic Vessels
  • Deconstructing Historic Vessels [from which I quoted].

Both are well worth reading and the first, in particular, might guide anyone who is actually interested in the heritage or historic value of the Naomh Éanna; it suggests that recording should be done before deconstruction [aka scrapping] but further information can be recorded during the latter process.

The authors suggest drawing up, for each vessel, a two-page Statement of Significance. I note that I have not seen such a statement, or any equivalent, for the Naomh Éanna, which makes me sceptical about the vessel’s value. And, using the National Historic Ships Criteria and Scoring System (which is included in both documents), I fear that the Naomh Éanna would not score highly.

I accept, though, that I do not have complete information about the vessel. It may be that some of the Naomh Éanna enthusiasts are engaged in a structured recording of information about the vessel and that they are building a case — the equivalent of a Statement of Significance — for its preservation on heritage or historic grounds. However, I haven’t yet come across their work; if it exists, I would welcome a link. As it is, though, the preservation campaign seems to me to be based more on sentiment rather than on fact or logic.

Finally, the third volume of Understanding Historic Vessels, called Conserving Historic Vessels, has now been published on dead trees and can be bought through the Royal Museums Greenwich online shop at STG £30; P&P to Ireland is STG £15. Other reference sources are listed here. And here is information about the Dunleary lifeboat.

 

 

Concrete boats and barges

The latest issue of the [UK] Boat Museum Society‘s Waterways Journal, Violume 16, contains a very interesting article on “Concrete Boats and Barges” by the Rev David Long; several of the hulls are in Ireland. There are also articles on the restoration of a wooden coal-carrying Box Boat and on the carrying firm of Richard Abel & Sons of Runcorn and Liverpool, as well as a splendidly iconoclastic piece by Joseph Boughey on Robert Aickman, a founder of the [UK] Inland Waterways Association. [Non-hagiographic accounts of the history of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland have yet to be written.]

It is not easy for folk without sterling bank accounts to buy copies of its Journal from the Boat Museum Society, but I have bought issues in the past from The Canal Shop [Vol 16 has not yet been listed at time of writing] and no doubt there are other sources too.

Shannon history in Birmingham

According to the Railway & Canal Historical Society’s Events page, its annual Clinker Memorial Lecture, to be held in Birmingham in October 2014, will be about River Shannon steamers in the second quarter of the nineteenth century:

The 2014 Clinker Memorial Lecture will be held in Birmingham on the afternoon of Saturday 18th October 2014. The speaker will be Brian Goggin, BA (Mod), MA.

Brian graduated from Trinity College, Dublin in Economics and Politics, and spent some years as honorary Editor of the quarterly magazine of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland. He and his wife Anne have been boating on Irish inland waterways since the late 1970s. He is currently working on a book on the Shannon steamers of the 1830s and 1840s, and the Clinker Lecture will draw on his research.

Before lunch (and independent of the Lecture) there will be a walking tour of central Birmingham, focusing on sites of waterway and railway interest.

 

The Dublin Manure Company [updated]

Consulting Chemist:
Professor CAMERON, MD, MRIA
Secretary:
J G DAWSON
Offices:
20 USHER’S QUAY
Works — SEVENTH LOCK, ROYAL CANAL

The Company manufacture Superphosphate, Urate, Corn, Grass, Potato, and Blood Manure. These Manures are made from the best materials (which are purchased in the cheapest markets), and sold at the lowest remunerative price.

BRAZILIAN GUANO, sold only by the Company, at £9 15s per ton, is the best Guano for general purposes offered to the Public.

That is from the Freeman’s Journal of 12 June 1861. In a Comment [see below], Ewan Duffy asked:

Any idea where this was located? Neither of the historic OS maps online show anything in the vicinity of the 7th Lock/Liffey Junction.

I replied:

No, but perhaps Liffey Junction abolished it. It’s right in the middle of the period spanned by the two online maps, alas.

Later, I searched the Freeman’s Journal at the British Newspaper Archive for 1860 to 1880. The only ads for the Dublin Manure Company were in 1861. In December of that year the National Manure Company was being set up in Ringsend and featured someone who was “late of” the London and Dublin Manure Companies. After that there was just a single mention, in Shipping Intelligence in 1868, of the Dublin Manure Company; that could be an error, and I suspected that the company didn’t last into 1862.

However, Thom’s for 1868 listed the company offices at Usher’s Quay and the Chemical Works still at 7th Lock on the Royal [I wonder how it fitted in amongst the railway lines]. Slater’s 1870 had the Dublin and Wicklow Manure Company, offices 4 College St, works Dublin and Wicklow; later it said that the works were at Ballybough Bridge. There were no manure works listed at 7th Lock in that year.

Carthach O.Maonaigh very kindly pointed me to an article on the website of the Marino Historical Society, “Ref: 62 – Vitriol and Manure Works Fire – Ballybough Bridge – March 3rd 1890″, about a fire at the Dublin and Wicklow Manure Company’s works at Ballybough Bridge. I don’t think there is a direct link to the article but you’ll find it by searching the page for “manure”. The site is shown on the OSI Historic 25″ map here.

Carthach writes:

From what I recall hearing from my grand-parents, who lived in  the Ballybough area, this firm moved from the Royal Canal site when it joined with a similar business, The Wicklow Manure Company, located on the Murrough, Wicklow Town, to a site between Ballybough Bridge and Annesley Bridge sometime in the 1880s. Whilst jobs in the business was welcomed by the local community you can visualise their reaction to the strong smell that arose from the manufacturing end. The business closed in the early 1900s. The site was derelict for years before the Dublin Corporation bought it to build flats. An article was also published in the Journal of the Wicklow Historical Society in 2012 or 2013 about the firm in Wicklow Town.

I can’t find a site for the Wicklow Historical Society, its journal or the article in question, alas, but if anyone knows of one I’ll add a link.

We still don’t know exactly where the 7th Lock works were or how they fitted in with Liffey Junction; more information welcome.

Waterways [and other] archives

For anyone interested in transport history, there is an interesting-looking workshop scheduled for Belfast on 8 September 2014. It’s being held in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland [PRONI] in the Titanic Quarter and there’s an optional extra tour and reception on the SS Nomadic afterwards.

The programme covers waterways, roads, railways and flight. For this site, the opening session is of great interest: Dawn Livingstone, CEO of Waterways Ireland, is to talk about an interactive archive for Waterways Ireland.

By air, sea and land

By air, sea and land

The workshop is being organised for PRONI by A²SN, the Archives and Artefacts Study Network, supported by the Historical Model Railway Society, the Business Archives Council and the Postal History Society.

The [two-page PDF] brochure is downloadable here PRONI transport archives workshop. The workshop fee is £20/€25 with an extra £3/€3.50 for the SS Nomadic visit. Sterling cheques are accepted; there is provision for paying in euro by online banking.

While on the subject of archives, I might mention again the Archives & Records Association, Ireland branch, whose [freely downloadable PDF] newsletters often cover topics of interest, and their Learn About Archives site here.

A sheugh would solve it …

… not.

If you’re feeling the need of something to depress you, troll on over to the website of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council and download the six PDF sections of the third Peace Monitoring Report. Written by Dr Paul Nolan, it is an extremely impressive piece of work — and a welcome counter to the witterings of the peaceprocess feelgoodistas who are so prominent on 2RN these days.

If you would prefer a summary, here is Liam Clarke’s account in the Belfast Telegraph, and here is his commentary; Tomboktu and others pointed to some problems with the headline on the first piece, but I’m more concerned that the focus on education in the headline on Clarke’s account may distort perceptions of what the report and, indeed, the rest of Clarke’s article are really about.

The report uses indicators grouped into four domains:

  • the sense of safety
  • equality
  • cohesion and sharing
  • political progress.

I didn’t find much that was cheering in any of them. Nolan lists ten key points:

  1. The moral basis of the 1998 peace accord has evaporated
  2. The absence of trust has resulted in an absence of progress
  3. There has been some increase in polarisation
  4. A culture war is being talked into existence
  5. The City of Culture year presented a different understanding of culture
  6. Failure lies in wait for young working-class Protestant males
  7. Front line police have been the human shock absorbers for failures elsewhere
  8. The rebalancing of inequalities unbalances unionism
  9. At grassroots level the reconciliation impulse remains strong
  10. No one picks up the tab.

Only the fifth and ninth offer any good news. But, from a waterways perspective, I was struck by the complete irrelevance of the proposed reconstruction of the Ulster Canal, the Clones Sheugh, to solving any of these problems. Yet Waterways Ireland, around whose neck this dead albatross has been hung, is the largest of the cross-border bodies and the sheugh is the largest capital project proposed to be undertaken by any of them. If the Irish government wants to do something to solve the real and continuing problems of Northern Ireland, as outlined in the Peace Monitoring Report, couldn’t it find something more useful to do?

Incidentally, I have not been able to find coverage of the report on the websites of the Irish Times, Irish Independent or Irish Examiner, although that may reflect poor searching on my part rather than any lack of interest on theirs.