On 13 February 2013 the Irish Times reported that a farmers’ representative had told politicians that
Farmers in the Shannon callows are facing extinction along with the corncrake and wading birds [...].
He wanted taxpayers’ money to be spent on stopping the river flooding its flood plain.
Back in the days when people believed in gods, they would have known what a flood meant: it was a message from a deity, telling them to stop whatever they were doing. On the Shannon, either people have stopped believing in gods or they are having some difficulty in interpreting the message, despite its having been delivered over and over again for hundreds of years. If it were interpreted properly, or even if landowners had a modicum of common sense, they would realise that they should either cease trying to earn a living along the banks of a river that floods regularly or adapt their expectations or their activities to take account of the floods (one thinks of rice paddies …).
In the years 2009–2011 net subsidies to agriculture in the Midland region were 114.4% of the operating surplus. For the Border, Midland and Western region as a whole, the figure was 110.4%. In other words, agriculture in those regions is, on balance, a form of outdoor therapy for landowners: it is not an economic activity, and there is no point in taxpayers’ spending any more money on it.
Posted in Ashore, Drainage, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Ireland, Natural heritage, Operations, People, Politics, Scenery, Shannon, Sources, The cattle trade, waterways, Waterways management, Weather
Tagged agriculture, farming, floods, Shannon, waterways, Waterways Ireland
The River Greese is a tributary of the River Barrow, joining it below Maganey Lock. The photo is taken from the road on the west bank of the Barrow.
The Greese joins the Barrow: the trackway passes over it on a bridge
You can locate it on the OSI map by zooming out from here; the extract below shows the confluence.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Drainage, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Natural heritage, Operations, Scenery, waterways, Weather
Tagged Barrow, bridge, Carlow, floods, flow, Grand Canal, Greese, Ireland, Laois, Maganey, Operations, Shrule, waterways
An Affecting Charge
The following case lately came for trial before Mr Henn QC, the new Recorder of Galway:— George Hamilton, who for twenty-five years had been in the employment of the Midland Great Western Railway Company as station-master, was indicted for stealing from a hamper some goods, the property of Sir Arthur Guinness, which were addressed to Cong, in the county Mayo. For some time a course of pilfering had been carried on, and the directors, in order to find out who were the guilty parties, employed two Dublin detectives, named Stookman and Healy, who arrived in Galway on Aug 31st, and, concealing themselves in the goods-store in empty barrels, remained on the watch all night. About one o’clock next morning they heard a noise, and observed the prisoner entering the place. Having satisfied himself that he was unseen, he took out his penknife and proceeded deliberately to cut the cords of the hamper and extract some of its contents. The detectives waited until he had taken out a bottle of vinegar, a bottle of pickles, and some cheeses, and then tied up the hamper again. They then issued from their hiding-place and seized him. He begged them for God’s sake to have mercy on his wife and family, and to leave the matter between himself and the manager, but they refused to do so, and, having called the police, gave him into custody. About twenty witnesses were examined for the prosecution, and among them the clerk of the goods store, who swore that it had been locked and the key left with the prisoner.
Mr M’Laughlin QC appealed to the sympathies of the jury, and, pointing out some alleged discrepancies in the evidence, pressed them, if they had a doubt that the prisoner took the articles with a guilty intent, to give him the benefit of it.
The Recorder, in his charge, showed that the discrepancies only proved the truth of the charge, and expressed the deep pain he felt at seeing in such a position a man who had held a respectable position, with a salary of £300 a year, and had young ladies whom he saw in court dependent upon him. He finally burst into tears.
The jury retired, and after three hours’ deliberation returned into court and stated that there was no chance of an agreement. His worship sent them back to their room, and, after being absent for another hour, they brought in a verdict of not guilty, which the Recorder stated he could not endorse, but characterised as monstrous.
The Leeds Times 12 October 1878
The Recorder, Mr Henn, was the father of T R Henn and later lived in Paradise. Sir Arthur Guinness, a stout fellow, was a descendant of this chap and had a small holiday house at Cong on Lough Corrib, where his family had many boats.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Operations, People, Politics, Rail, Scenery, shannon estuary, Sources, Water sports activities, waterways
Tagged boats, cheese, Clare, Corrib, detectives, estuary, Fergus, Guinness, Henn, Ireland, Midland Great Western Railway, Operations, pickles, vinegar, waterways
Our London Correspondent reports that the latest and most fashionable souvenir to go on sale there is a reproduction cast-iron “paperweight/doorstop/bookend based on the mooring bollards of Regents Canal”. Available in black or fluorescent red, these items were designed by a designer who was being worked with by another chap who was commissioned by a Creative Agency. The result is a “desirable antidote to the overly-commercial, tacky souvenirs” available elsewhere, it says here.
A bollard at Meelick
Well, that’s nice. Maybe Waterways Ireland could commission the same creative types to design a range of reproductions of Irish waterways bollards; folk could be encouraged to collect the entire set.
But one minor drawback does strike me. The artistic merits of these reproduction bollards are of course obvious, but as souvenirs they have one minor drawback. A souvenir is something you buy, while on holiday, to take home to someone else. Nowadays, the steamer services are not what they once were and many folk travel on these new-fangled flying-machines. But according to that nice Mr O’Leary, who operates some such machines, you may take only 10 kg of cabin baggage. These bollards, though, weigh about 1.5 kg each, which rather limits the number of bollards you can carry as souvenirs.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Foreign parts, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Non-waterway, Operations, People, Scenery, Shannon, Sources, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged bollard, lock, Meelick, quay, Shannon, Victoria Lock, waterways, Waterways Ireland
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Operations, Restoration and rebuilding, Scenery, Shannon, Sources, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged boats, bridge, canal, Clare, dredging, Dublin, embankment, ESB, estuary, Grand Canal, Ireland, Killaloe, L & M Keating, Limerick, Lough Derg, Meelick, Operations, Portumna, Shannon, vessels, waterways, Waterways Ireland, workboat
In the Foreword to his latest book, Portraits of Mountshannon (East Clare Heritage, Tuamgraney 2012), Ger Madden writes of the changes to Mountshannon since 1993:
The Aistear, the children’s playground, the pre-school building, the floating jetties at the harbour, additional restaurants and shops have been hugely positive and successful. The same cannot be said for housing. Ten years of reasonable prosperity for some, has resulted in new private holiday homes built on the fringes of the village and others planned. They are not associated with the needs of the community. The majority of the owners have not the slightest interest in the history, culture or welfare of the community they have chosen to display their wealth.
Any such owners wishing to develop an interest in the history of Mountshannon could not do better than to start with Ger’s book. It’s A4 landscape, with an aerial colour photo of Mountshannon on the front and a map on the back. Inside, the foreword gives a brief overview of Mountshannon’s history. Then follow 52 pages, each with a black and white photo and each covering a building, a tree or a place of interest in and around Mountshannon. Their locations are shown on the map on the back cover.
But, although architectural information is provided, the book is not about the buildings per se. Each page is a window into Mountshannon’s history and, together, they provide a rich account of the place and its people over the centuries. Part of the interest is in the fact that buildings you might pass by without noticing turn out to have interesting stories attached to them. Nor are they all about the distant past: I was glad to see that Mountshannon’s more recent claim to fame, as the last telephone exchange in the country to be automated, was recognised here (although I suppose that too may seem like the distant past to younger readers).
I highly recommend the book. If you’re in the area, you’ll probably know better than I where to get copies; if you’re not, you might ask East Clare Heritage.
Ger runs boat trips to Holy Island during the summer.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Charles Wye Williams, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Irish waterways general, Natural heritage, Operations, People, Scenery, Shannon, Sources, Steamers, The cattle trade, Tourism, waterways
Tagged boats, Clare, East Clare, Ger Madden, Holy Island, Ireland, Lough Derg, Mountshannon, Shannon, Tuamgraney