Tag Archives: ferry

Marty Whelan, St Saran, Colonel l’Estrange and the Tessauren Ferry

Marty Whelan, a youthful disk-jockey chap with an insignificant amount of facial hair, presents a morning programme on the wireless. One day last week, discussing traffic problems with a chap from AA Roadwatch, he considered the origin of the name of L’Estrange Bridge, whose location neither he nor his collocutor knew.

L'Estrange Bridge (2003)

L’Estrange Bridge (2003)

It had been mentioned on this site as the location of a fatal motoring accident in December 2011 and it is, of course, a useful stopping place for those who, driving to Athlone, like to stop to consume the coffee (and any comestibles) they may have purchased in the award-winning Spar shop in Cloghan.

I emailed Mr Whelan, with a link to the location on the OSI map.

Tessauren 1

L’Estrange Bridge and Moystown House

I speculated that, as the nearby Moystown House was owned by the l’Estrange family (as was Huntston or Hunstanton, across the road), the Grand Canal Company might have had to buy land from them and, with the aim of keeping the cost down, have agreed to name the bridge after the landowner (a tactic that the National Roads Authority might adopt).

I should make it clear that I have not researched the land purchases of the Grand Canal Company in the area, so this should not be taken as definitive. I note, from Fred Hamond’s Bridges of Offaly County: an industrial heritage review (for Offaly County Council, November 2005), that the date on the bridge is 1800, although the canal was not opened until 1804; as Fred says:

Most [bridges] were built before their respective stretches of canal opened […].

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of 1846 says:

The principal artificial features are the mutually adjacent demesnes of Moystown and Hunstanton, the residences of the Messrs L’Estrange, situated on the Brosna. “Though Moystown,” remarks Mr Fraser, “has not extensively diversified park scenery to boast of, and is environed by deep brown bog, there is, in the style of the house, in the arrangement of the plantations, and in the beautiful evergreen oaks and other ornamental trees which adorn the lawn, a character which carries us back to the gentlemen’s seats of the olden times. This demesne is watered by the Brosna, which pays its ample tribute to the Shannon at thetermination of the grounds, and where also the Grand Canal crosses the river in its progress to Ballinasloe.”

Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary of 1837 says that Colonel l’Estrange was living at Moystown at the time, William l’Estrange was living at Kilcummin, a little distance north of Huntston, and Major Carlton (a relative, I think) at Huntston.

A quick search suggests that the l’Estranges did occupy land there in 1800, but I cannot claim to have carried out a thorough investigation.

What was of more interest to me was that the Parliamentary Gazetteer extract was from an item headed Tessauran, Tiseran or Kilcally:

Tessauren 2

The parish of Tisaran

TESSAURAN, TISERAN, or KILCALLY, a parish in the barony of Garrycastle, 2¼ miles north-west by west of Cloghan, King’s co., Leinster. Length, south-westward, 3¾ miles; extreme breadth, 2½; area, 7,316 acres, 2 roods, 12 perches, — of which 106 acres, 3 roods, 38 perches are in the river Shannon. Pop., in 1831, 2,032; in 1841, 2,029. Houses 346. The north-western boundary is traced by the Blackwater; the south-western boundary, by the Shannon; and the south-eastern boundary, by the Brosna. All the northern district, part of the eastern, and most of that along the Blackwater, are bog; much of that along the Shannon is lowland meadow; and most of the remainder is dry limestone land, pleasant in appearance, and possessing a considerable aggregate of embellishment.

Some time ago, I asked here about Tessauren Ferry, but had no response. I found the term in F E Prothero and W A Clark eds Cruising Club Manual: A New Oarsman’s Guide to the Rivers and Canals of Great Britain and Ireland George Philip & Son, London 1896. His entry for the Grand Canal included this at 79¼ miles from Dublin:

Entrance into the Shannon at Tessauren Ferry.

I have not seen the term used anywhere else. The ferry is of course that provided by the Shannon Commissioners to enable horse-drawn boats to cross the Shannon to the Ballinasloe Line of the Grand Canal. It would be nice to find other instances of the use of Prothero’s term.

Tessauran, Tisaran, Tiseran, Tessauren (and perhaps there are other variants) is the name of the parish north-east of the junction between the Brosna and the Shannon. It is odd that the ferry’s eastern departure point was actually outside the parish, because the Brosna was the boundary and the ferry started from the south side of the canal and the Brosna.

Tessauren 3

Tisaran parish and the ferry

The other link I had not made was that between Tessauren and St Saran, whose well I photographed some years ago, which means that I was on the grounds of Moystown House.

Tessauren 4

St Saran’s well (Tobersaran)

 

St Sarans Well near Shannonbridge 03_resize

St Saran’s well

St Sarans Well near Shannonbridge 04_resize

Looking into the well

 

So one mystery solved, as an accidental result of a remark on the wireless, but more information about the use of the term Tessauren Ferry would be welcome.

My OSI logo and permit number for website

Ballinlaw ferry

A visitor to my page on the tidal Barrow is a descendant of ferrymen at Ballinlaw on the Barrow. He would like to find a photograph (or, presumably, other illustration) of the ferry boat and I would welcome more information about the service (eg when it ended).

Ballinlaw ferry (OSI ~1840)

Ballinlaw ferry (OSI ~1840)

If anyone knows of a possible source of information or illustration, I will pass it on to the enquirer.

My OSI logo and permit number for website

Hands across the water

Another bit of northsouthery seems to be crumbling around its proponents’ ears, according to a report in today’s Irish Times [which will disappear behind a paywall at some stage]. It seems that, in July, TPTB approved the spending of €18.3 million on a bridge at Narrowwater [or Narrow Water], upstream of Warrenpoint and downstream of Newry (and of Victoria Lock). However,

The leading bid has costed the bridge at over €30 million […].

I presume that inflation does not account for the 66% increase but I am surprised that the proponents’ estimate was so far off. Perhaps omitting the opening span (intended to cater for the small number of tall vessels that use the Ship Canal to visit Newry) would save a few quid.

There is a discussion of the bridge project here and some useful information here; there isn’t here, although you might expect it.

It is certainly true that anyone wanting to drive from, say, Greenore or Carlingford to, say, Kilkeel or even Warrenpoint faces a long drive around Carlingford Lough. What is not clear to me is whether very many people want to do that: I haven’t investigated the matter, so I don’t know, but the main north/south traffic passes to the west and there are crossings at Newry.

A ferry service might be cheaper; it might also allow the real strength of demand to be gauged. Ferry terminals might be constructed by the local authorities and leased to an operating company.

And the service would probably be more useful than the Clones Sheugh: I see that yet another member of Sinn Féin got to ask about that in the Dáil recently, as did a Fianna Fáil chap from the area; they elicited the standard answer. The minister may be hoping that the cost estimates for the sheugh are more robust than those for the Narrowwater bridge.

Mark Twain and the Cammoge drownings of 1849

Mark Twain wrote:

There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

I have indulged in just such conjecture about the design of the ferry boat in use at Cammoge in 1849, crossing the outlet from Poulnasherry Bay, west of Kilrush on the Shannon estuary. The news reports of the time give very little information about the design of the boat, and the reliability of that information is questionable, which makes my speculation even more dangerous. Nonetheless, I thought it might be useful to set out some thoughts on the subject in the hope that other folk, who know more about the background, the location or naval architecture than I do, might be able to help to clarify the design.

From Kilrush to Carlingford …

ferry interesting news.

Inland waterways traffic 2

Thames Clipper, London

Forts, weirs, piers, power stations …

… just some of the things you can see from the Killimer to Tarbert ferry.

Actually, I lied about the weirs, but they were there once. As were the salmon.

Who built the quay at Kildysart?

The Shannon Commissioners didn’t, but who did? Read about it here. Topics covered include a quad bike, a gandalow and a mausoleum.

Crovraghan continuity

The cattle-carrying lighters and other interesting boats at Crovraghan.

Rosscliff

Rosscliff is a cattle port on the Fergus estuary. It is not clear whether this is the location of the quay referred to by Lewis and the Parliamentary Gazetteer in their entries for Ballinacally (Ballynacally).