Tag Archives: Gillogue

The Gillogue railroad

Gillogue, in Co Clare, is the site of a former Burlington factory and of a Clare entrance to the University of Limerick. It is also the site of a lock on the Plassey–Errina Canal, a section of the old Limerick Navigation, and of quarries, gravel pits and lime kilns.

And, according to the 6″ Ordnance Survey map, of around 1840, Gillogue also had a railroad.

The Gillogue rail road

The Gillogue rail road (click to enlarge)

The railroad was almost certainly not for carrying passengers; it may have been a light railway, with small wagons pushed by men or pulled by horses, and designed to be taken up and moved elsewhere fairly easily. However, I have no hard information about who owned it, who built it or what it was for. I can make guesses, based on its closeness to the canal and to the quarries, but it would be nice to have evidence.

If, Gentle Reader, you know anything about it, do please leave a Comment below.

My OSI logo and permit number for website

The Limerick Navigation: lock sizes

Here is a table showing the sizes of the locks on the (now abandoned) Limerick Navigation.

Limerick bridge

Just as Killaloe is to have a new bridge, so too is Limerick. Or perhaps more than one …. This page (on a site whose ownership I do not know) has a map of proposed routes for the proposed Limerick Northern Distributor Road, which is to provide a northern bypass of Limerick. You can read about it on the websites of the promoters, Limerick County Council, Clare County Council and Limerick City Council. You can download stuff. And you will be pleased to hear that there are to be consultations (only not many of them).

This road is to be built in two phases, the first covering the area from west of the city to Parteen and the second from there to the old Dublin road (N7 as was, now demoted to the status of boreen). There are (or were) several options for each section, but the decision to cross the navigation at the Ardnacrusha tailrace, between the power station and the existing bridge, seems to be set in, er, concrete: that is, it seems, where the ESB wants it.

Ardnacrusha and the tailrace seen from the existing bridge at Parteen

The current consultation is about Phase 2, south-east from Parteen. There are several possible routes.

Two of them, B1 and B2, would cross the Shannon downstream of Plassey and the Black Bridge; they would not cross the Plassey–Errina Canal. It would be important to ensure that they did not further damage the towing-path and its artefacts on the Limerick side.

The west bank below Plassey

Four other routes — C1, D1, D2 and E1 — would cross the Plassey–Errina Canal between Gillogue and Wooden Bridge; they would cross the non-navigable Shannon upstream of Plassey, between there and a point just above the confluence of the Mulcair. C1 seems to run very close to Gillogue Lock, although that may be an effect of the scale of the route markings.

Woodenbridge (which isn't)

I am sure that the ESB will look after the interests of the existing navigation (through Ardnacrusha) and that Waterways Ireland will look after those of the former navigation (the river to Plassey and the canal thence to Errina). However, it might be worthwhile lobbing in a comment to TPTB, first to sttress the heritage value of the abandoned navigation and second to suggest that a new road near Plassey might improve rather than diminish access to that area.

One final thought: this new road seems likely to put the final nail in the coffin of the Limerick Tunnel under the Shannon estuary downstream of Limerick. I very much enjoy using the tunnel, but many folk are deterred by the charges and they drive through the city instead — or, worse, cross the Shannon at O’Briensbridge. As a result, revenue is less than expected, so the traffic guarantee mechanism means that the National Roads Authority has to compensate the tunnel operators.

So now that a new, free, presumably fast road is to link the east and west sides of the city, what will happen to the numbers of vehicles using the tunnel and to the taxpayers who are ultimately paying the compensation? They’ll pay more. The tunnel is on a national primary route, so it’s the NRA’s problem, whereas the new bypass is a regional or local route, which is in the hands of the local authorities.

 

 

 

=p-po-

The barge at Plassey: seeking experts on iron

On my old photographic website I had a page of photos of an abandoned barge at Plassey, on the River Shannon. I have now moved those photos to here and added some text.

I am hoping that someone expert in old iron barges might be able to make a guess at the age, and perhaps even the origin, of the barge. I will, in the meantime, be trying to pin down the date of its abandonment.

 

User surveys

Last Saturday, I had just checked that the nineteen members of the Inland Waterways Protection Society, and accompanying walkers from O’Briensbridge Community Group, IWAI Lough Derg Branch and elsewhere, had successfully crossed the Shannon at Plassey, using the University of Limerick’s road-bridge instead of the Black Bridge, which is still closed after last year’s floods.

I was walking back to my car, so that I could drive to meet the group at Gillogue and ensure that they were getting their sandwiches at the Lame Duck, when I was accosted by a woman in a car. It was pouring rain and my dogs were getting impatient, but I listened politely while she asked if I would participate in a survey. “For whom?” I asked. “For Waterways Ireland,” she said. So I thought I’d better play along.

The survey was conducted as she sat in her car, dry, but obstructing the traffic, while I stood outside in the rain, keeping an anxious eye on the dogs. I was not inclined to prolong the time spent answering questions.

Now, I was told recently (after submitting an FOI request) that the towing-path and bridge at Plassey were leased by the Department of Finance to Limerick County Council, so it’s not entirely clear what Waterways Ireland has to do with the current management of that stretch or why it wanted user views. Did the interviewer choose that stretch as a bit of Limerick in which she could see water while staying in her car?

I was asked what I thought of the facilities “toilets and so forth”, and pointed out that there weren’t any. I struggled to convey the fact that, although I was walking before I was accosted, I disliked the activity intensely (especially in the rain) and that, although I visit Plassey several times a year, it is because I am interested in industrial archaeology, not because I want exercise. And there didn’t seem to be a way of conveying that I had organised for about twenty-five other people to walk the towing-path, but that I wasn’t myself participating.

Then I was asked if I had heard of Waterways Ireland and if I knew what they did ….

The 2004 survey is available from WI’s website here. But I wonder whether WI commissioned any surveys between 2004 and 2010 and, if so, where they are to be found.