New header pic January 2020

The lower end of the Abbey River in Limerick

The Box not in the Docks

The proposed Grand Canal Museum.

 

h/t Tyler Cowen

The Limerick Navigation: a talk

Killaloe–Ballina Local History Society, 15 January 2020, Lakeside Hotel, 7.30pm (more info).

Cotts on the Broad Lough

There is very little traffic on this fine lake [Lower Lough Erne]; the only boats upon it, called cotts, are, like our coal-barges on the Thames, square at each end, flat-bottomed, drawing little water, and rigged with one large gaff-sail; and seldom exceed the burden of ten or twelve tons.

The natives who manage them are miserable sailors, who, with the least breeze that blows, may be seen skulking under the lee of one of the islands. Their chief employment is carrying turf from one of the bogs near the shores of the lake to Enniskillen, stones and sand for building, and slates and coal from Beleek, which have been imported at Ballyshannon.

John Barrow A Tour round Ireland, through the sea-coast counties, in the autumn of 1835 John Murray, London 1836

 

What Dublin newspapers wrote about during the Famine

As recorded in newspapers that were published in Dublin [Freeman’s Journal, Dublin Evening Mail] between 1 January 1845 and 31 December 1850 and that are available through the British Newspaper Archive.

Count including ads and family notices

Count excluding ads and family notices

Those charts are a few years old; I must redo them. I suspect that the two terms I’ve used, “famine” and “potato”, don’t capture the full extent of famine reporting: I should perhaps add other terms (eg “distress”).

Kilglass

The Marquis of Westmeath presented a Petition, from certain landholders of the county of Tipperary and another from the inhabitants of Navan, in the county of Meath, against the Grand Jury Laws of Ireland, and praying for their repeal. He trusted, their Lordships would permit him to make a few observations on the matter of these petitions, and the subject to which they related. […]

He had to call their Lordships’ particular attention to some anecdotes, which he could relate respecting the manner in which this system worked, odious as it was, and deservedly so to the people of Ireland. He would begin with one occurring in the county of Roscommon — with which he was connected. In the year 1817, a presentment was made with his knowledge from the parish of Kilglass, for a road to connect it with the river Shannon, which washes its shores.

The population of that parish was immense, and it contained upwards of 5,000 Irish acres. It had no road whereupon any farmer could convey a loaded cart; and the case then was, as it now remains, that, though in a county groaning under crops of oats, the produce was brought out piecemeal, to be consigned to the river Shannon as it might; and, although within twelve miles of the great market of Longford, no loaded conveyance could travel into or out of it, nor could then, or can now, any farmer transport manure, or any other load, in that county, except upon horses’ backs.

Their Lordships would learn, with astonishment, that this county was all heavily taxed by the Grand Jury, to the amount of from 2s[hillings] to 3s annually per acre; concurrently, indeed, with those parts of the county where the Gentlemen who compose the Grand Jury disport themselves and reside; but, while one part of the county had not a single passable carriage road, its wealth was extracted to form easy communications and gravel-walks in another part of the county with which it had neither sympathy nor interest. Was it to be supposed that such a system could be endured? He himself, in 1817, had been examined before that Grand Jury, as to the oppressed and neglected state of this part of the county; and from that hour to this, it had remained precisely in the same state. […]

Irish Grand Jury Presentments in
House of Lords Debate 5 July 1831

Ding dong the “baron” is dead

Obituary here

The sounds of Pontcysyllte

The latest soundscape from the Canal & River Trust features the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct with, on one side, the canal basin at Trevor and, on the other, Whitehouses Tunnel. Take five and a half minutes off to listen.

The site itself is well worth a visit, even if you just walk across the aqueduct and back. It’s off the A5, Telford’s road: after coming from Ireland by ferry, you could take that road — older, slower but more scenic — from Holyhead instead of the A55 coastal route.

h/t our Yorkshire correspondent

Header photo 20191202

Looking towards Clondra Lock.

Was it with the clout of a loy?

He had attended at the assizes as a grand juror, and an indictment was preferred against a man for murder, who was placed in the dock charged with that offence, and a witness was called to prove the case for the prosecution. On his examination, however, it was discovered that he was no other than the murdered man himself. There was the man indicted for murder, and arraigned on the indictment, and the first witness called was the man whom he was accused of having murdered.

On finding that this indictment could not be sustained in consequence of this somewhat remarkable mistake, one of the jury applied to know whether it was a case in which they could find a bill for manslaughter. In fact it turned out, that a severe assault only, had been committed, and yet this was a case, in which a return might have been made, both of the charge of murder and manslaughter, although the man supposed to be murdered was actually living.

Thomas Spring Rice MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, House of Commons, 15 April 1839