On the Beach

I am reminded of the 1957 novel [and there was also a film].

Of course the author was a hero of the Irish republican struggle: he was in the GPO in 1916.

While you’ve nothing else to do …

I came across a quiz I compiled in 2004 for the Athy Water Festival. Q6 no longer applies and I can’t guarantee that all of the others are still true, but here is it anyway.

  1. What is the taste of the town where a doleful damsel laments her armless boneless chickenless egg?
  2. What armless legless Barrow man did not have to be put out with a bowl to beg but was an enlightened landlord, “a Member of Parliament, Lord Lieutenant of the County Carlow, Member of the Privy Council of Ireland, magistrate, world traveller, yachtsman, sometime dispatch rider in the East India service, crack shot, keen fisherman” and  “a terror with the ladies”?
  3. What are the names of the aqueducts immediately above and below Vicarstown?
  4. What is the only Barrow lock with no corresponding weir?
  5. Where did the now-derelict canal branch from Monasterevan go to?
  6. What beer is named after a Barrow saint? [Carlow Brewing Company used to have a red ale named St Moling’s]
  7. How many bollards are there on each side of Lock 28 on the Barrow Line? [Maybe the number has changed since 2004]
  8. What is the name of the double lock on the Barrow?
  9. “A swan goes by head low with many apologies
    Fantastic light looks through the eyes of bridges
    And look! a barge comes bringing from Athy
    And other far-flung towns mythologies.” Said who?
  10. What two rivers enter the Barrow between Maganey and Bestfield Locks?

Tie-breaker: (a) Who composed “Five Locks on the Barrow”? (b) What are the five locks?

Leave your answers in the Comments below (if you like).

While you’ve nothing else to do …

Here is the latest in the Canal & River Trust’s series of soundscapes, this one based at Glasson. No, not Glasson near Lough Ree: this Glasson is at the seaward end of a branch of the Lancaster Canal. More info here.

And if that’s not enough, here’s a video visit to the Foxton Locks while they’re drained for repairs.

h/t (a) our HNC correspondent and (b) Jonathan Calder.

Quick! Sign up now!

Unable to get to choir practice? Join the Sofa Singers.

Thon Brexit Loons

It has been a consistent feature of Brexit that its principal cheerleaders appear to have only a dim understanding of what it might realistically entail, and moreover that they appear to assume that firm commitments made in consequence on negotiation with the EU can be lightly cast aside when they are seen to unsettle the preferred narrative of a Brexit crafted on British terms.

Interesting article on the NI Protocol here on the EU Law Analysis blog.

New header photo March 2020

Gandalows on the Cashen, which enters the sea south of Ballybunion in Co Kerry. The photo was taken from the bridge on the R551 in 2015.

Walking on water

Marine Pedestrianism

Mr Kent, whose surprising exploits have attracted so much attention in Liverpool and other places where he has appeared before the public, arrived here on Sunday evening by the Steam Packet Waterloo.

On the packet reaching Ringsend, he launched and mounted his marine velocipede, and proceeded before the packet up to Sir John Rogerson’s-quay, where he was loudly cheered by the spectators on shore.

We understand it is his intention to exhibit his apparatus here, should he meet with public encouragement previously to his departure for London.

Saunders’s News-Letter 24 July 1821

Walking on water

On Friday a prodigious crowd, upwards of 30000 people, assembled on the banks of the Clyde, to witness the performance of Mt Keat [sic], who had announced his intention of riding on his aquatic velocipede, from Rutherglen-bridge to the Wooden-bridge. He started precisely at a quarter before three o’clock, and reached the Wooden-bridge at a quarter past three. He amused himself with loading and discharging a fowling-piece as he sailed along. Several porters were stationed at the different entrances of the Green with subscription-boxes. The machine consists of three oval tin cases united by iron rods to support a sort of saddle, upon which the artist sits, at such a height as is suitable for using his feet to give the requisite impulse. The weight of the whole does not exceed 14 lbs.

Salisbury and Winchester Journal 21 May 1821

Here’s a later version.

Shannon water levels

Just a reminder about the ESB’s useful page of hydrometric information here.

As of yesterday morning (23 February 2020), the discharge through Parteen Villa Weir was 659 cubic metres per second [cumec]. That’s the total discharge from the Shannon, covering both what goes through Ardnacrusha and what goes down the original course of the river [which in summer gets 10 cumec].

Of that 659, Ardnacrusha was getting 381 cumec, which means that 278 was going down the river’s original course.

The ESB’s Shannon forecast says

It is expected that a discharge ranging between 315 [cumec] and 370 [cumec] will be necessary at Parteen Weir over the next 5 days based on current weather forecast.

Those figures are well below the current combined discharge of 659 and more rain is expected, so I presume that the forecast refers to discharge down the original course of the river, which is to increase by between 13% and 33%. Water levels below Parteen Villa Weir are already high, though not at 2009 levels, so an investment in wellies might be advisable.

Shannon floods 2009 here.

Here’s an old page of mine about why the Shannon floods. I’ve removed some links that no longer work. The link to the ESB’s infographic does still work.

Shinners to the right of them …

… Shinners to the left of them. The local resident Shinners, having done well in a recent election, may end up forming part of a government while, across the water, the British Shinners (formerly known as the Conservative Party) are well ensconced and about to start dispensing benefits to their supporters.

No, no, not those ex-Labour idiots who voted for them: how much did any of those voters contribute to party funds? Very little, I imagine, so they can’t expect to be rewarded with anything other than the drippings from the pan.

One of the things uniting Irish and British Shinners is a devotion to useless vanity projects, usually costing the public purse a fortune in return for little or no benefit. The Irish Shinners have been pushing the Clones Sheugh for years and they also support the Narrow Water Bridge, which would be built in the middle of nowhere and be far less useful than the Newry Bypass. The British Shinners, however, have an even more idiotic bridge in mind, to be built across a munitions dump.

Her Majesty’s Chief Nitwit, the appalling Johnson, has a string of idiotic proposals behind him, some of which even got built. And now he’s at it again, proposing both a railway line and a bridge to distract attention from his cluelessness, ignorance and stupidity. But there is probably more to it than that, as the admirable Richard Murphy points out today. The bridge (and, I suggest, the railway) will benefit the modern courtiers who finance such projects.

 

Dublin’s foreign trade 1837

Here’s an interesting extract from Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary of 1837. It’s about the foreign trade of the port of Dublin.

At the time, trade was classified as either coasting or foreign: since the conclusion of the free trade area between Ireland and Britain in 1825, trade between Ireland and Britain was classed as coasting. As a result, no records were kept of that trade except for corn (from Ireland to Britain) and coals (the other way). To quote Tables of the Revenue [Tables of the Revenue, Population, Commerce, &c of The United Kingdom and its dependencies Part III from 1820 to 1833, both inclusive. Compiled from official returns; presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of His Majesty HMSO, London 1834 ]:

No general Account of the Trade between Ireland and Great Britain can be rendered for the period subsequent to 1825, the commercial intercourse between the two Countries having, from the termination of that year, been assimilated by law to a coasting traffic.

In this extract, Lewis is therefore talking about Dublin’s trade with places outside the United Kingdom. He starts with northern Europe, then moves on to the West Indies and North America, then China and South America, finishing in the Mediterranean. The indented italicised paragraphs are Lewis; the others are comments.

Northern Europe

There is very little foreign export from Dublin. The trade with the Baltic in timber, staves, &c, is greatly diminished by the high rate of duty imposed and the low rate at which Canada timber is admitted. From St. Petersburgh, Riga, Archangel, &c, there is a considerable import of tallow, hemp, and tar, with some linseed, bristles, &c.;

The Baltic had been Britain’s main source of timber and other supplies for shipping (including hemp and tar) but, during the Napoleonic Wars, timber from North America had taken over.

from Spain and Portugal the chief import is wine, with some corkwood, raisins, barilla, and bark; from France the imports are wine in wood and bottle, claret, champagne, &c, also cork-wood, prunes, dried fruits, and some brandy;

Wine, brandy and gin:

from the Netherlands the imports are bark and flax ; from Holland, tobacco pipes, bark, cloves, and flax-seed, and small quantities of gin, Burgundy pitch, Rhenish wines, madder, &c.

So far many of the imports seem to be either inputs to industrial processes (eg barilla, madder) and exotic food and drink for the more affluent consumers.

West Indies

With the West Indies the trade is chiefly in sugar from Jamaica, Demerara, and Trinidad, estates in the last-named island being owned in Dublin.

For more on Irish slave-owners, insert “Ireland” in the “Country” field of the “Address Details” section here.

Encouraging people to drink whiskey:

Coffee is imported in small quantities and also rum, but very little foreign spirits are consumed in Ireland, in consequence of the low price and encouragement given to the use of whiskey.

The Irish provision trade, which supplied (inter alia) the British navy and slave plantations, had been in decline for many years, with the livestock trade increasing to compensate.

Beef and pork in casks, and soap and candles in boxes, were formerly exported to the West Indies in large quantities, but the trade is now nearly lost in consequence of permission being given to the colonists to import these articles from Hamburgh, Bremen, &c, where they can be purchased at lower prices than in Ireland.

The West Indies could also buy from America (see below) and could buy preserved cod as an alternative to beef.

North America

The linen trade had become concentrated on Belfast; Dublin had lost its role in handling the product when Belfast opened its own Linen Hall in 1783.

To the United States of America formerly there was a very large export of linen, principally to New York, and flax-seed, staves, turpentine, clover-seed, &c, were brought back; but the bounty on the export of linen having been withdrawn, the trade between the United States and Dublin has greatly diminished. The export of linen and import of flax-seed is now chiefly confined to Belfast and other northern ports.

The growing of tobacco in Ireland had been banned in 1832.

The American tobacco which is either sold or consumed in Dublin is brought from Liverpool.

The import of American tobacco via Liverpool was part of a much wider trend. Liverpool was simply so much busier a port than any of its Irish counterparts; it dominated the Atlantic trade (to the chagrin of Bristol). It made sense to send cargoes in large vessels from the Americas to Liverpool; from there they could be distributed quickly, especially to Dublin, to which there were daily steam services. This changed the way Dublin merchants worked: instead of getting a few shiploads from the Americas per year, they could now import small quantities as required, once a week if they liked. That reduced the amount of capital tied up in stock and may have made it available for other investments.

UK port traffic 1833–1836 (derived from Tables of the Revenue 1838)

The timber trade was, in effect, the emigrant trade: emigrants provided a useful back cargo for ships that would otherwise return almost empty to the Americas.

With British America the trade is very great in timber, as a return cargo of vessels sailing thither from Dublin with emigrants.

An inland waterway connection:

With Newfoundland there is no direct trade; the cod and seal oil consumed are imported from Liverpool or brought by canal from Waterford, which has a direct trade with Newfoundland; dried codfish and ling being much used in the southern counties, but not in the northern or midland.

China

More exotica:

With China there are three vessels owned in Dublin, besides others engaged in the tea trade; the number of chests directly imported is, therefore, considerable.

South America

As well as timber, one of the things that industrialising countries were running out of was hides for leather. Argentina and Uruguay both had extensive exports; they were also able to export salted beef to the Americas and the Caribbean.

With South America there is no direct trade, the Dublin tanners being abundantly supplied with native hides, and any foreign hides required being brought from Liverpool, whence also is imported the cotton wool consumed in the Dublin factories.

Mediterranean

And finally …

With Turkey the trade is confined to the importation from Smyrna of valonia, figs, raisins, and small quantities of other articles: madder-roots and emery-stone being always transhipped for Liverpool.

With Leghorn there is a considerable trade for cork-tree bark, and small quantities of hemp in bales, oil, marble, &c, are also imported, but very little communication is kept up with Trieste or other Italian ports.

With Sicily the trade is in shumac and brimstone ; the latter article in considerable quantities for the consumption of vitriol and other chymical works.


Source: Samuel Lewis A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, comprising the several counties, cities, boroughs, corporate, market, and post towns, parishes, and villages, with historical and statistical descriptions; embellished with engravings of the arms of the cities, bishopricks, corporate towns, and boroughs; and of the seals of the several municipal corporations: with an Appendix, describing the electoral boundaries of the several boroughs, as defined by the Act of the 2d and 3d of William IV S Lewis & Co, London 1837