Mills on the Barrow

Mill sites — Ireland

The Directors of the Barrow Navigation Company will receive Proposals for the several unoccupied Falls on their line of Navigation. These falls are from five to ten feet, with a constant and powerful supply of water; and, from some of the large Establishments now on the line of Navigation, a fair estimate may be formed of their value.

The River Barrow joins the Grand Canal at Athy, 32 miles from Dublin, from whence there is a navigation to Dublin capable of carrying Boats of 50 tons burden, and the River Barrow is navigable from Athy to the Sea-ports of Ross and Waterford, between which places there is a constant and extensive communication for 20 miles of its length.

The River Barrow is not above 10 miles of its length from any part of the extensive Collieries, known by the name of the Kilkenny Collieries, and only three miles from some parts of them, and the country intersected with good Roads. There are several Towns situated on the River adjoining the Falls, `with a superabundant well-disposed Population, only wanting employment. The country is well inhabited, the soil fertile, the climate mild, the River not being frozen over once in ten years.

Any further particulars may be learned by application to the Company’s Acting Secretary, E S Hunt; and Messrs Latouche, Dublin, if by letter, post paid.

Dublin Mercantile Advertiser, and Weekly Price Current 13 June 1825

Guards by boat

The first battalion Grenadier Guards, upwards of 700 strong, commanded by Lieut-Col Barclay, arrived here on Thursday last, from Dublin, and have since proceeded by canal, in Messrs Pickford’s fly-boats, to London.

Gore’s Liverpool General Advertiser
14 August 1823

New header pic 1 June 2020

Granny, on the Suir above Waterford, at dusk

New header pic 16 May 2020

Early steamer in Dublin 1820s

Barges …

… in Bangladesh. And passenger boats too.

Quakers, privateers and Post Office packets

During the French Revolutionary/Napoleonic wars, several of the British Post Office’s packet boats were seized by French privateers. As a result, the Post Office decided that the packet boats should be armed. The packet boats were privately owned and contracted to the Post Office,

Arthur Hamilton Norway takes up the story as it applies to the packet boats between Britain and Ireland.

The Waterford packets

It had not been customary in former wars to arm the Holyhead and Dublin boats, but a few light guns were now allowed to them, as well as to those from Port Patrick to Donaghadee. The Packets running between Milford Haven and Waterford were somewhat more exposed to the attacks of Privateers, which might be expected to hang about the entrance to St George’s Channel in the hope of intercepting the shipping out of Bristol, but here a curious difficulty was raised by the proprietors, a body of merchants, nineteen in number.

All but six of these gentlemen were members of the Society of Friends, and, being sincerely convinced of the sinfulness of war, they put in a decided objection against the proposal to provide their vessels with implements of strife and destruction.

The Postmaster General proceeded to reason with these ardent theorists, and pointed out that as, by the existing rule, the Department was bound to pay the value of captured Packets it was but reasonable that it should be allowed, at its own cost, to protect them. The men of peace, touched by the financial argument, admitted this, but retorted that if only the Government would refrain from the wickedness of placing guns and cutlasses in the hands of their sailors, they, that is to say the thirteen Quaker proprietors, would waive all claim to compensation in the event of capture.

It was true, they admitted, that the six proprietors who were not Quakers were by no means ready to make this sacrifice, but the Government, they urged, might fairly be expected to risk the liability for six-nineteenths of the loss when a principle was at stake.

By this time, however, the Postmaster General had become tired of the discussion, and closed it with a brief intimation that if the Packets were not armed the contract would be withdrawn, and in view of this unsympathetic attitude the Quakers sold their shares and retired from the concern.

That the unwarlike attitude of the Quakers was by no means always accompanied by any want of natural courage was demonstrated not long after this period by a certain inhabitant of Falmouth, an old and greatly respected member of the Society of Friends. This gentleman held the appointment of surgeon to the Post-Office establishment, and was one day cruising on board a Packet when a French Privateer hove in sight. It was obvious that there was going to be a fight; and the commander, knowing his passenger’s principles, suggested that he had better go below. The doctor, a fine tall man, declined to budge from the deck; and the captain thereupon offered him a cutlass and pistol, observing that as he intended to remain in the way of danger, he might at least use weapons in self-defence.

But this suggestion also the doctor refused to entertain; and, standing quite unarmed on the quarter-deck, he remained an interested and placid spectator of the action. After a sharp cannonade, the French vessel hurled her boarders into the Packet. The doctor showed no sign of excitement as he saw the fierce St Malo men swarming up the sides, cutlass in hand; but when, a moment later, a swarthy giant came clambering up unperceived, at a point where there was no one to resist him, the doctor calmly stepped forward, threw his arms round the astonished Frenchman with a grip few men could have resisted, and saying, gently, “Friend, thee makes a mistake, this is not thy ship”, tossed him into the sea.

More information

For background, see here on PO packet boats, but note that the article gives undue attention to the Falmouth-based packets. The Dover-based service is covered here. One of the packet service scandals is covered here.

Source

Arthur H Norway History of the Post-Office Packet Service between the years 1793–1815 compiled from records, chiefly official Macmillan and Co, London 1895. Mr Norway, father of the novelist Nevil Shute, was in the GPO in Dublin in 1916

Killaloe eels

A new export from Ireland

The banks of the Shannon, says the Limerick Chronicle, are inexhaustible in providing sustenance, not only for the natives, but our constant customer, John Bull. Salmon has for some time been an article of profitable export to the English market; but what will the public think of that cheaper and more abundant dainty — eels?

There are 10 tons of this prolific fish now in tanks at Killaloe, awaiting a conveyance to London; and a vessel adapted for the trade will take on board from this port in the ensuing week 40 tons of eels for the London Market.

Ipswich Journal 26 October 1844

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.