This drawing of a steamer is from an 1831 book called Select Views of Lough Derg and the River Shannon by Paul Gauci. I haven’t seen the book myself, but this illustration is used in a couple of places, including Ruth Delany’s book The Shannon Navigation [The Lilliput Press Ltd, Dublin 2008]. Andrew Bowcock, in his article “Early iron ships on the River Shannon” in The Mariner’s Mirror Vol 92 No 3 August 2006, says of the steamer shown that
The funnel looks to be almost over the paddle shaft, which is artistic license.
But my question is not about the vessel but about the house in the background. If it is drawn without artistic licence, where is it?
It is a very large house, seven bays by three storeys, quite close to the water. Using the Historic 6″ Ordnance Survey map [~1840], I have followed the banks of the Shannon from Shannon Harbour down Lough Derg to Killaloe, then from Limerick down the estuary as far as Tarbert, across the estuary to Doonaha and back up on the Clare side to Limerick, then from Killaloe up the Clare and Galway shores back to Shannon Harbour. Anywhere I found a large house within what seemed the right distance of the shore, I looked it up in the Landed Estates Database and in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, with some supplementary googling.
I haven’t been able to find images of all the houses marked on the OSI map, but I found enough to show that houses of the size shown by Gauci were very rare. Within those few, I ruled out some (like Tervoe) because they didn’t seem to match Gauci’s drawing (although alterations could have accounted for that). I ended up with only one house that looked at all like Gauci’s, but the background may not match.
If you can identify the house, I would be glad if you could leave a Comment below.