The fear of Baal’s Bridge

In May 1895 the fear induced by the prospect of a passage under Baal’s Bridge, on the Abbey River in Limerick, as revealed in the commercial court in London before Mr Justice Mathew and reported by the Freeman’s Journal of 20 May 1895.

Arthur George Mumford of Colchester, Essex, was described as an agent, but was actually a marine engineer and manufacturer of steam engines. He owned a 25-ton steam yacht called Gipsy, which he decided to sell through Messrs Cox & King, the well-known yachting agents (their 1913 catalogue is here).

The buyer was Ambrose Hall, the man responsible for the statue of Patrick Sarsfield. A former mayor of Limerick, he was an alderman and a “house and land commission agent”; his address was given as Mignon House, Limerick, which I have not so far found.

Hall bought the boat for £500; it was to be delivered to him at Limerick. The original plan was to sail it around the coast of Ireland and up the Shannon estuary, but bad weather in late 1894 caused Cox & King to suggest taking it to Dublin and then down the Grand Canal and the Shannon to Limerick. Hall agreed; the boat left Dublin in January 1895. It reached Killaloe on 19 January and Limerick “a day or two afterwards”, where it was moored in the canal harbour.

25 Grand Canal Harbour Limerick March 2007 01_resize

Canal harbour, Limerick in March 2007

Hall refused to accept the boat in the canal, saying that it should have been delivered to Limerick dock, a short distance downstream. Mumford and Cox & King sued him and the National Bank.

Hall and Baal

Ordnance Survey ~1900

Hall, an alderman and a former mayor, who had lived at North Strand, presumably knew the river and its difficulties.

Baal's Bridge 20091128 1_resize

Baal’s Bridge looking upstream towards the canal harbour in the floods of 2009

Navigation arch at Mathew Bridge 20091122_resize

The navigation arch at Mathew Bridge looking downstream in the floods of 2009

It was contended by the defendant that to get the vessel from the canal into the estuary of the Shannon there was a considerable risk involved. The passage was only a few hundred yards, but it was stated it could only be effected at certain states of the tide when it would be possible to get through Ballsbridge.

The judge sensibly suggested that it should be possible to insure the boat for the journey; the plaintiffs agreed to deliver it; Hall agreed to accept delivery and to pay £15 for the cost of the caretaker who had been looking after the boat since 23 January; the case was settled.

Clearly Ambrose Hall didn’t know Pat Lysaght.

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2 responses to “The fear of Baal’s Bridge

  1. Could this be the Mignon House you mentioned:
    Mignon, Clancy’s Strand, Limerick:
    http://www.buildingsofireland.ie/niah/search.jsp?type=record&county=LI&regno=21512019

  2. It might very well be: thank you very much. The dates seem right. It’s a pity the NIAH doesn’t have more historical information. bjg

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