The Kildare Nationalist tells us that folk in Athy intend to build replicas of a cot formerly owned by Cassidy’s of Monasterevin.
They say that
The whiskey and beer was transported to Dublin on canal boats and the Barrow Cot Boat would have been used to keep the river and canal clear for the bigger boats.
I don’t understand that. First, the bigger boats wouldn’t have needed to enter the river en route from the distillery to Dublin. Second, keeping the canal clear was the job of the Grand Canal Company, not of carriers or traders on the canal. I would be grateful for more information about this.
Cassidy’s actually operated until around 1921, early twentieth rather than early nineteenth century. Perhaps the Edgar Holmes who owns the cot is related to the Samual Edgar Holmes of the engineering firm said to have taken over the premises in 1934.
My understanding was that the barrow cott was predominantly a fishing boat, used for snap netting of salmon etc. I would be interested in getting in touch with this group, i have aided in producing drawings for records and construction of a couple of similar cotts in Graignamanagh.
I don’t know whether salmon made it that far up the Barrow. But there is the other type of cot, the inland (lake or river) boat, quite different from the slim cots of the estuaries, so the general use of the word is not confined to estuaries.
I’ll see if I have any contact details for the group and send them on to you.
I’m no expert on salmon but i was always under the impression that they went right up towards the source to spawn.
I have just talked to the group myself, i have sent them on a selection of drawings and photos of the type of cott used in Graignamanagh. I have very limited knowledge of the boats used in other areas.
The Barrow cot was used for rod fishing, salmon etc,etc whitch were in abundance up the full lenght of the river. I am aware the Graigue cot carried goods up from St Mullins because it had a wide beam.
Tommy. I wonder, have you any material on the barrow cot? they are all gon into history, and i would love to get them back on the river.
I have very little information other than the drawings i have reproduced from the cotts i have came across. Any other information i have was generally got from long conversations over pints with some of the few remaining people with knowledge of how cotts were used etc! not the most accurate of sources!
Its possible that graiguenamanagh library or the local historical society might have some info on them.
As i understand it the barrow cott was predominately used for fishing, usually working in pairs, 2 men per boat. They fished with a snap net rather than a rod. I have heard stories of cotts returning from a nights fishing with so much fish in them that the boats were on the verge of sinking. I suspect these were very rare occasions however. It would certainly of been a difficult way to make a living. The nore cot was a smaller cott (17 foot compared to the 21 foot barrow cott) and they were generally a one man crew. Quite an art, they would need to steer and propel the boat with one hand while holding the net with the other. A skill long lost i fear. The salmon in the river are few and far between these days, much like the cotts than once fished them.
Although i’m sure the boats were used for transporting goods from time to time they would of been somewhat limited. After the introduction of the canals the horse drawn barges would of been able to draw 50 times more for the same crew. The cotts used on the lower sections of the barrow are a heavier construction alright, with a much wider beam, i was lucky enough to see a reproduction of one a few years back
Cott racing was also a massive event in the summer months, The graiguenamanagh regatta would of drawn massive crowds from the old photos i have seen. The Barrow, Nore and Suir Championship is still held in graig each year, back in the day it would attract teams from far and wide. Quite the commitment from the nore and suir lads as they would of fist had to paddle to graig for the race. There are programs on display i the boat house dating back to the late 1800’s. The remains of one of the last of the racing cotts ( the green diver ) is also in the boat house. It will never return to the water unfortunately buts its measurements have been recorded. There are some excellent examples of cotts which were produced with the help of the Kilkenny Leader partnership over the last 5 years. 2 in Graig ( Forestall Cott – lines taken from a boat owned by forstals at the ferry bridge in new ross). 2 in Thomastown, reproductions of one of the older racing cotts and 1 in pilltown, one of the larger beamed boats mentioned previously