I see from the blatts that Limerick [City & County] Council had a “metropolitan district meeting” recently to discuss how the Shannon might be used to “attract tourism and offer water activities”. I thought it did have such activities: I’m almost sure I’ve seen people in boats, people fishing and so on. But the councillors want something sexier and they intend to pester the unfortunate folk in Waterways Ireland about it.
One Paul Kelleher, described as “(AAA)”, wants an “an Oxford/Cambridge style boat race between UL and LIT” and, alas, “a water bus, with tours down as far as Foynes.”
Unfortunately, since the Lord Lieutenant enjoyed a trip from Limerick to Foynes via Kilrush in 1856, many of the villa residences, mansions and other gentlemen’s seats have become unoccupied and demonstrations of loyalty are unlikely to greet the municipal water bus. Of course any such vessel will be enormously expensive to run, will have a short season and only a few years of popularity and will lose a lot of money. If it were likely to be profitable, private enterprise would already be offering such a service; it isn’t, so a subsidy or some form of sponsorship would be required.
Perhaps Irish Water could sponsor it from its surplus income.
I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the concept of water tours. There are several private ventures elsewhere:
Dublin Bay: http://www.dublinbaycruises.com/
Lough Gill: http://www.roseofinnisfree.com/
and probably more
A water bus is not the same thing as a trip boat, though.
There are some trip boats (mostly for dolphin-watching) further down the Shannon estuary. But the upper end is pretty boring except for anoraks. bjg
The Lord Lieutenant was also in Limerick in May 1873 to open the new Graving Dock.. We believe that is one reason for the building of “Phoenix” as Spaight was the Chairman of the Harbour Commissioners and wanted a vessel for the entertainment cruise down the estuary. Alas, as usual the boat-yard let him down and Phoenix did not arrive ’till June 6th.! Probably not the last time she was late! They had to hire a vessel instead.
I see from Bill Irish’s book (to which you contributed much information) that *Phoenix” was the first steam-yacht built under Andrew Horn after his father John retired. Perhaps punctuality improved later …. bjg