The other day I posted an account of the Grand Canal Company’s inspection launch, built at its own docks in James’s Street Harbour in 1909. I said
I had not been aware of the existence of a GCC inspection launch later than the gondola of 1795. I would be glad of information from anyone who knows more about it: please leave a Comment below if you can help.
Then I remembered that, back in January, Alan Lindley had kindly permitted me to post this photograph, taken at Lowtown in 1911 or 1912.
Alan identified the man on the left of the group — with cap, waistcoat and watch-chain, and with a dog standing in front of him — as the lock keeper, Murtagh Murphy, the great-grandfather of the present incumbent, James (Jimmy) Conroy.
I said at the time that, although the boat had been described as a passenger flyboat, that seemed unlikely, and that the boat looked much more like a pleasure vessel than a working boat. I added:
If the Grand Canal Company had an inspection launch, this might be it, but I have found nothing to indicate that it did. The boat does, though, seem to have been designed for canal travel: it seems (from the twenty feet or so we can see) to have straight sides and to be well equipped with fenders. It might therefore have been designed to travel on the canals (as well as on other waters).
Well, now we know that the Grand Canal Company did have an inspection launch, built in 1909, not long before this photo was taken. Could this be it?