The Lough Boora Feeder

The Grand Canal draws water from several sources.

The Morrell Feeder, fed by the River Morrell, enters between Devonshire Bridge and Lock 14. It is very smelly.

The Morrell feeder

The Morrell feeder

Water is pumped up from the River Liffey at the Leinster Aqueduct west of Sallins.

The Leinster Aqueduct

The Leinster Aqueduct

The Blackwood feeder, near Robertstown, was abandoned in 1952 but the Milltown feeder, to the summit level, is still in service.

There was another feeder west of Tullamore: the Lough Boora feeder, flowing through Turraun to join the canal west of Pollagh. According to Ruth Delany’s The Grand Canal of Ireland (David & Charles, Newton Abbot 1973), boats used the feeder to get close to the Turraun peat-moss litter factory. However, after it was taken over by the Turf Development Board in 1936, the peat slurry silted up the canal.

Current maps no longer show the factory and past maps don’t show the current configuration of land and water. In particular, they don’t show the change of use from turf extraction to parklands.

Lough Boora parklands 1

Lough Boora parklands 1

Lough Boora parklands 2

Lough Boora parklands 2

Lough Boora parklands 3

Lough Boora parklands 3

Still, I thought I could get there by driving west on from south of the bridge in Pollagh. That brought me to Turraun lagoon, so I was in the right area, but there was no way of telling whether any of the water-bodies had been part of the feeder. The only roadway that went towards the canal was marked as private property, so I couldn’t look for the junction of the feeder with the canal. Later, I thought of trying to drive the towpath from Pollagh, but that turned out to be a bad idea and I had to reverse rather a long way (which often happens). So all I can offer are some photos of Turraun, which may or may not have anything to do with the former peat-works and feeder canal. Some parts did look canally and there was some flow in the general direction of the canal, which lay to the north.

Turraun lagoon 1

Turraun lagoon 1

Turraun lagoon 2

Turraun lagoon 2

Looking north 1

Looking north and a trifle east 1

Eeyore's gloomy place?

Eeyore’s gloomy place?

Bridge over connecting channel

Bridge over connecting channel between lagoons

This seems to be flowing north and east towards the canal

This seems to be flowing north and east towards the canal

Zooming in

Zooming in

A bit further upstream

A bit further upstream

Further up again

Further up again

The canal-like object is skirting the lagoons, not connected to them

The canal-like object is skirting the lagoons, not connected to them

Slightly further up, a junction

Slightly further up, a junction

The western lagoon, not connected to the canal-like object

The western lagoon, not connected to the canal-like object

I returned to Pollagh, whose inhabitants didn’t seem any more keen on driving along the canal banks than I was.

Pollagh poster

Pollagh poster

So that was rather an unsuccessful expedition. Looking at maps afterwards, I get the impression that the feeder has largely disappeared, with no sign of a junction with the canal. I suspect that the canal-like object I was looking at was the Boora River, which itself seems to have changed its course somewhat, and that the feeder was to the north of the road by which I reached Turraun Lagoon.

If you want to explore this for yourself, use the Ordnance Survey shop map to see the current layout: click on Buy Now (you don’t have to buy anything), Search for Pullough in Offaly and navigate from there to 617107, 723656, which is the junction with the private road to the canal on the right. The feeder would have met the canal somewhere around 616841, 723787; I went to the lagoon at 617168, 722736.

I found it difficult to get the Griffiths map to get me to Turraun. I suggest finding the Grand Canal and then working west from Pollagh/Pullough until you see “Canal supply” coming in from the south side.

If anyone has a photo of the feeder, or its ghost, joining the canal, and would be willing to allow me to add it to this page, do please let me know.

6 responses to “The Lough Boora Feeder

  1. Eunice Jeffers

    Hi Brian, When we were researching 4B’s history last summer we met up with her original skippers son in Pollagh. He himself worked in Turraun. We took a walk out that way and found where the cut was from the main line of the canal to the peat works. Unfortunately we didn’t have the camera with us. If you want more info please feel free to give me a shout. Eunice

  2. Eunice: great; I’ll email you direct.

    bjg

  3. Hi
    I was just looking at the OSI maps and if you click on the “6” historic” it shows the “canal supply” which enters the canal at 616875 723935
    http://maps.osi.ie/publicviewer/#V1,616916,723840,7,7

    The feeder seems to come from up around Gorteen Bridge 616516 720322 and crosses an “aqueduct” at 616925 721325 and on the modern map it seems to now come to a dead end around Lea More at 617476 722293
    Hope this is some use to you.

    Cheers
    John

  4. Thanks very much for tracing that, John. It’s quite long! I have some more photos of the canal end to add to this page when I get a chance …. bjg

  5. hI just seen this article and being the owner of the private road could show you the feeder u were looking for. Although alot of it has dissappeared there is still traces of it there that may be of interest. please feel free to contact me on email above.

  6. Thanks great; thanks very much. I’ll email you direct. bjg

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