Querrin in February 4_resize

Looking east from Querrin Quay in February

I’ve mentioned Querrin here as the place where the Seol Sionna project recently built a reproduction Shannon Estuary turf-boat Sally O’Keeffe. Trea Heapes of PureCamping in Querrin very kindly sent me a photo.

Sally O'Keeffe under sail

Sally O’Keeffe under sail

A five-hand pilot canoe (currach) is now being built at Querrin.

The quay at Querrin

Fishing-boat at Querrin March 2011 4_resize

Fishing-boat at Querrin March 2011

Querrin, Kilrush and Poulnasherry (OSI ~1840)

Querrin, Kilrush and Poulnasherry (OSI ~1840)

Querrin 2_resize

The legend says “Quay in progress”

The quay at Querrin was built by the Commissioners for Improving the Navigation of the Shannon in 1842. In their Second Report, issued in 1841 and covering the year 1840, they said:

The proprietors of the following places on the Lower Shannon; viz

– Querin County Clare
– Kilrush Ditto
– Kildysart Ditto
– Kilteery County Limerick

having notified their desire to co-operate with the public as prescribed by the Act of Parliament, plans have been prepared for the several improvements, and tenders for contracts to execute the same have been called for by public advertisement.

The arrangement was that, if local interests (eg landowners) would agree to pay half the cost, the government would lend them the money to do so and would also pay the other half. In this case, according to the Commissioners’ Fifth and Sixth Reports, Messrs Borough of Querrin paid £580/2/6 principal in three instalments in 1843 and 1844, as well as £52/7/7 interest in four instalments.

Querrin House_resize

The gates of Querrin House

In evidence to the Select Committee on the Shannon Navigation Bill on 28 April 1885, Charles Frederick Green, Assistant Engineer to the Board of Works in Ireland, confirmed that the proprietors, W & R Borough, paid £580, with the other £580 being covered by a [government] grant.

The work

The Commissioners spent an initial £45/9/5¼ on Querrin in 1841, but most of the work was done in 1842. An average of 45 people per day worked for 236 days between April and December 1842, at a cost of £1101/0/8¾. In their Fourth Report, issued in 1843 to cover 1842, the Commissioners said

The work at this place is a landing-quay of 135 feet frontage, with 14 feet depth of water at high spring-tides; the work was commenced in the month of March, completed in the month of December, and then opened for the use of the public.

Absence of inscription at Querrin_resize


The front walls of this quay are built of limestone ashlar, with good rubble backing; it is calculated to afford great facilities for the shipment of agricultural produce and turf, and is likely to fulfil the object contemplated by its erection.

The work has been executed in a very satisfactory manner by the contractors, Messrs Sykes & Brookfield.

The average number of persons employed daily at Querrin, from the 1st April to the 31st December [236 days], was 45, being equivalent to 10508 days’ work.

They listed the materials used:

  • Ashlar 8475 cu ft
  • Rough 11934 cu ft
  • Rubble and puddle 13500 cu ft
  • Foreign timber 700 cu ft
  • Wrought iron 25 cwt 2 qrs
  • Filling and excavation 102465 cu ft
  • Paving and rails 200 sq yds
  • Metalling 1191 sq yds.
Querrin March 2010 slots in quay edge 12_resize


Construction of some other quays required lime, cement, gunpowder or fuse, but Querrin did not.


Low tide at Querrin 5_resize

Low tide at Querrin

The Commissioners’ Fourth Report says:

It being necessary to employ persons to take charge of this [Kildysart] pier, as well as those of Kilteery and Querrin, the rates of wharfage, &c as sanctioned by your Lordships, have been fixed at the lowest possible scale, all that is required being sufficient to pay the expenses of the individuals at each station, and a small sum to cover trifling repairs, which are not likely to be required for a long period, the work being built of ashlar of large dimensions, and well executed.

The rates of toll as at present fixed will hereafter be reduced, should the amount collected be greater than the necessary outlay requires.

Querrin 28_resize

The western end of the quay

Here are the amounts collected in quayage and wharfage (there was no cranage), as shown in the Commissioners’ Sixth through Eleventh Reports.

Year Quayage Wharfage Total
























After that, the Commissioners were wound up and their functions passed to the Board of Works, whose annual reports did not have room for such detail. However, the Board kept records, as Mr Green was able to testify in 1885 that, in total for the forty-two years to 31 December 1884,

… in the case of Querrin the receipts were £424, and the expenditure was £771.

The Board was trying, perhaps not surprisingly, to get the Shannon Estuary quays off its hands by passing them over to the local authorities.


Querrin 4_resize

Inside the protective sand bars

It seems unlikely that the quay at Querrin ever met the hopes of Messrs Borough. Its traffic levels were by no means the lowest of the Commissioners’ estuary quays (that honour was reserved for Cahircon, which the Commissioners referred to as Kildysart, with Kilteery second-last), but neither landings nor loadings were large —except for turf. I presume that it came from Poulnasherry Bay; perhaps it was transhipped at Querrin from smaller to larger craft.

Querrin landed_resize

Imports (tons)

Querrin loaded_resize

Exports (tons)

The Board of Works reports give no details but, again, Mr Green was informative in 1885. He said that, in 1884, 26 boats had used Querrin. They landed 4 tons of unspecified goods and loaded 618 tons of turf. No wonder that folk turned to handball instead.

Querrin handball

The handball alley

But the Commissioners were right to say that repairs

… are not likely to be required for a long period, the work being built of ashlar of large dimensions, and well executed.

Querrin pier cropped alas IMG_5032_resize

Still standing

Their quay still stands and it has the largest number of Shannon Commissioners SC marker stones that I have seen at any of their sites.

Canoe and SC at Querrin_resize

Canoe and SC marker

Querrin today

And yes, I do mean today. Thanks to Kevin Heapes of PureCamping [eco-camping and glamping in Co Clare, Ireland] for the news that there is now a webcam at Querrin, so you can keep an eye on the comings and goings (few in February, I imagine).

My OSI logo and permit number for website


6 responses to “Querrin

  1. Pingback: Foynes | Irish waterways history

  2. Pingback: Staffing the Shannon | Irish waterways history

  3. Great article! Thanks again. One update for you. The local community erected a webcam on the pier since this was published, see https://www.ipcamlive.com/5dd29ad39654f

  4. Great; thanks for that. bjg

  5. Siobhan Reynolds

    What does the stone engraved SC mean at Querrin pier?
    Siobhan Reynolds

  6. It means “Shannon Commissioners”. This was one of the piers built/improved by the Shannon Commissioners in the 1840s

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.