Horses on board

An ad from the Freeman’s Journal of 11 September 1876:

HIGHLY IMPORTANT TO CANAL BOAT OWNERS AND BUILDERS, Iron Founders, Dray, Float, and Scale Manufacturers, and Others.

SALE OF FOUR FIRST-CLASS IRON-BUILT CANAL BOATS, Planks, Poles, Covers, and Fittings; Three Floats, Four Spring Drays, Five Winnowing Machines, Sixteen Beams and Scales, Ouncels, &c; Harness, Weights, Empties, &c, &c.

SUBSCRIBER has been favoured with instruction from Nicholas Butler, Esq, who has retired from the Royal Canal carrying trade,

On Tuesday, 26th September, 1876,
At the Canal Harbour and Stores, Broadstone,

His four superior well-known canal boats, built to order by Barrington, Ringsend, and lately trading between Dublin and Longford and Mullingar &c.


No 113
No 114
No 115
No 116
  All iron built, of the very best materials, and carrying over fifty tons each, on a very light draught of water, lately thoroughly overhauled and refitted at very considerable expense, with stabling on board each boat for two horses, men’s cabin with bunks, caboose, &c

The planking, poles, boat covers, nearly new; and four double sets harness and tackling;
A patent Avery weighing machine, up to 30 cwt;
Ten large and small ouncels,
Very large sized beam, chains, and bohorns [what are they?],
Eight smaller sized ditto,
Hopper head and meal scales,
A large quantity metal weights,
Five winnowing machines and sieves,
Ten corn or sack trucks,
Four very superior spring corn drays, but little used and as good as new, built by Clarke, King-street;
Float by Fitzsimons, two ditto, one almost new,
Set float harness,
[Old wheels, tyres, scrap iron, &c;
Some damaged Portland cement, corn bin, upright and other office desks, stools, and gas lights;
Empty barrels, cases, crates, hampers, bottles,
Jars, tins, &c;
A quantity timber in plank and scantling,
Grinding stone,
Pair panelled doors, corn ladders,
&c, &c.

Purchasers to pay Auctioneer’s Commission.

Sale to commence at One o’clock with the four canal boats, which can be examined by intending purchasers, as they now lie in the Royal Canal Harbour, Broadstone.


To the best of my recollection, I have seen no other evidence that horses towing Irish canal-boats were stabled on board the boats. In the twentieth century the Leech family does not appear to have needed onboard stabling. I wonder whether Nicholas Butler was concerned that his horses might be stolen — or might stray on to the adjoining MGWR railway line.


2 responses to “Horses on board

  1. Jim Leech did not need on board stabling as he could stable his horses at Charleville Mall. Where they were stabled and fed, both horse and man.

  2. Onboard stabling was very unusual in Ireland and Britain (and, as far as I know, elsewhere) and I would love to know why it was used in this instance. bjg

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