The Lombardstown to Mallow Canal

In appreciation of Longueville House Hotel’s kindness in making the lock visible, here’s a link for them. Incidentally, it’s foodie heaven: highly recommended, as are their Eden apple brandy and their cider.

Sign at the lock to Longueville House Hotel ...

Sign at the lock to Longueville House Hotel …

... and here's the turning to the hotel

… and here’s the turning to the hotel

I don't know what this is

At Eel Weir Cross
(see comment by donieos below)

The river is very close to the south side of the road here

The river is very close to the south side of the road here

Another entrance ...

Another entrance …

... and another hint of water

… and another hint of water

Looking east

Looking east

Yet another entrance ...

Yet another entrance …

... yet another hint of water

… yet another hint of water

Another structure

Another structure

Water flows through it

Water flows through it

I’ve lost the line of the canal at this stage, and I’d be glad to hear from anyone who knows where it’s gone.

The last entrance I'll show

The last entrance I’ll show

Stone wall

Stone wall. I was told that the end of the canal was near that petrol station, on the north side of the road, but others say it’s a bit further on, near the racecourse (which is to the south of the road).

Interesting building south of road and river

Dromineen Castle south of road and river
(see comment by donieos below)

There’s a small park where the road has been straightened, and there are several interesting pieces of stone in it. I wondered where the stone came from, but Richard Norton (see below) says that this was where the road was straightened, and that the canal did not go that far, so I have deleted the photos. It’s a nice place to stop, though.

37 responses to “The Lombardstown to Mallow Canal

  1. Very interesting.I’ve lived in Lombardstown nearly 40 years and never knew any history of the canal.

  2. Thanks, Brendan. I hope there will still be some of it left in forty years from now!


  3. i know where the canal enters mallow town. email me or ph 086 3629199.

    brendan glynn
    navigation rd

  4. This Canal is marked on both Ordnance Survey 6″ (1837-1842) Maps and 25″ (1888-1913) as “Old Canal” with the 25″ showing it in parts as swamp or silted up , from the 6″ it appears that the Canal finished short of Mallow with a small drainage spur running into the Blackwater, it is possable this was to be a location for a lock .,553122,598057,6,7

  5. Most interesting article. There’s a road bridge over the Allow, crossing the main Mallow-Killarney road, which must have been constructed for canal traffic, as there are date stones facing towards the river (north and south) which must have been put there to be read by boat traffic.

  6. By the way, you might be interested to know that I’m finalizing work on a book ‘The Blackwater, discovering the Irish Rhine from the Kerry mountains to the sea at Youghal’. It will be published in September/ October 2011 and will be richly illustrated with photographs from the river, plus text about people and historical events associated with it. Limited edition hardbacks (175 only) may be ordered in advance of publication.

  7. having had some good times fishing the blackwater , in Kanturk area i am looking forward to reading your book when it comes out.

  8. Pingback: Local History and Culture | Blackwater Valley Tourism

  9. Dear Brendan,
    Thank-you so much for sharing your discoveries.
    I much appreciate knowing about the link by canal between Longueville House and Waterloo House.
    My Great great grandmother Dorothea lived in Waterloo House before her marriage and consequent migration to New Zealand.

  10. Thank you for commenting. bjg

  11. there is a trace, I beleive , of the canal at the front of the Garden Centre , near to the Racecourse and East of it. In times of flood this overflows across the road and I believe incates the point at which the canal crosses to the other side of the road to join the river. The road I think postdates the canal and thus there would be no bridge in evidence here.

  12. Thanks, Richard: that’s very interesting. Are you thinking of somewhere around here? That link should bring you to what I think is the garden centre on the OSI map. There is an interesting curve in the line of trees shown on the Ortho 2005 map, and it becomes more interesting if you switch to the Historic 6″ map (coloured or B&W). Of course the map is much later than the canal so it doesn’t tell us anything about what roads might have been there when the canal was built, and I’m afraid I have no information on the matter. But it certainly looks as if you’re right: thanks again. bjg

  13. I will go out tommorrow and take a couple of photos for you if the weather is OK. The “wet spot” has been landscaped somewhat by the garden Centre, but when firsat I knew it looked much more canal-like. I have always thought that the line of trees marching off across the fields would be the line of the canal but have never investigated. Id better take my wellies, floods locally recently!

  14. Great; many thanks. High water levels along the Shannon too. bjg

  15. just to add, at the western end, the canal turned a pronounced right angled turn to join the river, I imagine that the lock would have been on this stretch or possibly close to it on the line proper.There is some evidence of a channel further west which might be an unfinished section perhaps, which runs to and perhaps under the road that heads for Cecilstown. I’m not sure what plans there were to extend or whether the canal would use the river furtheron, as the river runs very close to the escarpment in places. I imagine a new channel for the river might have been possible.

  16. revisting your photos, the one with the “park” and the straight edge shows the old road alignment at this point. Quite extensive works carried out in around 1990. The canal didnt reach this far, stopping just immediattely east of Racecourse.See photos I have sent you.

    Mr Power. What date is on the Allow bridge?

  17. Niall O'Keeffe

    As a local living in Mallow all my life I really enjoyed your account of the canal. It is very informative and your inclusion of many photographs and map excerpts make it very easy to visualise. I’d love to hear more about the history to include the colleries.

  18. Thanks, Niall. This link may (all going well) take you to the appropriate page in Samuel Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary of 1837 (you can increase the print size/zoom in to make it more readable. I’m not an expert on the subject, but there are several early sources available free on the internet that have some relevant material. I suggest using Google Books (or Google Scholar) to search for pages containing these three terms:

    Cork colliery Duhallow


  19. rosarie vaughan-drew

    my name is
    rosarie drew and found your article very interesting

  20. Thank you. bjg

  21. The photo of a stream with a wall on three sides and with the caption”I dont know what this is ” appears to have been taken at the Eel Weir Cross about 3 miles west of Mallow where a road branches off towards Ballyclough.One must assume that a weir and trap for catching eels were positioned here and the structure must have been part of that.I have no further information.
    The castle on another photo is Dromineen Castle an this is situated on the southern bank of The Blackwater(formerly known as the Broadwater) and was home originally to the O Callaghan Clan along with another castle at Clonmeen.

  22. Excellent; thank you very much. I’ve amended the two captions accordingly, adding “see comment by donieos below”. About six seconds after I photographed the structure at Eel Weir Cross I took a pic of the signpost to Ballyclough. bjg

  23. I had not heard it called eel weir cross before so that’s interesting. I think the structure is more to do with a culvert under the main rd but I don’t know how that would have worked, crossing the canal. The Eel Weir would presumably have been on the Blackwater rather than the canal

  24. The structure itself seemed to be concrete, and might indeed be a culvert, but it might be on the site of, or close to, a former eel weir. There does seem to have been one on the canal, and some flow in the canal. If you click on this link it should take you to an eel weir on the canal itself on the 6″ OSI map (~1840). If you change to the Historic 25″ (~1900) and then to the modern (Street Map Beta), you can see changes on the site. bjg

  25. Nicholas (Nick) Kelly

    I passed along the road on my way to Tralee from Mallow in June 1996 and was amazed that the lock at Longueville survived! The question that formed in my mind was Why? What did Thomas Ockenden think he was doing! In many ways it reminded me of the ill fated Kington,Leominster and Stourport Canal Instead of starting at the navigable end of the River Blackwater and working upstream to the Collieries He began in the middle and worked in both directions and then ran out of money! Also I wonder what sort of vessel used the canal as the locks were rather large to put it mildly. Did Ockenden propose to make the river and canal navigable for sea going vessels? In all I came away from Longueville utterly baffled by the lock. Itis amazing and it has to be one of the most unlikely relics of inland navigation in these islands!

  26. I haven’t specifically studied the history, but Ockenden was also in charge of work on the equally disastrous Nore scheme to Kilkenny and the slightly less disastrous Limerick Navigation, which was badly designed and badly built but was at least finished. The Mallow work depended on government grants and, when they stopped, so did construction. bjg

  27. The only reason I can come up with for starting the canal near Roskeen is the fact that the “Navigation” road only went as far as Roskeen at that time.It was extended further west by Sir Richard Griffith in about 1830. The main or High Road from Mallow to Killarney at that time ran along the southern side of the Blackwater via
    Newberry,Glantane,Lombardstown,Banteer,Millstreet and Rathmore. Of course it could also have commenced at Lismore to link up with the Dukes canal but would the Duke have agreed.
    There is one question I cannot get answered and that is why the bridge on the N72 over the little stream between Pallas and Woodpark is known locally as the “Lock Bridge”.there seems to be no record of a another canal lock planned for this area.

  28. It was reported in 1761 that two locks had been completed, and I seem to recall reading that road works had obliterated one of them. I can’t at the moment lay my hands on my copy of the relevant article from the Mallow Field Club Journal, alas.

    I’m not sure where the stream you mention is, but I wonder whether it might be here. I ask because, switching to the Historic 25″ and zooming in, there is an interesting shape here, close to that spot.


  29. The little stream actually is the townland boundary between Carrigane and Dromrastil that are located between Pallas and Woodpark The bridge was extended when the n72 was widened.It is known locally as “The Lock Bridge” however,I recently came across a reference to this bridge in the 1930’s and it was spelled as “the Lough Bridge”.The plot thickens.
    This bridge was bored for destruction during the Emergency and a local was designated to do this if Germany invaded.A munitions store was constructed nearby in 1939 by the Irish army to hold gelignite, arms etc. and this has survived to this day.
    I should also point out that the old house at Woodpark was a gate lodge for the the local landlords mansion ,further in,and had nothing to do with the canal

  30. Thanks for that. Have I got the order of photos wrong there? bjg

  31. I have since found out that an area of swampland existed across the Blackwater from the Lough Bridge and it was known as the lough by shooters in times past as it was an excellent shooting area.This swamp does not appear as a lake on old osi maps but it must have given its name to the bridge and not to another canal lock

  32. That’s very interesting; thank you. Might it have been a turlough, appearing only in wet weather?


  33. Doubtful as the area is old red sandstone.The osi map does show two patches that may indicate a swamp and depending on time of year surveyed the swamp area could be much bigger in winter.The info I got would indicate a reasonably large area and shooters converged on the site from a distance.

  34. Thank you. bjg

  35. Olivier Dumoulin

    The second photo is Pallas

  36. Thank you for that. bjg

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