Category Archives: Canals

The Four Pots tramway

Ewan Duffy has an interesting post here about a tramway from a quarry to the bank of the Grand Canal beside the Four Pots.

 

They killed Kenny!

Annabeg, Annaghbeg, Plassy or Plassey Lock on the Limerick Navigation (OSI 6″ ~1840)

 

Last Sunday a young man of the name of Kenny, bathing in one of the locks of the Canal, near Annabeg, was unfortunately drowned; the sluices of the gates happened to be open, through which the poor lad was drawn from the great suction, and his head very much shattered.

Saunders’s News-Letter 30 July 1803

Who fears to speak of 98?

It’s one less than 99, I suppose. But the answer might be the Grand Canal Company.

The Grand Canal corps of infantry, commanded by Captain Greene, mount guard every night at the Canal harbour, which gives additional safety to that place.

Dublin Evening Post 5 January 1797

WAR-OFFICE, DUBLIN-CASTLE, 5th JAN 1797

His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant has been pleased to sign Commissions for the following Gentlemen to be officers in the under-mentioned district corps.

[…]

Grand Canal Infantry — 2d lieut J Wemys Disney, 1st lieut vice [ie in place of] Black, resigned, and Jas Murray Barton, Esq; 2d do

Dublin Evening Post 10 January 1797

Andrew Hamilton Esq was later commissioned as a 3d lieut in the Grand Canal Infantry [Saunders’s News-Letter 8 April 1797]. William Greene, the captain, was Company Secretary in real life.

The usual military guards in the Earl of Meath’s Liberty were sustained by the St Sepulchre’s infantry, from which they were yesterday relieved by the Revenue corps — and the stores of the Grand Canal Company were protected by the Canal corps.

Dublin Evening Post 5 October 1797

There was a big parade in November 1797.

GRAND CANAL CORPS OF INFANTRY

At a meeting of the Grand Canal Corps of Infantry, on parade, Saturday the 4th day of November, the following Address, with an elegant Stand of Colours, were presented by Mrs WILLIAM GREENE.

“With infinite satisfaction I have the honour of presenting this Stand of Colours to you, as a tribute of the high esteem I entertain for the fidelity and zeal you have, in every instance since your enrolment, evinced for the important cause in which you are engaged. Our recent brilliant victory, will, I trust, prevent the necessity of your being exposed to the dangers we had reason to expect, though I feel the most perfect confidence, should any arise, that you will protect these Colours with the same spirit, courage, and loyalty, your conduct has hitherto manifested.

“Cordiality, united with valour, will, I am persuaded, on every occasion crown with success your laudable exertions in support of our King and happy Constitution, the blessings attendant on which you must feel more peculiarly sensible of this day, animated by reflecting on the example of that Monarch, the anniversary of whose birth you are assembled to commemorate.”

To which the Corps returned the following Answer.

“Madam

“With heartfelt thanks we receive your much valued favour, perfectly sensible of the honour conferred on us, which is heightened by the gracious manner with which you have presented us these Colours, from which we are determined never to desert, but to retain them with that spirit and firmness which have through ages signalized our Country for loyalty to our King, and attachment to our glorious Constitution.

“Your very high opinion of us, as Soldiers, is really most flattering to us, but it is our duty as well as our wish to act, in every situation, for the support of our Constitution with the zeal and ardour that become Soldiers and become Men.”

Resolved, That the corps be specially summoned to meet on Friday next, for the purpose of ascertaining the portion of pay to be appropriated to the relief of the widows and orphans of the brave men who fell under the command of Lord Duncan.

Resolved unanimously, that the foregoing address and resolution be inserted in Saunders’s News-letter, the Dublin Evening Post, and Faulkner’s Journal.

By Order, Arthur Disney, Sec.
Parade, 4th November, 1797

According to David Dickson [David Dickson Dublin: the making of a capital city Profile Books, London pb 2015], in 1798 Dublin city had 12 infantry and 7 cavalry corps of yeomen, with another 12 corps in the county. Of those in the city, 7 were organised by district, 7 by profession or guild and 4 by institutions: the Linen Hall, Trinity College, the Custom House and the Grand Canal company.

They constituted a vast, highly visible and overwhelmingly loyalist force, the enforcers of what many, perhaps most, citizens now regarded as a hostile political order.

 

Talbot’s Canal, Malahide

Hat-tip to Carthach Ó Maonaigh for pointing me to this article about a [proposed?] canal I had not heard of before: Richard Talbot’s Canal in Malahide. Talbot intended to build a canal to carry heavy goods inland from Malahide harbour via Swords to join the Broadmeadow River at Fieldstown.

This is yet another example of [proposed] eighteenth century investment and improvement by estate owners. Most of the canals I’ve covered were inland, and often associated with bogs for reclamation and turf extraction; this one shows that improvers could have other aims in mind.

Incidentally, the articles on the Old Yellow Walls site seem to be carefully researched and referenced.

 

Garryowen and the Royal Canal

The shortage of water for the Royal Canal has been covered a few times on these pages with pieces about its feeders in general, the Lough Owel feeder in particular and the proposed replacement supply from Lough Ennell.  Last I heard, the Lough Ennell proposal had become a matter for Irish Water rather than for the local authority, which sent the whole thing back to the drawing-board but if, Gentle Reader, you have more recent information, do please leave a Comment below.

A recent post about the inadequacy of back-pumping from the Inny led to a discussion in the Comments, from which it became plain that the Lough Owel feeder was well below normal levels and that the water supply to Mullingar, never mind that to the canal, was seriously inadequate. I was prompted to suggest that one of these might be the best type of boat for the Royal.

But I see from the blatts that the seventh cavalry, in the shape of Irish Water (whistling Garryowen, of course), intends to take water from Lough Ree to supply Athlone, Mullingar and Moate.

Perhaps there will be some to spare for the Royal Canal.

Carrying on the Grand Canal around 1800

Some new items about early carrying on the Grand Canal or by the Grand Canal Company.

The Bishop of Killaloe and the bridge at Moys

That would be the Bishop of the United Church of England and Ireland, as established by the fifth article of the Acts of Union of 1800, of course.

Cussane lock (OSI 25″ ~1900)

Cussane (or Coosaun, as above) Lock was the furthest downstream of the three locks on the Killaloe Canal. It was submerged by the “Flooded Area” created by Parteen Villa Weir as part of the Ardnacrusha hydroelectric scheme.

The middle lock on the Killaloe Canal is at Moys and its remains are visible, just above the water, in normal non-flood conditions. It is (or was until recently) still possible to go through it by (small) boat, though of course without needing to use the lock mechanisms.

Approaching Moys Lock from upstream

However, although the lock itself survives, the bridge that crossed it is no longer there. It was shown on the 6″ (~1840) and 25″ (~1900) Ordnance Survey maps; I would guess that it was removed as part of the Ardnacrusha works, but I don’t know and would welcome information.

The lock and bridge at Moys (OSI 6″ ~1840)

The other thing I don’t know about the bridge is why it was built in the first place. Hely Dutton [Statistical Survey of the County of Clare, with observations on the means of improvement; drawn up for the consideration, and by direction of the Dublin Society The Dublin Society, Dublin 1808] wrote that

It seems to be the general opinion in Killaloe, that the canal has been cut in the most improper direction; they think it should have been brought in a valley between Killaloe and Dr. Parker’s, and to the north of the Bishop’s house, and not parallel to the Shannon as at present. Bishop Bernard offered several thousand pounds, if this line had been pursued; for, instead of cutting his demesne off from the Shannon, as at present it does, it would have gone at the back of his house; if this was the only objection, I think the engineer acted very impartially, as all public officers should, but very seldom do.

That suggests that the bishop was not best pleased to have a canal in front of his house; if he was willing to pay “several thousand pounds” to have the canal put somewhere else, the Limerick Navigation’s promoters must have been able to deploy considerable firepower (political and financial) to overcome his opposition. I wonder whether promotion to Limerick might have helped: according to a later estimate [Dublin Weekly Register 21 September 1822], promotion from Killaloe to Limerick would have increased a bishop’s income from £7000 to £8000 a year.

Charlotte Murphy [“The Limerick Navigation Company 1697–1836” in North Munster Archaeological Society Journal Vol 22 1980], describing John Brownrigg’s report on the navigation in 1801, said

This latter [Moys] lock had a bridge over the tail to accommodate the Bishop of Killaloe, whose demesne was served by the canal.

But what accommodation did the bishop need? A small strip of land downstream of the lock was insulated by the canal; perhaps the bridge provided access for cattle.

Another possibility is that the bridge provided access to the episcopal eel weirs. According to Mr Blackburne QC, addressing the Shannon Commissioners in 1837 on behalf of the Bishop of Killaloe and Sir Gilbert King Bart of Jamestown [Saunders’s News-Letter 29 December 1837],

The bishop, his tenants, and his predecessors had from time immemorial been in the habit of using twenty-five eel weirs, extending from the tail of Lough Dearg down the whole line of the rapids of Killaloe, which place, from natural impediments, could never be made navigable.

I think I have read somewhere that the eel weirs were worth £75 a year to the bishop, but I can’t remember where I saw that so I haven’t been able to check it.

The bishop’s house, the lock and the bridge (OSI 6″ ~1840)

 

 

There is one other aspect. The bridge was used by the horses towing boats on the canal and, of course, by the men leading them. We know that because the towing-path changed sides at Moys Lock. It was on the west side of the canal from Cussaun to Moys but on the east from Moys to Killaloe: it is marked on the 6″ OSI map and named on the 25″.

That forced horses and men to walk on a narrow embankment rather than on the shore. But it kept them out of the bishop’s garden and a little further from his house. Might that have been the intention?

I would be glad to hear from anyone who knows more about Moys.

 

 

Limerick Navigation lockkeepers

The Limerick Navigation was in five sections — three canals with river sections in between — and joined Limerick to Killaloe and the rest of the inland Shannon. The canal sections had locks, each controlled by a lockkeeper who lived on site. The job passed from generation to generation: some of the lockkeepers’ cottages are still inhabited by descendants of the lockkeepers.

Cussane lock (OSI 25″ ~1900)

Cussane was the furthest downstream of the three locks on the Killaloe section of the canal. It was covered by water when the Ardnacrusha hydroelectric scheme created the “flooded area” below Killaloe. If memory serves, Cussane was known as Crowe’s Lock.

In the online searchable catalogue of the Registered Papers of the Chief Secretary’s Office in the National Archives, there is a letter dated 15 February 1830 [CSO/RP/1830/815]

[…] from James Saurin, Henry R Paine, and John Radcliffe, [Directors General of Inland Navigation], Board of Control, [Dublin], to Hugh Percy, 3rd Duke Northumberland, [Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Dublin], recommending Denis Crow to succeed Lott Corboy sheriff as lockkeeper on the Limerick Navigation.]

There is also a letter dated 2 June 1830 [CSO/RP/1830/836]

from James Saurin, J Armit, and Henry R Paine, [Directors General of Inland Navigation], Navigation Office, [Dublin], to Hugh Percy, 3rd Duke Northumberland, [Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Dublin], recommending dismissal of Simon Johnston, lockkeeper on the Limerick Navigation, for irregularities and for deception; asking to employ Michael Gully in his stead, for Stg£9-4-9 per annum.

Gully’s Lock is at Gillogue, on the central canal section known as the Plassey–Errina Canal.

Gillogue lock (OSI 25″ ~1900)

 

 

 

A boat for the Royal

Someone asked me the other day what, given the unreliable water supply, would be the ideal boat for use on the Royal Canal.

I replied that it should be one with four-wheel drive. Maybe one of these.

Robert French of Monivea

Another addition to the collection of turf and bog navigations: the Monivea navigations, developed by Robert French in the middle of the eighteenth century. The navigations, like certain others in the nineteenth century, combined drainage, navigation and water power.

Monivea is near Athenry in Co Galway.