Category Archives: Historical matters

Broadstone addition

Thanks to Pat Conneely for this photo of the Broadstone station and the Royal Canal. I’ve added it to my page on the Broadstone Line of the Royal Canal.

The Broadstone station before the canal harbour was filled in (photo courtesy Pat Conneely)

The photo must have been taken before 1877, when the harbour was filled in.

 

 

 

 

The Munster Blackwater

I am in the process of adding some pages with photos of the Munster Blackwater. These are photos of the water from the land, whereas my existing page shows the land from the water. While I’m working on this, incomplete pages may appear hither and yon; ignore them and wait for the announcement of the completed work.

Longships

The early impact of the steamship was greatest within the technological and economic heartlands of Europe and North America. Glasgow saw one service every ten minutes in the 1830s, while a regular service between Vienna and Budapest, inaugurated in 1826 and taken over in 1829 by the famous Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaft (one of the longest words in the German language), had a fleet of seventy-one ships by 1850 for a trip lasting roughly fourteen hours.

Jürgen Osterhammel The Transformation of the World: a global history of the nineteenth century Princeton University Press 2009, English translation by Patrick Camiller 2014

According to Wikipedia,

Since the German spelling reform of 1996, “Schifffahrt” is written with three “f”s; however, since the name belongs to a company that existed before the spelling reform, the old form of the name is used when referring to the company.

The name of the company is well known in German-speaking countries as a starter to humorously construct even longer compound words. Donau­dampf­schiffahrts­gesellschafts­kapitäns­mütze is such a word, which potentially might even have been used, but probably never actually was. It means a “DDSG captain’s hat”. Another common example is Donau­dampf­schiffahrts­gesellschafts­kapitäns­kajüten­schlüssel which means “DDSG captain’s cabin key”.

Happily, abbreviations have now been invented.

 

Sligo Ship Canal

Good article here.

Deep doo-doo

10000 tons manure

`To be SOLD by AUCTION, at One o’Clock on Monday, 20th July, 1830, at the North Strand Depot, in Lots agreeable to Purchasers. This is well worth the attention of Land-Owners.

NB A reasonable time will be given for the removal of same.

John Littledale, Auctioneer

Dublin Evening Post 6 May 1830

I wonder how they weighed it before offering it for sale.

Sail on Irish inland waterways

Here is a new page about the use of square sails on Irish inland waterways. I intend to add to this as I come across more information.

Grand Canal 1829

Grand Canal Lumber and Parcel Boats

Safe and expeditious carriage by land and water in four days

5, Grand Canal Harbour, James’s-street

Messrs Maher and Adamson beg leave to inform their Friends and the Public, that they have now made arrangements for plying Two Boats a Week to and from Dublin and Ballinasloe; they pledge themselves for the safe arrival of every article committed to their care.

Gillen Bridge

They have stores at Dublin, Tullamore, Gillen, and Ballinasloe, where careful Agents attend to receive and to forward Goods to their respective destinations. Their Boats are new, and drawn by two horses each, their own property; they retain no person in their establishment but men of tried honesty, sobriety, and diligence.

The Proprietors, for the satisfaction and accommodation of their Customers, have provided drays with large tarpaulen covers, and will insure the safe delivery of any goods committed to their care, at the regular price charged in each place per mile or per cwt. Loughrea, Gort, Galway, Eyrecourt, Birr, Banagher, Tuam, Moate, Kilbeggan, or any of the neighbouring places.

A Boat will leave Dublin on Wednesdays and Saturdays at Ten o’clock, AM: loaded or not the Proprietors pledge themselves to be punctual to the day and hour.

Dublin Evening Post 17 March 1829

Some interesting points

We don’t have much information about canal carriers in the early years of the Grand Canal, so this is a useful snippet. The use of two horses is interesting: I wonder whether the extra cost paid off. And here is more evidence of the former glory of Gillan or Gallen, which was also a stop on the coach-routes. What is now the R437, from Frankford/Kilcormac north through the bogs to Ferbane, seems to have been more important than what is now the N62.

Mills on the Barrow

Mill sites — Ireland

The Directors of the Barrow Navigation Company will receive Proposals for the several unoccupied Falls on their line of Navigation. These falls are from five to ten feet, with a constant and powerful supply of water; and, from some of the large Establishments now on the line of Navigation, a fair estimate may be formed of their value.

The River Barrow joins the Grand Canal at Athy, 32 miles from Dublin, from whence there is a navigation to Dublin capable of carrying Boats of 50 tons burden, and the River Barrow is navigable from Athy to the Sea-ports of Ross and Waterford, between which places there is a constant and extensive communication for 20 miles of its length.

The River Barrow is not above 10 miles of its length from any part of the extensive Collieries, known by the name of the Kilkenny Collieries, and only three miles from some parts of them, and the country intersected with good Roads. There are several Towns situated on the River adjoining the Falls, `with a superabundant well-disposed Population, only wanting employment. The country is well inhabited, the soil fertile, the climate mild, the River not being frozen over once in ten years.

Any further particulars may be learned by application to the Company’s Acting Secretary, E S Hunt; and Messrs Latouche, Dublin, if by letter, post paid.

Dublin Mercantile Advertiser, and Weekly Price Current 13 June 1825

New header pic 16 May 2020

Early steamer in Dublin 1820s

Quakers, privateers and Post Office packets

During the French Revolutionary/Napoleonic wars, several of the British Post Office’s packet boats were seized by French privateers. As a result, the Post Office decided that the packet boats should be armed. The packet boats were privately owned and contracted to the Post Office,

Arthur Hamilton Norway takes up the story as it applies to the packet boats between Britain and Ireland.

The Waterford packets

It had not been customary in former wars to arm the Holyhead and Dublin boats, but a few light guns were now allowed to them, as well as to those from Port Patrick to Donaghadee. The Packets running between Milford Haven and Waterford were somewhat more exposed to the attacks of Privateers, which might be expected to hang about the entrance to St George’s Channel in the hope of intercepting the shipping out of Bristol, but here a curious difficulty was raised by the proprietors, a body of merchants, nineteen in number.

All but six of these gentlemen were members of the Society of Friends, and, being sincerely convinced of the sinfulness of war, they put in a decided objection against the proposal to provide their vessels with implements of strife and destruction.

The Postmaster General proceeded to reason with these ardent theorists, and pointed out that as, by the existing rule, the Department was bound to pay the value of captured Packets it was but reasonable that it should be allowed, at its own cost, to protect them. The men of peace, touched by the financial argument, admitted this, but retorted that if only the Government would refrain from the wickedness of placing guns and cutlasses in the hands of their sailors, they, that is to say the thirteen Quaker proprietors, would waive all claim to compensation in the event of capture.

It was true, they admitted, that the six proprietors who were not Quakers were by no means ready to make this sacrifice, but the Government, they urged, might fairly be expected to risk the liability for six-nineteenths of the loss when a principle was at stake.

By this time, however, the Postmaster General had become tired of the discussion, and closed it with a brief intimation that if the Packets were not armed the contract would be withdrawn, and in view of this unsympathetic attitude the Quakers sold their shares and retired from the concern.

That the unwarlike attitude of the Quakers was by no means always accompanied by any want of natural courage was demonstrated not long after this period by a certain inhabitant of Falmouth, an old and greatly respected member of the Society of Friends. This gentleman held the appointment of surgeon to the Post-Office establishment, and was one day cruising on board a Packet when a French Privateer hove in sight. It was obvious that there was going to be a fight; and the commander, knowing his passenger’s principles, suggested that he had better go below. The doctor, a fine tall man, declined to budge from the deck; and the captain thereupon offered him a cutlass and pistol, observing that as he intended to remain in the way of danger, he might at least use weapons in self-defence.

But this suggestion also the doctor refused to entertain; and, standing quite unarmed on the quarter-deck, he remained an interested and placid spectator of the action. After a sharp cannonade, the French vessel hurled her boarders into the Packet. The doctor showed no sign of excitement as he saw the fierce St Malo men swarming up the sides, cutlass in hand; but when, a moment later, a swarthy giant came clambering up unperceived, at a point where there was no one to resist him, the doctor calmly stepped forward, threw his arms round the astonished Frenchman with a grip few men could have resisted, and saying, gently, “Friend, thee makes a mistake, this is not thy ship”, tossed him into the sea.

More information

For background, see here on PO packet boats, but note that the article gives undue attention to the Falmouth-based packets. The Dover-based service is covered here. One of the packet service scandals is covered here.

Source

Arthur H Norway History of the Post-Office Packet Service between the years 1793–1815 compiled from records, chiefly official Macmillan and Co, London 1895. Mr Norway, father of the novelist Nevil Shute, was in the GPO in Dublin in 1916