Category Archives: Passenger traffic

Header photo?

I’ve been asked what it is. Its principal claim to fame is that it is not Holyhead.

Which is just as well. You can’t drive there, unless you’re a resident: you have to walk, which will give you an appetite for a pint or two in Ty Coch.

But the inability to drive there would have made it difficult to operate car ferries.

Ennis to Dublin 1838

The public car from Ennis to Williamstown was quite a treat in the way of public travelling; a leather strap, and afterwards a branch of a tree, sufficed for a whip, until an innocent country lad was coaxed into an exchange pro tempore — that is to say, he very good-naturedly lent our driver his whip on a simple promise to return it, and took the branch instead. Although half an hour too late at starting, our loquacious conductor assured us that we would arrive in due time at Williamstown to meet the packet, ‘barring accidents’ — which was well put in, for the wheels were once or twice so hot and the horses so lazy that a stoppage at one time seemed inevitable.

A voyage in a large steamboat of one hundred horse power was quite a novelty to be enjoyed in an inland piece of water, and I greatly enjoyed both this and the voyage up the Shannon, in a less steamboat of twenty four horse power. I had never in my life travelled in a canal passage-boat, and the voyage therein from Shannon Harbour to Dublin was described by a Limerick attorney as a nuisance, horrible beyond endurance. I have never, however, been disposed to rely so much on the opinion of others as on my own experience, and therefore I resolved to try the voyage.

Never was I more agreeably surprised that to find, after sailing in it eighteen hours, I arrived at Dublin too soon, so far as the pleasantness of the journey was concerned. I heard the best Irish songs and recitations, and had a most interesting account of Irish scenery and superstitions from Mr Dennis Leonard, of Kilrush; besides this, I had a very comfortable night’s rest and was altogether much interested and pleased with my first journey on a canal.

From Chapter XV Ireland and the Irish 1838 of Benjamin Ward Richardson Thomas Sopwith MA CE FRS, with excerpts from his diary of fifty-seven years Longmans, Green & Co, London 1891

 

 

The cows of death

On Wednesday, a melancholy accident, attended with the loss of nine lives, occurred on Lough Derg, on the Upper [ie non-tidal] Shannon, by the upsetting of a boat in its passage across the lake from Williamstown to Dromineer. The nine men were jobbers, six of them belonging to Nenagh, and three to Cork, and were returning from a fair in the county Galway.

The accident is said to have been owing to their having carried two cows with them yoked to the boat, one of which, having burst the ties that confined it, became unmanageable, and in a few minutes the boat being upset, all on board were engulphed in the deep.

The Warder and Dublin Weekly Mail 3 March 1849, quoting Limerick Reporter

Newry: canal, steam railways, ships …

Thanks to Andrew Waldron for the link to this film, The Clanrye Connection, about Newry and its transport systems: the inland canal, the ship canal and the railways. The film was made by the BBC in 1996 and is about 50 minutes long.

There is even an electric tram.

 

Ballinlaw Ferry: much more info

For many people, the first thing to look out for on a Friday morning is Andrew Doherty’s weekly posting on his Waterford Harbour Tides and Tales blog. Today’s subject is the Ballinlaw ferry on the Barrow: I had a bit of information  here (and a question here) but for the full story read Andrew’s account.

Canal fecundity

Mrs M’Cann, of Castlecomer, gave birth to two infant boys and a girl, in the canal fly boat from Athy to Dublin, on Monday.

Limerick Chronicle 3 March 1838

Just as well they were infants: giving birth to three teenagers would have been difficult.

The power of the wind

The fly-boat from Ballinasloe was much retarded in its progress on Monday by the storm. The horses which pulled it were twice driven into the canal by the force of the wind between that town and Shannon Harbour.

Limerick Chronicle 21 November 1840

Saving Miss Gibson

On Friday, as “the Archer”, Grand Canal passage [passenger] boat, was proceeding from Dublin, Miss Gibson, of Parsonstown, one of the passengers, fell from the landing place, leading to the state cabin, into the canal, between the 11th and 12th locks. The boat was going rapidly at the time, and the lady was whirled under the water, and would inevitably have been drowned, but for the heroic decision of a young gentleman, son of Captain Brennan, of Strangford, county of Down, who instantly jumped from on board, and with the assistance of the master of the boat, and a countryman, rescued her from her impending fate.

Limerick Chronicle 28 May 1834

The Archer, built in 1805, was sold in 1834, according to the list of passage boats in Ruth Delany The Grand Canal of Ireland David & Charles, Newton Abbot 1973.

The ghost of William Ockenden

I see that Ramsgate is back in the news.

The Church of the Sacred Heart, Roscommon

So there you are, en route from Kingsbridge railway station in Dublin to Westport in Co Mayo. Or, as it might be, from Westport to Dublin. Either way, the journey takes at least three hours.

What you would like, of course, is to lengthen the journey by making a little stop along the way. In particular, you would like to stop in Roscommon to see the Church of the Sacred Heart. You could get off your train, visit the church and then catch the next train. You might even be able to do the same in Castlerea.

That is according to Senator Terry Leyden of Fianna Fáil. Now that the Shannon stopover, which hijacked transatlantic passengers en route to Dublin, is no more, the good Senator proposes an equivalent for the railways.