Category Archives: People

Death of Brian J Goggin

Brian J Goggin

Today we have lost a much loved husband, father and grandfather, the author of the material on this website, Brian J Goggin.

Brian was dedicated to his research work on the waterways and loved to share the material he discovered. This website is the fruit of that labour, and it contributed to many friendships and interesting conversations over the years. He was an entertaining speaker and loved to share his knowledge with those who he hoped would share his passion for the history of the waterways.

Some of you may have met us as a family while we were on the River Shannon on our barge, Knocknagow. Brian loved to chat to everyone he met, particularly if they had stories about canals, boats, and related history. 

Beyond his work and personal interests, Brian was a loving and generous husband, and a hugely supportive parent. He chose to be called Grumpy by his grandchildren but delighted in making them giggle, reading bedtime stories with great animation, and encouraging them to drum on every surface possible. He was rarely without our dogs: at least one of Newby, Leavy, Pippa and Goldie are in almost every photo we have of him.

He was curious about the minutiae of the world in a way few are. He read widely, always diving deeply into other points of view and always broadening his knowledge. Even in his final days he was devouring books – and leaves behind a hefty collection that his family may one day read 2% of!

We’ll miss him for everything that he was, and everything that he helped the people around him to be. We’ll remember his constant encouragement, and his quiet efforts to help others succeed. We’ll remember his love of the waterways, and the times we shared with him there.

Remembering Brian

With Covid limiting events, we are not holding an open service. Instead we ask three things of you, depending on how you wish to remember Brian:

  1. Share a memory or appreciation

If you have a memory of Brian or a message to share please leave a comment on this post, or contact us at the email address below. That could be as a friend, a loved one, or simply as a reader of the website.

  1. Remember Brian’s love of the waterways

We can’t be together to remember Brian, but we can have a shared experience: remembering Brian by the places he loved so much.

If you want to remember Brian, find a stretch of waterway (he particularly loved the Shannon), or industrial heritage on the waterways, and spend some time in quiet reflection there, thinking of any memories you have of him.

  1. Celebrate his life and come to book launch next year

In a year’s time, we are hoping to have an opportunity to remember Brian, and to publish the first of two books. After his terminal diagnosis in August he worked intensely to arrange much of his writing so that it can be published posthumously, and left behind at least two books’ worth of material, which we will be preparing for publication.

We’ll publicise the event closer to the time, but we hope to see as many of you as possible there when the time comes – to celebrate his work, and to celebrate the legacy of our wonderful man. 

Anne, Carolan and Ian
Direct mails can be sent to anne@knocknagow.ie

Killaloe

There is a new video about Killaloe’s waterside heritage on the Heritage Week website here. The video was made in July 2020 by Joe O Dughghaill of Pine Valley Productions, Killaloe.

Carlow man ZOOms to success

Nothing to do with waterways, but an interesting biog of a vigorous Carlow MP.

Stanford Graduate School of Business …

… writes about Boris Johnson.

Steam, Kilrush and trade

Appendix D

Letter from Mr O’Brien, Agent to the Inland Steam Navigation Company
Kilrush Steam Packet Office, December, 1837

Gentlemen — I beg to inclose the Return which you requested; I also send a Statement of our Exports and Imports for the last ten years.

It affords me much pleasure in being able to state, that the trade and conditions of the people in this district appear much improved since the introduction of Steamers on the Lower Shannon.

I recollect when first Mr Williams commenced on the Lower Shannon, Kilrush was a very insignificant little place, quite deserted, without trade or commerce; it is now a rising town, with a number of respectable inhabitants and merchants; and the corn market, which was formerly rated at 2d per stone under Limerick, is now fully equal, and, in some cases, better than the latter.

This improvement, so important to the farmer, was certainly caused by the cheap and expeditious conveyance between this port and Limerick; because the country farmer at once saw the absurdity of selling his corn in Kilrush, at 6d per stone, when he could get it conveyed to Limerick by steam, for one farthing per stone, where the price was 8d per stone. This soon created a competition in the price, and soon broke down the old monoply [sic], so injurious to the public.

The facility of conveyance between Kilrush and Limerick had also a tendency to bring competitors into the field; and now, instead of one corn merchant, as was the case formerly, we have eleven; and instead of two grocers, we have fifteen; and instead of two woollen drapers, we have twelve, and so on.

Kilkee and Miltown, on the Clare side, and Ballybunion, on the Kerry side, have been equally benefited. Previous to the introduction of Steamers on the Lower Shannon, these places were scarcely known; they are now rising towns, and will, I trust, after a little time, compete with some of your English favourite watering places.

At Kilkee there are 305 very fine lodges, some of which brought £30 per month, last season; at Miltown there are 204, and at Ballybunion there are 96, with excellent hotels and boarding houses.

Persons leaving Limerick in the morning, are now enabled to breakfast at Kilkee — thus performing a journey of 60 miles in the short space of five hours.

This Company has rendered invaluable services to this part of the country, which are not generally known, but for which the people seem much indebted. A great deal still remains to be done to perfect our trade in this quarter; our pier is quite unequal to the trade, which is every day increasing.

At present there are nine vessels at the pier, and so crowded are we, that the steamer is put completely out of berth, and is obliged to anchor in the stream, and land her cargoes and passengers in open boats — a very dangerous process at this season of the year.

I am, Gentlemen, with great respect, your obedient Servant, P B O’Brien

To the Commissioners for the Improvement of the River Shannon

Statement of the Number of Vessels frequenting the Kilrush Pier for the last Three Years

Vessels at Kilrush [y/e 1 November]

This Statement does not comprise the Steamers which ply daily, but which, I fear, will be obliged to stop for want of a berth for discharging or taking in.

Abstract of the Imports and Exports of Kilrush, for the last Ten Years

Imports

Sundries (1835 only)

5 tons of Fish, 1 bale of Coffee, 1 bag of Rice, 1 cask of Indigo, Paints, Oil, Pitch, Tar, and Cordage.

Observations

This market does not embrace the foreign trade, which is blended in the Limerick accounts, and consists of timber from the British colonies, with a variety of wrecked goods in the winter season. Nor does it give more than a few of the principal articles imported from Great Britain, several being exempt from coast regulation; and owing to the facility of steam navigation, the greater part of the goods are imported to Limerick, and by canal from Dublin.

Exports. This account does not include the shipments made by small traders to Limerick, Cork, &c.

[Note: the quantity exported in 1836 was given as 87 firkins. Peter M Solar (“The Irish Butter Trade in the Nineteenth Century: New Estimates and Their Implications” in Studia Hibernica No 25 1990) suggests an average weight of 67.6 lb per firkin at Limerick in the early 1820s. Applying that figure gives a weight of 5881.2 lb or 52.5 long UK hundredweight, rounded to 53 cwt. There is nothing to say whether any of the amounts for Kilrush exports are gross or net weight; Solar says that “Earlier in the nineteenth century the weight of the cask was generally taken to be a fifth of the weight of butter it contained.”]

Sundries

1826: —
1827: —
1828: 2 boxes [contents unspecified]
1829: 29 bales [nature unspecified]
1830: 4 sacks of Sea Moss
1831: 94 Marble blocks
1832: —
1833: 19 cwt 3 qrs 9 lb of Staves
1834: 40 packages of Bacon
1835: 140 tons of Hides
1836: 20 bags of dried Leaves; 14 puncheons

Source

Second Report of the Commissioners appointed pursuant to the Act 5 & 6 William IV cap 67 for the improvement of the navigation of the River Shannon; with maps, plans, and estimates HMSO, Dublin 1837

Limerick Navigation

Last week’s talk at the Killaloe Ballina Local History Society, on the subject of the Limerick Navigation, was recorded by Scariff Bay Community Radio; a podcast (1 hr 13 min 11 sec) is available here.

Ding dong the “baron” is dead

Obituary here

Del Harding …

… of Bealkelly Woods (south side of Scarriff Bay) here.

Another estuary quay

Here is a page about Ringmoylan, a quay on the south side of the estuary.

 

Romance on the Shannon

Elopement

We are informed that Maurice O’Connell Esq, MP for Clare, has proceeded to Scotland on a matrimonial excursion. Our correspondent states that on Saturday morning the Member for Clare induced Miss Scott to leave her father’s residence at Cahircon and proceed with him to Gretna Green. The Lady is young, handsome, and an heiress.

Wexford Conservative 3 October 1832

A letter has just arrived in town from a friend of the member for Clare, which states that, on Saturday morning, a Miss Scott eloped from Cahir Con (between Knock and Kildysart), with Maurice O’Connell, MP. They crossed the Shannon in a pleasure-boat, and landed at Shanagolden, county of Limerick. From thence they proceeded in a chaise through Limerick. Their route will probably be through Waterford to Bristol, and thence northward to Gretna Green. Miss Scott has, or will have, it is said, £20,000.

Spectator 6 October 1832 citing “Dublin Paper”

It’s not safe to believe conservative papers.

Marriages

At Tralee, by special licence, by the Very Rev Dr McEnery, and afterwards at Kenmare, by the Rev William Godfrey, Rector of that parish, Maurice O’Connell, MP for the County of Clare, to Mary Frances, only daughter of Bindon Scott Esq of Caheracon in that County.

Limerick Chronicle 3 October 1832

Who said Cahircon was boring?

Mind you, Mary Frances may have inherited less than she expected. Perhaps if her father had spent less on the house of the dead, he might not have ended up as the only Shannon Estuary landlord unable to pay his debt to the Shannon Commissioners. His estate was offered for sale in the Encumbered Estates court in 1854.