Category Archives: Shannon

This month’s header

Bartlett drawing of turf boats below Wellesley (now Sarsfield) Bridge, Limerick.

P J G Ransom

P J G Ransom died on 27 March 2019.

I don’t know anything about his work on railways, but he gave generous coverage to Irish history in his waterways books. His Holiday Cruising in Ireland (David & Charles 1971) was carefully researched; if memory serves, his is still one of the few accounts of cruising on the Corrib. Finally, it was he who found the drawing of William Watson’s 120-foot canal passenger boat, developed for the Limerick Navigation; the drawing is now in the Canal & River Trust Museum & Archive at Ellesmere Port.

Meelick

Sinn Féin has a TD called Martin Kenny who, in the Dáil on 29 May 2019, asked about repairs to a walkway across Meelick Weir. He said that

The weir is a crossing point on the Shannon on an important walkway, the Beara-Breifne Way, which runs from Breifne in Leitrim to the Beara Peninsula, straight through Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.

I’m not sure that he’s got the direction of travel right, but let that pass. He also said

The problem is that people using the walkway have not been informed it is closed. Many businesses, particularly tourism businesses, are directing people up the walkway as far as the bridge but they cannot cross it. Over the past several days, some tourists could not cross the river at the point.

One Seán Kyne, a mini-minister, said in reply that

In 2009, during an extreme weather event, the weir and its walkway from which the weir boards are placed and removed were extensively damaged. In the 2015-16 severe weather event, the last remnants of the walkway were destroyed.

If the “many businesses, particularly tourism businesses” have not noticed that the walkway has been out of action for almost ten years, it suggests that the Beara-Breifne Way is used by very few people and that its reinstatement is not important, or at least not urgent. On the other hand, it might suggest that the operators of the tourism businesses in question have not paid as much attention to the route as they might have.

The minister, by the way, said

Meelick weir was originally built in the 1790s as part of the Shannon navigation.

I thought it was built by the Shannon Commissioners in the 1840s.

The Hawthorn vlog

A documentary about Jill and Giles of the barge Hawthorn, peripatetic providers of boat covers along the Shannon.

News for Fido

Fido tells me that we have had a response from Clare County Council (but none from Waterways Ireland, although admittedly they’re not responsible).

Fido says that Clare County Council says

Your observations and comments will be brought to the attention of the Beach Management Committee.

The search facility on Clare County Council’s website hasn’t heard of a “beach management committee” so I can’t tell you anything more about it. If anyone has information, please leave a Comment below.

In other news, Fifi, the Rottweiler, says that she is going to form a Ladies’ Committee to lobby for private facilities for lady dogs. She says that the powers-that-be seem to think they’ve done enough for dogs when they’ve put up a few lampposts, but that does nothing for the ladies.

Looking after Fido

I have today sent this email to both Waterways Ireland and Clare County Council.

This email is being sent to Waterways Ireland (Scarriff office) and Clare County Council.

Let us suppose that, during the summer season (15 May to 15 September), I set  off on my boat, with my dogs, from somewhere at the northern end of Lough Derg; I moor in Mountshannon at 11.15am.

Under Clare County Council’s beach bye-laws (number 16), I may not take my dogs ashore until 6.00pm: they will be confined to Waterways Ireland’s piers and pontoons. The entire area of the car park, the access from the piers to the roads, is off limits to dogs between 11.00am and 6.00pm.

Perhaps you might, for the convenience of visiting dog-owners, designate a corridor through which dogs (on leads) might be taken to land. After all, the area in question is not actually a beach: it is a car park.

 

 

The Mountshannon dog-prison

Let us suppose that you are on a boat, with your dog, and perhaps some humans, and that you decide to visit Mountshannon, Co Clare, in the summer.

Here is a map of Mountshannon. I have stolen it from Clare County Council’s Beach Bye-Laws document, which you can download here [PDF].

Mountshannon, Co Clare

Bye-Law 16 applies to this “beach”:

16) Between the hours of 11am and 6pm during the Summer Season, it shall be prohibited to bring any dog onto any part of the beach except the exempted areas delineated on the schedule of maps attached hereto. Before 11am and after 6pm, a dog may be brought onto the non-exempted areas of the beach on the conditions that:

  • the dog is on a leash;
  • it is not causing annoyance, danger or nuisance to any person using the beach or worrying, chasing, injuring or disturbing any animals, birds or other creatures on the beach; and
  • its faeces is removed and deposited in a suitable receptacle.

There are some exceptions: guide dogs and those employed by the constabulary and the excise-persons.

The area from which dogs are excluded is shown by the hatching on the map. It covers the only exit from the piers to the shore. Thus it is not permissible to take little Fido to the land between 11.00 and 18.00 in the summer.

Little Fido had better be good at crossing his legs.

 

 

 

 

Not asking for more

At the Police-office on this day, 64 boys, inmates of Mountkennett workhouse, were brought up for effecting an entrance into the stores of the Dublin Steam Packet Company, which are underneath the workhouse, and converting to their own use 432 bottles of porter [6¾ bottles each], the property of Mr Hurley.

Tralee Chronicle 3 August 1850 citing Limerick Chronicle 31 July 1850

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

 

 

Limerick and Newport

Newport in South Wales, that is. If you’ve taken a ferry from Rosslare Harbour to Fishguard or Pembroke, and you’re driving across South Wales, you might like to stop at Newport. It’s got a transporter bridge, and not a lot of places can say that.

It also has the Cefn Flight of Fourteen Locks, which raises an interesting question about the Limerick Navigation.