Category Archives: Suir

Down the Suir

Cheekpoint

Andrew Doherty runs the Waterford Harbour tides’n’tales blog which, starting with a focus on the traditional fishing community of Cheekpoint, has broadened out to take in the whole of the Suir estuary and a few other things besides. As he says

My unending passion is researching and writing about our way of life and more fully understanding the history and heritage that surrounds us here.

Before the tide went out

Andrew has now written a book, Before the tide went out, and it will be launched at Jack Meade’s on Friday 20 October 2017 at 7.30pm.

From the blurb:

Andrew Doherty vividly brings you into the heart of a now practically vanished fishing community, deep into the domestic lives of the people making a hard and precarious living from the river, only 6 miles from Waterford city centre. You share his affectionate memories of the local people and the fun that was to be had as a child playing in and around the fishing boats and nets on a busy quayside.

He also takes you out on the river, on bright and beautiful days, and on wild and dangerous nights, which he describes with a naturally story telling turn of phrase. You feel the cold, the misery of sea-soaked clothing and the pain of raw hands hauling on fish-scaled nets.

But what keeps you going is what kept him going for 15 years, the camaraderie and pride of spending time with brave, skilled and wise fishermen who could be grumpy, hilarious, sometimes eccentric, but never
boring.

 

 

Increasing trade

Some of the boatmen of Carrick-on-suir burned a new boat to the water’s edge, on Monday last, as it was made contrary to the rules of the body, that no boat should be built except an old one was broken up. Informations have been taken.

Clare Journal, and Ennis Advertiser
24 August 1843

A new sporting opportunity for the Suir?

This could work, from Carrick-on-Suir up to Clonmel, as there is already a towing-path.

A Bourne mystery

Here is an ad, from 1785, offering to let flour-mills at Portlaw, Co Waterford, and a bake-house in John Street, Waterford, to a “tenant possessed of abilities”.

The ad is interesting in several respects. First, although the location of the flour-mills is not clear, they may have preceded the iron-works, the famous Malcolmson cotton-mill and the later tannery on the site; they certainly seem to have used the water power of the Clodiagh.

Second, the ad suggests that flour could be carried from the mills by three rivers to Waterford: the Clodiagh, the Suir and St John’s Pill, which is another navigation featured on this site.

Third, the ad invites applications to be sent to either John Thomas Medlycott in Dublin or John Edwards Bourne in Mayfield, Waterford. The Post-Chaise Companion [4th ed] says

Within half a mile of Portlaw, on the L is Glen-house the seat of Mr Bourne.

At Portlaw are the extensive mills built by Edward May Esq, and about a quarter of mile beyond Portlaw on the L is a large house built by the same gentleman.

About a mile from Portlaw, on the R situated on the banks of the Suir, is Mayfield, the noble and delightful seat, with very extensive and beautiful demesnes and plantations, of William Watson Esq and on the L is Coolfin, the seat of the Rev Thomas Monck.

That puts a Mr Bourne in Portlaw, though in Glenhouse rather than Mayfield. The Glenhouse address is confirmed by Matthew Sleater in 1806.

But what interests me is whether the John Edwards Bourne mentioned in the ad is related to John Edwards Bourne of Dunkerrin, Co Offaly, formerly of Nenagh, Co Tipperary, who died in 1799 or so. The Offaly Bourne seems to have had four brothers and three sisters.

I would be glad to hear from anyone who knows anything about the Portlaw Bourne (or indeed any of the other Bournes). If you can help, please leave a Comment below.

 

 

Railway progress

It is proposed that six cwt should travel on the Rail-road between this City and Waterford, ten miles an hour, urged by the propelling and locomotive engines. Thus, on the sixth day, the heaviest goods will reach London from Limerick; the fourth, Liverpool; and the third, Bristol.

In case the navigation of the Suir should be found inapplicable, an extension of the Railway to Dunmore is intended.

The undermentioned are expected to form the Committee, some of whom have already signified their intention to that effect:—

The Duke of Devonshire, the Marquis of Lansdowne, Earls Darnley, Glengall, Kenmare, Charleville, Kingston, and Ennismore; Lords Oxmantown and Lismore; Messrs T S Rice MP, J Smith MP, R Wellesley MP, Captain Maberly MP, Sir C Flower, Alderman Heygate &c.

Dublin Evening Post 3 February 1825

From the BNA

Some later information here.

Nowadays, the average duration of the eight daily trains between Limerick and Waterford is four hours and five minutes, for say eighty miles, so speeds have doubled since the 1825 proposals were made.

 

A Suir thing

Some weeks ago Redmond O’Brien left a comment here; later he very kindly sent some photos. I have interspersed comment and pics here.

Today, while cycling on the Greenway along the Suir, I noticed a small pier and harbour by Mount Congreve.

Pier @ Mount Congreve

Pier at Mount Congreve (copyright Redmond O’Brien)

Is anything known about this? Possibly used by Mount Congreve at some time? A rather unusual design. The pier/quay is rectangular with stone steps on the upriver side.

Pier @ Mount Congreve

Stone steps (copyright Redmond O’Brien)

On the downriver side of the pier is a small rectangular harbour with a wall enclosing the side opposite the pier.

Boat Dock @ Mount Congreve

Enclosure at Mount Congreve (copyright Redmond O’Brien)

I wondered whether the pier or quay might have anything to do with the Christmas Canals, which Anthony M Sheedy said were “a joint effort between the Two Estates to bring irrigation into the Mount Congreve Estate”. I emailed the Mount Congreve Estate to ask if they knew anything about it, but I had no reply.

I also wondered whether the enclosed area might be for smaller boats, which might be transhipping cargoes to or from larger vessels tied at the end of the pier, quay or wharf. However, all of that is speculation.

The pier or wharf is shown on the 6″ Ordnance Survey map.

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The pier on the 6″ Ordnance Survey map ~1840 (copyright Ordnance Survey Ireland)

It also appears on the 25″ map of around 1900.

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The wharf and the wall on the 25″ map (copyright Ordnance Survey Ireland)

Here’s a close-up.

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The wharf ~1900 (copyright Ordnance Survey Ireland)

I have found nothing about this in Charles Smith’s The Ancient and Present State of the County and City of Waterford or anywhere else, save for one possible clue in an article “Rambles by Road and by Rail” published in the Waterford Mail on 3 December 1862 and in the Waterford News on 12 December 1862 (both on the British Newspaper Archive), but originally from the Farmers’ Gazette. The article, part of a series, is about Mount Congreve. It begins:

There is scarcely an individual in Waterford or Tramore who does not know Mount Congreve, the beautifully situated residence of John Congreve Esq, in consequence of the free permission given by that gentleman to those who may wish at any time to visit his grounds. It is, consequently, the regular resort during summer and autumn of pleasure parties from Waterford and Tramore, those visiting it from Waterford generally preferring to sail up the Suir to the place, handy quays being erected at different parts of the grounds for the accommodation of visitors.

No doubt the quays could accommodate visitors, but a later part of the article offers a more plausible explanation for the existence of the handy quays:

Four large lime kilns are kept constantly at work during summer, one of them being generally working all the year round, not so much as a matter of profit, as for the purpose of affording employment and of supplying Mr Congreve’s tenants and others in the neighbourhood with lime at moderate rates. The limestone is brought from Mr Congreve’s property on the county Kilkenny side of the Suir, as there is no limestone on the county of Waterford side, and the navigable capabilities of that river enables vessels to discharge their cargoes of culm just at the kilns, thereby effecting a considerable saving in point of carriage. One way or other, a considerable number of people are employed by Mr Congreve in connection with his lime works, besides being of great service to the neighbourhood.

The 6″ OSI map shows what may be the handy quays here (they’re easier to see on the black and white version). And if you switch to Historic 25″ you’ll see even more round objects, with the legend LK, which I take to mean Lime Kiln.

However, the kilns are some way downstream of the wharf, and it has no LK legend or round objects near it. There are, though, some LKs just a little way up the Christmas canals.

But this is speculation, and I would be glad to hear from anyone who knows anything about the wharf on the Suir.

My OSI logo and permit number for website

 

 

From the BNA

Shannon Regatta

The Shannon regatta commenced on Tuesday at Kilrush, which is crowded with visitors from Limerick, Tarbert, Ennis, and the sea coast frequenters at Kilkee and Malbay. In respect to the memory of the late Judge Vandeleur, it was supposed the stewards would defer the annual gala for a fortnight, but as several yachts had arrived from distant stations, a majority of the committee decided on proceeding. A stiff breeze from the North West, with occasional squalls, prevailed for the last three days. The prizes on Tuesday for the rival yachts were — Kent cup, a purse of £20, and two purses of £10 each.

The Cork Harbour Regatta will hold four days, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th August. The highest prize is one of £60 for all yachts.

The Marquis of Waterford’s yacht, Gem, now at Cove, is a beautiful specimen of naval architecture, and it is hard to know which to admire, the beautiful symmetry of her construction, or the perfect seamanlike manner in which she is rigged and fitted up. She is a Polacca schooner, of about 110 tons, carrying 6lb brass guns, and a swivel forward. Capt Lane RN is sailing master.

Dublin Morning Register 26 June 1835

From the British Newspaper Archive run by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited, in partnership with the British Library.

For certain values …

In the Irish Times of 5 January 2016 Fintan O’Toole has an article headed “Genuine local democracy part of the solution to flooding“. He points out that

  • in 2004 the Irish Times property supplement showed a photograph [we are not told whether it was part of an ad or advertorial or of a critique of property development] showing a sign advertising for sale a flooded field that had been zoned for residential use
  • in 1997 a resident of Clonmel detailed how the town’s natural flood defences had been destroyed
  • in 1999 a man in Ennis blamed the flooding of his house on the granting of too many planning permissions
  • in 2000 3500 Clonmel residents objected to building on flood plains
  • nitwitted local councillors didn’t care.

He concludes that

As flooding gets worse, we will have to spend enormous amounts of money on engineering solutions. But in fact one part of the solution doesn’t cost any money at all. It’s called listening. Or, to give it its political title, it’s called genuine local democracy. Top-down, very expensive technocratic measures may have to be part of the response. But they will only work in a political culture that has eyes to look at the land and ears to listen to what people know about it.

Well, up to a point, Lord Copper. The article provides no evidence that a majority of the citizens — in any local authority area, Dáil constituency or other political unit — shares the erudite and enlightened views of those who write letters to, or columns in, the Irish Times. In fact, given that the citizens have, over more than one hundred years, continued to elect large numbers of nitwits to the local authorities and, for almost a century, to the Dáil, it seems unlikely that democracy — genuine, local or otherwise — will ever produce the right answers.

Which may explain why so much power now resides elsewhere, in the hands of experts and courtiers, and why elected representatives are reduced to throwing the occasional tantrum, providing tea and sympathy and making empty promises that then come back to haunt them.

 

Tidal passage boats on the Suir

So late as the year 1807 the mail bags between Waterford and Clonmel were carried in a common cart and there was no public mode of conveyance between Carrick-on-Suir and Waterford but passage boats, the chief of which is well remembered as Tom Morrissey’s boat. These dropped from one town to the other as the tide served, fare fourpence a head, distance twelve miles, time occupied seven hours.

George Lewis Smyth Ireland: Historical and Statistical Vol II Whittaker and Co, London 1847, Chapter 14

Improvements at St John’s Pill, Waterford

Thanks to Brian Simpson for this update on the continuing resurrection of St John’s Pill [river] in Waterford.


Waterford Council had new fencing erected by Fairybush Landscaping Ltd around Cherrymount bridge and around the slip area. The Council also recently opened a beautiful greenway for pedestrians and cyclists along the St John’s river right into Waterford City Centre.

Our slipway at Cherrymount bridge was being eroded by heavy rainfall and
strong currents when the canal was swollen.

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The slipway

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The slipway fenced (but eroded)

In order to prevent further damage with the approach of autumn and winter, improvement works had to be carried out. With a low tide window for much of the day and a couple of dry days beforehand, Saturday 29 August 2015 was our perfect opportunity.

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Men at work

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our Chairman David Hayes [of David Hayes Engineering, Waterford] for organising the mixer, sand/gravel cement from Doyle Concrete

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Doyle Concrete

… and the concrete slabs and capping from Boyce Mulrooney, scrap merchant, Tramore Road, Waterford.

All the committee members who donated bags of cement, tools, ideas, labour and teamwork.

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Wade in the water

A great day was had and most importantly the slip is now much secure and pleasing to look at too.