Category Archives: waterways

Before there was Effin

The name Effin Bridge has been given, in jest, to the lifting railway-bridge that crosses the Royal Canal just below Newcomen Bridge in Dublin. Here is an article about the bridges that preceded Effin Bridge at that site.

Around the Blackwater

That’s the Munster Blackwater. For some time I have had a page about it here, based on a boat trip from Youghal to (and a little beyond) Cappoquin and on road trips to the Bride and the Lismore Canal.

I thought it would be useful to visit the Blackwater by road, driving around the lower portion from Cappoquin to the Youghal Bridge and back again to visit the various quays and to see what could be seen from the land rather than the water.

I have put up a page here; it has links to individual pages on the places we visited (with photos). You can move from place to place on that page or follow the links on the bottoms of the individual pages to follow a clockwise route around the lower Blackwater from Cappoquin to the Youghal Bridge on the east side and back up on the west side.

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.

Blanchardstown Mills

County Dublin: a bleach and flour mill

To be sold or let for such term as may be agreed upon, a Plot of Ground, on the north side of the Royal Canal, adjoining the 12th Lock, containing 1 acre 1 rood [illegible] on which a considerable sum of Money has been expended in erecting a Bleach and Flour Mill, together with the waste and superfluous water at the 12th Lock on the Royal Canal, which gives an inexhaustible supply of water in the dryest season to the Mill, which, in every respect, is well circumstanced for a Manufactory or Flour Mill.

These Concerns lie immediately adjoining the Canal Bridge, on the new road leading to Blanchers-town [sic] at the 12th Lock, about three miles from the City of Dublin.

There is a person on the premises who will show them, and proposals in writing will be received by Henry Cosgrave, Esq, No 64, Eccles street.

Dublin Mercantile Advertiser, and Weekly Price Current 31 July 1826

New header pic 1 June 2020

Granny, on the Suir above Waterford, at dusk

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.

Header photo 20191202

Looking towards Clondra Lock.

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.