Tag Archives: Ballina

Dunally Line

The Birdhill Tidy Towns group has a heritage trail on its website and it was there that I first heard of the Dunally Line, AKA the R496. Tipperary North Riding County Council also uses the name [.DOC] and it is also used in several places on OpenStreetMap.

I would like to know more about the date, purpose and circumstances of the construction of the Dunally Line.

Killaloe bridge

More on the new bridge here with the full public notice here [PDF]. Interesting to see how many of the names of landowners are known to me.

I see on page 6 of the notice that the ESB owns two rivers, which are occupied by the ESB, Waterways Ireland, the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland and other unknown persons. There is a canal, whose owners are unknown, which is occupied by WI, IWAI and the persons unknown, as is an island. I do hope that the council will return the canal, rivers and island when they’ve built the bridge.

Killaloe and Ballina

Nice to see they’re going to get a Discover Day.


The installation of the new pontoon, the flood control gates (flash lock) and the walkway continues apace.

Walkway (left) and pontoon from the lockhouse

The lower (nearer) section of pontoon may be for the lakeboat hire business

Boats mooring on the lower end of the pontoon, and turning to approach upstream, may get quite close to the bridge. The navigation markers may confuse too: perhaps they’ll be relocated.

The flood control gates (flash lock?)

From upstream (and uphill)

It all looks very nice. There are lots of people working on site.

Ephemera 10: the pontoons at Ballina

Do my eyes deceive me?

The still-unopened mooring pontoons below the bridge at Ballina (bottom of Lough Derg) seem to have sprouted an extension.

Here is what they looked like in 2009.

The upstream end of the Ballina pontoons in February 2009

Here they are in the floods of November 2009.

The upstream end of the Ballina pontoons in the floods of November 2009

And here they are in January 2011, seen from downriver.

The upstream end of the Ballina pontoons in January 2011

Well I never.




Anguilla anguilla: the ESB eel fishery

This photo shows an eel spear from the National Folklife Collection‘s overflow material, stored in the former “reformatory” at Daingean, on the Grand Canal in Co Offaly. There were many spears there, with different designs from different rivers. This one, to judge from the label underneath it, came from the extraordinarily prolific and observant Dr A E J Went.

If you look at pretty well any Irish river on the 1840s Ordnance Survey map (here’s the Shannon at Killaloe; switch to Historic 6″ if necessary), or indeed on the 1900s map (same URL but switch to Historic 25″), you’ll find evidence of eel weirs. Ireland’s shortest canal was built to allow the eel-boats of Anthony Mackey’s fleet to reach the trains at Banagher.

But the European eel is a “critically endangered species” and all eel fishing has been banned in Ireland. As far as I know, though, the Lough Neagh fishery, in Northern Ireland, continues.

The Electricity Supply Board (ESB) is in charge of the eel fishery on the River Shannon. It has nets and a storage unit (packing station) at Killaloe and, until recently, it also had nets at Clonlara on the headrace supplying the power station at Ardnacrusha; the Clonlara nets have just been removed. This page is about the Clonlara and Killaloe operations, but includes a look at an eel survey conducted for the ESB in 2008, before eel fishing was banned in Ireland. The aim now is to make it easy for eels to reach the sea to reproduce, and that sometimes involves “trap and transport”: catching the eels and moving them past obstacles, whether on their way to the sea or, for the young glass eels, on their way upriver.

The photos on this page are a tribute to what was an important activity on the Shannon. I hope that the European eel stocks can recover.

Fiat lux

Here is a page for photos in which the main interest is the light. More photos will be added in time.

From the Pierhead

Ballina and Killaloe May 2010