Tag Archives: bridge

Limerick water levels 14 December 2015

The Abbey River

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Abbey Bridge

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Baal’s Bridge

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Mathew Bridge

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Current heading for Mathew Bridge

The Shannon in Limerick

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The weir

Plassey

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Lots of pumps running and equipment trundling about the place

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Trouble at t’mill

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T’millstream

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Cots on the bank

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The Black Bridge getting another hammering

Annacotty

I have been told that the Mulkear River rose very rapidly on Saturday night and that, at one time, it was feared that the (older) bridge would be swept away. I gather that folk working in other areas were called to Annacotty to deal with the emergency.

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The old bridge at Annacotty (downstream face)

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A tree in the water above the bridge

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There’s a weir in there somewhere

The Mill Bar in Annacotty was closed today after being flooded.

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The Mill Bar

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This, from a small garden beside the bridge, suggests that the Mulkear may have carried and deposited a lot of silt

The Park Canal

I gather that the Mulkear’s waters, added to those of the Shannon itself, raised the level of the Park Canal (the bottom section of the Limerick Navigation). A problem with opening the lock gates, to release the water, meant that a few houses in Corbally were flooded. A Sinn Féin councillor, whose party colleague has been responsible [with her southern counterpart] for slashing Waterways Ireland’s budget in recent years, is quoted as saying

I am in no doubt it was primarily caused by the ineptitude of Waterways Ireland.

Alas, the news story does not tell us the source of the councillor’s certainty.

The article also says that

[…] the force of this water meant it was not possible to open the lock gates by hand.

That is, I think, misleading: neither set of gates has gate beams, so they are not opened by hand.

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The upper gates in 2004, shortly after installation. Note the absence of gate beams. Note also the two sluices or paddles on each gate

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Control pedestal and gear

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The upper gates open today

I see no sign of the paddles or sluices. Perhaps the level is so high that they’re underwater. I must try to check next time I’m at the canal harbour.

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The upper gates in the floods of 2009

In the floods of 2009 the upper gates were held slightly open and all four sluices were discharging water. That would have lowered the level in the canal; it would also, I think, have made it easier to open the gates fully.

I am guessing, but I imagine that on Saturday night some sort of hydraulic machine was brought in this way …

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Two bollards have been moved from the gateway and stacked beside it

… and used to push or pull open the near-side upper gate. There seems to be some slight damage to the stone and iron work.

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Slight damage

One other possibility that struck me is that silt from the Mulkear might have built up behind the gates, making them difficult to open, but I have no evidence on the matter.

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The lower gates

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From the outside looking in

 

What’s a cumec, Daddy?

I don’t know, but here’s a picture of 415 of them flowing through Castleconnell. [Update 13 December: that may be only 405 cumec.]

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415 cumecs on 12 December 2015

Actually, a cumec is one cubic metre of water per second, which is roughly one ton per second, which is a lot of water. And 415 cumec is the amount that, according to the blatts, the ESB is currently letting down the original course of the Shannon from Parteen Villa Weir; the minimum flow in that channel, as seen in summer, is 10 cumec.

Castleconnell 12 December 2015

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Younger trees getting their feet wet

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Who’d have guessed?

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Below the bridge

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Above the bridge

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Stormont

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Pump

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Sandbags

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Sandbag Central

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Sandbags filled here for distribution

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Army engineers

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More equipment arriving

Clonlara 11 December 2015

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Ardnacrusha headrace, said to take 400 cumec

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Errina bridge on the Plassey-Errina Canal

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The stop planks seem to be quite effective …

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… as there is little water getting down the canal to Clonlara bridge

Park Canal 9 December 2015

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Depth gauge at Park Lock

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Lock chamber

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Full canal upstream

 

How true these words are …

… even today:

The swivel bridges at Portumna and Banagher seem to have been badly situated with regard to the passage of vessels, both being placed in the concave bend of the river which makes it difficult, in blowing weather, and going down stream, to shoot the bridge safely.

From the BNA

That is from the Clare Journal, and Ennis Advertiser of 12 September 1850. The swivel bridges of yesterday are the navigation arches of today. The deficiencies of the Shannon Commissioners’ work were evident as soon as they had completed it.

However, although the article from which the sentence was taken is a condemnation of the Shannon Commissioners, the Journal was mistaken in blaming them for Portumna: that bridge was not built by the Shannon Commissioners.

The sinking of the Longford 6

Here is the sixth and final page on the sinking of the passage boat Longford on the Royal Canal on 25 November 1845. This page is about who was steering the boat and why the steerer was unable to avoid the accident.

The price of fifteen lives was 1p.

 

The sinking of the Longford 4 and 5

Here are the fourth and fifth pages [I split one long page] in the sequence of articles about the sinking of the passage boat Longford on the Royal Canal in 1845. They discuss some of the evidence of corporate incompetence and farcical laxity that may have persuaded the inquest jury to award a deodand against the vessel (and thus against the Royal Canal Company).

Amongst other gems, the footnotes explain what a crapper is.

The sinking of the Longford 3

Here is the third page in the sequence about the sinking of the passage boat Longford on the Royal Canal in 1845. This page, The deodand, covers the inquest and the trial.

The sinking of the Longford 2

Here is the second page of the saga. This one gives background information about the passage boat service, the boats and the crew of the Longford. The shock-horror stuff will be in later pages.

Swimming in the Naller

On 22 September 2015 Eric Byrne [Labour, Dublin South Central] put a written question to the Minister for Fairytales:

To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to review the no swimming in locks and harbours under the by-law within the Canals Act by-laws of 1988 in view of the fact that there is no penalty for ignoring such signs; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

The minister replied:

I have been informed by Waterways Ireland that while it has not determined a need for an associated penalty with this by-law at this time, the matter is being kept under review. I am advised also that the locks, docks and harbours are manned and/or frequently visited by Waterways Ireland Operations and Inspectorate Authorised Officers. Where swimmers are encountered, they are made aware of the by-law provision and the dangers of swimming in or near canal infrastructure and they are requested to remove themselves from the navigation. Such requests are normally acceded to. In the event of persistent offender(s) unwilling to obey direction from Waterways Ireland Authorised Officers, the assistance of An Garda Síochána is sought to remedy the situation.

Sometimes I wonder whether politicians have any grasp on reality. Swimmers in the Naller are a force of nature and are as far beyond the control of Waterways Ireland, the police and indeed politicians as hurricanes, the economy or Mick Wallace. People have been swimming in the canals, in Dublin and no doubt elsewhere, for generations, and nothing or nobody has been able to stop them.

I suspect that more people have swum in the canals than have ever boated on them; swimming is therefore a legitimate topic for waterways studies. Here is a preliminary contribution to the field.

Leisure industries in Mullingar

From the Waterford Chronicle 21 October 1843 quoting the Athlone Sentinel:

An unfortunate female was thrown over the bridge at Mullingar into the canal, on Friday night, by some of her unfortunate companions, and was drowned. An inquest was held on the body, when a verdict of wilful murder was returned against six females, three of whom have been taken.

From the BNA

Grand Canal passage-boat

Here is an account, published in 1862, of what it was like to travel from Portobello, in Dublin, to Ballinasloe by the Grand Canal Company’s passage-boats — and of why rail travel was much to be preferred.