Tag Archives: bridge

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.

Shannon traffic figures to May 2015

I am grateful to Waterways Ireland for letting me have the Shannon traffic figures for the first five months of 2015. All the usual caveats apply:

  • the underlying figures do not record total waterways usage (even for the Shannon) as, for instance, sailing, fishing or waterskiing on lakes or river stretches, which did not involve a passage through a lock or Portumna Bridge, would not be recorded
  • the passage records would not show, for instance, a change in the balance of types of activities from those in larger cruising boats to those in smaller (sailing, fishing, waterskiing) boats
  • figures like these will not necessarily be representative of those for the year as a whole. The winter months, January to March, see little traffic in any year; for April, May and June, the weather can have a large influence on the amount of activity especially, I suspect, in private boats.

On the other hand, the figures do include the Shannon’s most significant tourism activity, the cruiser hire business. And they are our only consistent long-term indicator of usage of the inland waterways.

The big news is that there is an increase in the amount of hire-boat traffic and a decrease in the amount of private traffic. [Personal observation suggests very little activity on Lough Derg, apart from the sailing bods.]

Shannon traffic Jan to May 2015 all boats

All boats. Note the slight increase in total traffic — or is it a dead-cat bounce?

Shannon traffic Jan to May 2015 hire boats

The increase comes from hire-boat traffic …

Shannon traffic Jan to May 2015 private boats

… as private-boat traffic is down on last year

Shannon traffic Jan to May 2015 compared with 2003

Nonetheless, hire-boat traffic is still close to 40% of what it was in 2003, with no sign of a major recovery

Shannon traffic Jan to May 2015 private -v- hire

But, at least for April and May, hire boats are the major users of the Shannon

In January, 18 boat passages were recorded, 9 of them at Portumna Bridge. There were 20 passages in February and 362 in March. Is there any point in keeping the Shannon open throughout the winter?

In the first five months, 11 boats used Sarsfield Lock, the sea-lock in Limerick. There were 88 passages through Pollboy Lock on the River Suck. On the Lough Allen Canal, 96 boats went through Battlebridge Lock, 95 through Drumleague and only 38 through Drumshanbo. These branches can’t be paying their way.

 

On the Pill

Brian Simpson has kindly sent me photos of the small-boat rally on St John’s Pill (River) in Waterford at the end of May; I’ve put them on this page.

Mathew Bridge

In the news again.

Please don’t look at these photos

I regret to say that I have published, on these pages, several photos of the Shannon, Parteen Villa Weir, Ardnacrusha hydroelectric power station and its headrace and tailrace canals.

The storage basin between the road bridge over the River Shannon at Killaloe and the weir and canal intake at Parteen, including the right and left embankments constructed to form the said storage basin, together with the land outside and along the said right embankment delimited and separated from the adjoining land by post and wire fencing and also the land outside and, along the said left embankment delimited by the left bank of the Kilmastulla River Diversion.

Parteen Villa Weir from the embankment upstream (2008)

Parteen Villa Weir from the embankment upstream (2008)

The flooded area above Parteen Villa Weir

The flooded area above Parteen Villa Weir

The weir and canal intake, the embankments constructed to form abutments to the said intakes, the syphon under the said canal intake, and adjoining lands inside and bounded by post and wire fencing.

Parteen Villa Weir

Parteen Villa Weir

Parteen Villa Weir from upstream

Parteen Villa Weir from upstream

The six sluices controlling discharges down the old course of the river

The six sluices controlling discharges down the old course of the river

The head race between the canal intake and the power station including the right and left embankments constructed to form the said head race, together with the land outside and along the said embankments delimited and separated from the adjoining land by post and wire fencing, and also the road bridges over and the syphons and culverts under the said race.

The headrace from the bridge at Clonlara 20 November 2009

The headrace from the bridge at Clonlara 20 November 2009

The headrace from the bridge at O'Briensbridge 22 November 2009

The headrace from the bridge at O’Briensbridge 22 November 2009

The power station, the intake to the said power station, the locks and all adjoining buildings and land within the area around the said power station, all of which are delimited and separated from the adjoining land by post and wire fencing.

The upper chamber at Ardnacrusha lock

The upper chamber at Ardnacrusha lock

Ardnacrusha: looking up at the top chamber from the bottom

Ardnacrusha: looking up at the top chamber from the bottom

The penstocks that feed the turbines at Ardnacrusha

The penstocks that feed the turbines at Ardnacrusha

Ardnacrusha power station from the headrace

Ardnacrusha power station from the headrace

The fishpass

The fishpass

The tail race from the power station to the River Shannon, the branch railway running along the said tail race, and the land on either side of the said tail race, all of which are delimited and separated from the adjoining land by post and wire fencing.

Outflow

Outflow

And I have lots more photos … here and here and here, which I ask readers not to look at either.

You see the thing is, Your Honour, Sir, I didn’t know. I didn’t realise that, under Statutory Instrument 73 of 1935 Shannon Electricity Works (Declaration of Prohibited Place) Order 1935, the places as described are prohibited places under paragraph (d) of Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act 1911, as amended by the Official Secrets Act 1920, and as adapted by or under the Adaptation of Enactments Act 1922 (No 2 of 1922). That’s because

information with respect thereto, or the destruction or obstruction thereof, or interference therewith, would be useful to an enemy.

Apparently, under those acts, giving anyone information about a prohibited place is a felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to fourteen years.

Wikipedia says that, in Ireland, those acts were repealed by the Official Secrets Act 1963, but was the statutory instrument repealed? I don’t know, but I’ve written to the Department of Justice to ask.

In the meantime, please don’t look at the photos, especially if you’re a Foreign Agent: a term that, under the 1963 act,

includes any person who is or has been or is reasonably suspected of being or having been employed by a foreign power either directly or indirectly for the purpose of committing an act (whether within or outside the State) prejudicial to the safety or preservation of the State, or who has or is reasonably suspected of having (whether within or outside the State) committed or attempted to commit any such act.

I wonder whether that includes the European Central Bank.

Bloody Fianna Fáil …

… obviously didn’t get the memo. [They didn’t get the marriage equality memo either, thus losing one of their better people — who needs to update the banner under her photos.] But a nos moutons ….

According to Northern Sound, Monaghan County Council wants the Monaghan Minister for Fairytales, Heather Humphreys, to meet her Northern Ireland counterpart, the Minister for Marching Bands [and boxing clubs, football stadiums and various other things about which MLAs ask questions: they’re as bad as TDs], to do something about the Clones Sheugh.

I suspect this means that FF, and perhaps the citizens of Monaghan, have realised that, despite the Momentous Day on the Ulster Canal [oops: sorry; not that one, this one], the Clones Sheugh has been hijacked by Co Cavan and is not actually going to reach Co Monaghan in the foreseeable future [which means until the next round of election promises].

As far as I can see, the deal was that Sinn Féin would shut up about the Sheugh provided that they got photos of activity before the UKoGB&NI general election. By nicking the money from other navigations in WI’s budget, the Minister for Fairytales was able to deliver the photos. And, as far as Google Alerts can tell, there hasn’t been a word about the Sheugh from the Shinners, north or south, since then. Of course I could be wrong about the deal and, if both departments will send me their full files on the subject, I’ll be happy to use that evidence to correct the story.

Now, though, a Fianna Fáil councillor in Monaghan has

… put forward the motion requesting the Ministers to meet to advance the project and asking Sinn Féin and Fine Gael members of the council to arrange the meeting urgently.

I don’t suppose he’d be trying to embarrass the parties that made the deal, would he? [If they did make a deal, of course, which they may not have, but we won’t know until the departments send on their files.]

SF has 7 members on Monaghan County Council, FG 5, FF 4 and there are two non-party members.

Speaking of parties, or their aftermath, a thought struck me:

Ulster Canal 01 whole_resize

Fianna Fáil’s original conception for the Sheugh: bold, upstanding, thrusting …

Ulster Canal 04 whole_resize

The current plan: brewer’s droop