Tag Archives: Carrick-on-Suir

State of trade on the River Suir [1842]

People who read this will hardly believe that such a state of things, as it details, can exist in any portion of the British dominions; and yet, in the year 1842, undoubtedly in Ireland, and in Ireland only, can we find such facts — positive facts.

It is still more surprising to find that this extraordinary state of things should exist on a river on which a very considerable export and import trade passes — and yet so it is.

A fair challenge to the Chambers of Commerce of Clonmel and Waterford is now given. Let them deny the following data, if they can, seriatim, honestly and plainly:—

  1. That the boat trade between Clonmel and Waterford is in the hands of so few persons that it is, in truth and fact, a monopoly to all intents and purposes.
  2. That those corn factors, who export their produce by these boats, are allowed to import coal, iron, timber, groceries, or other goods, at a lower rate of freight than merchants or shopkeepers, who only import those articles, and do not export.
  3. That combination exists amongst the boatmen to such an extent, that they are, in point of fact and truth, the masters of the river, and have in reality succeeded in their “strikes”.
  4. That only a certain fixed number of boats are allowed to ply on the river, and that when a new boat is built, part of an old boat must be worked up into the new one.
  5. That although great improvements have been effected at Carrick in deepening the river, and thus bringing up vessels to the new quay there, the boatmen of Clonmel and Carrick will not navigate any boats from Clonmel which are to ship their cargoes at Carrick, but they insist and do take such boats on to Waterford.
  6. That when the bill for the Limerick and Waterford railway passed, and £100000 was granted in aid — which railway was to pass through Carrick, Clonmel, Caher, and Tipperary — not one merchant in Clonmel took a share.
  7. That the exports of Waterford amount to above two millions annually, a considerable proportion of which is the produce of the vally [sic] of the Suir, and descends that river.
  8. That the state of the river Suir, as a navigation, between Clonmel and Carrick, is the worst in Ireland; that the import trade in these boats is dragged up the river by horses; that great delays take place, to such an extent, that the import trade suffers most considerably, to the detriment of every person in the community.
  9. That the expenses of the towing path &c fall upon the county at large.

Can it then be matter of surprise that, under such circumstances, Ireland is so much behind hand as she is?

Dublin Evening Mail 28 March 1842

Big Knock

During the past month business at the Larne Shipbuilding Works has been exceedingly brisk, and the carrying out of new orders is still proceeding apace. […] There was launched on the 19th inst one steel motor barge, 70 X 16 X 7 feet, and fitted with 40 BHP Bolinder engines, to consume crude oil. The barge was built to the order of Messrs E Dowley & Sons, Ltd, of Carrick-on-Suir.

[…] The motor engines are installed by Bright’s Patent Pulley Co, Portadown.

Larne Times and Weekly Telegraph
22 February 1913

I don’t have the dimensions of the Big Knocknagow, but 70 X 16 is larger than the Little Knocknagow, so I suspect that this shows that the Big Knock was built in Larne and launched in 1913.

No doubt information about the origins of the Little Knock will turn up at some stage.

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.

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.


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

River Suir

My spies tell me that the RTE television programme Nationwide, to be broadcast on Wednesday 13 May 2015 at 7.00pm, will include some material about the River Suir and perhaps some footage of a former tug-barge, the Knocknagow, that plied thereon.

Crossing the Barrow

The trackway [towing-path] on the River Barrow changes from the east {left) bank to the west at Leighlinbridge and back again at Graiguecullen/Carlow.

It seems to me that there may have been some difficulties in getting horse-drawn boats from one side of the river to the other and I have found no evidence on how it was done, so here is some speculation instead.

Boat Trade on the Barrow


Dublin to and from Waterford

The Public are respectfully informed that the Boats of the BARROW NAVIGATION COMPANY call regularly each week to and from the above-mentioned Towns, say on the Mornings of MONDAY and THURSDAY, at Three o’Clock, making TWO deliveries weekly at each end.

The Company having selected Men of the besst characters as Masters of their Boats, they engage the safe delivery of all Goods forwarded, and hope by moderate charges and dispatch to give satisfaction.

GOODS FOR ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND to be forwarded by these Boats, should be directed to the Agents of the Company.

Goods can be forwarded by careful carriers to the following towns, viz:

Graigue To
To Ross Carrick-on-Suir
Borris Clonmel
Innistiogue To Dungarvan
Thomastown Dunmore
Enniscorthy Ballyhack
Wexford Tramore

For further particulars, apply to the Company’s Agents

Mr JOHN KELLY, Grand Canal Harbour, Dublin

Mr JOHN M’DONNELL, Custom-House Quay and Lower Thomas-street, Waterford

Mr M W CARR, New Ross

Mr M RYAN, Graigue

Or to the Secretary of the Company, P D LaTOUCHE, Esq, Castle-street, Dublin

Waterford Chronicle 4 November 1854

Carrick-on-Suir to Clonmel towing-path

Messrs RPS, consulting engineers, have been asked by South Tipperary County Council

… to design a minimal impact walking & cycling greenway route along the towpath of the River Suir between the towns of Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir.

I have written about this stretch of the river here, so I was pleased to be asked to submit some comments and I welcomed the proposal. I made three suggestions, commenting more on principles than on details, which local people would know more about than I do.

First, I said that the heritage artefacts along the route should be protected and, if possible, explained. That might be done unobtrusively by making online information available to those equipped with smartphones. Such systems are used by the Canal & River Trust in Britain (here’s an example) and I understand that there have been experiments in using them on the Royal Canal here.

Second, I said that use by walkers requires more than a good trail: walkers also need safe parking places for their cars and information about public transport services that will return them to their starting-points. Car parks themselves need not be along the greenway but the information has to be provided there.

Third, there is scope for more use of the waterway itself, especially by canoes, kayaks and rafts, as well as by anglers. While such uses are (I imagine) outside RPS’s brief, I thought that it would be better to take account now of the needs of such users, and to ensure that the engineering would be able to cater for them in the future (I was not proposing that facilities necessarily be provided now), rather than to have to re-engineer the greenway later. My main concern was provision for enhanced access by rescue services, and Carrick-on-Suir River Rescue would probably be the best people to comment on that. I also suggested that a certain amount of unobtrusive hard edging along the towing-path might be of assisstance to boaters.

If you’ve looked at my page on this section of the Suir, you’ll know that it’s very scenic. Up to now, not all of the route has been accessible and making it so is a Good Thing — and at relatively low cost.