Some weeks ago Redmond O’Brien left a comment here; later he very kindly sent some photos. I have interspersed comment and pics here.
Today, while cycling on the Greenway along the Suir, I noticed a small pier and harbour by Mount Congreve.
Is anything known about this? Possibly used by Mount Congreve at some time? A rather unusual design. The pier/quay is rectangular with stone steps on the upriver side.
On the downriver side of the pier is a small rectangular harbour with a wall enclosing the side opposite the pier.
I wondered whether the pier or quay might have anything to do with the Christmas Canals, which Anthony M Sheedy said were “a joint effort between the Two Estates to bring irrigation into the Mount Congreve Estate”. I emailed the Mount Congreve Estate to ask if they knew anything about it, but I had no reply.
I also wondered whether the enclosed area might be for smaller boats, which might be transhipping cargoes to or from larger vessels tied at the end of the pier, quay or wharf. However, all of that is speculation.
The pier or wharf is shown on the 6″ Ordnance Survey map.
It also appears on the 25″ map of around 1900.
Here’s a close-up.
I have found nothing about this in Charles Smith’s The Ancient and Present State of the County and City of Waterford or anywhere else, save for one possible clue in an article “Rambles by Road and by Rail” published in the Waterford Mail on 3 December 1862 and in the Waterford News on 12 December 1862 (both on the British Newspaper Archive), but originally from the Farmers’ Gazette. The article, part of a series, is about Mount Congreve. It begins:
There is scarcely an individual in Waterford or Tramore who does not know Mount Congreve, the beautifully situated residence of John Congreve Esq, in consequence of the free permission given by that gentleman to those who may wish at any time to visit his grounds. It is, consequently, the regular resort during summer and autumn of pleasure parties from Waterford and Tramore, those visiting it from Waterford generally preferring to sail up the Suir to the place, handy quays being erected at different parts of the grounds for the accommodation of visitors.
No doubt the quays could accommodate visitors, but a later part of the article offers a more plausible explanation for the existence of the handy quays:
Four large lime kilns are kept constantly at work during summer, one of them being generally working all the year round, not so much as a matter of profit, as for the purpose of affording employment and of supplying Mr Congreve’s tenants and others in the neighbourhood with lime at moderate rates. The limestone is brought from Mr Congreve’s property on the county Kilkenny side of the Suir, as there is no limestone on the county of Waterford side, and the navigable capabilities of that river enables vessels to discharge their cargoes of culm just at the kilns, thereby effecting a considerable saving in point of carriage. One way or other, a considerable number of people are employed by Mr Congreve in connection with his lime works, besides being of great service to the neighbourhood.
The 6″ OSI map shows what may be the handy quays here (they’re easier to see on the black and white version). And if you switch to Historic 25″ you’ll see even more round objects, with the legend LK, which I take to mean Lime Kiln.
However, the kilns are some way downstream of the wharf, and it has no LK legend or round objects near it. There are, though, some LKs just a little way up the Christmas canals.
But this is speculation, and I would be glad to hear from anyone who knows anything about the wharf on the Suir.