Tag Archives: Clodiagh

A Bourne mystery

Here is an ad, from 1785, offering to let flour-mills at Portlaw, Co Waterford, and a bake-house in John Street, Waterford, to a “tenant possessed of abilities”.

The ad is interesting in several respects. First, although the location of the flour-mills is not clear, they may have preceded the iron-works, the famous Malcolmson cotton-mill and the later tannery on the site; they certainly seem to have used the water power of the Clodiagh.

Second, the ad suggests that flour could be carried from the mills by three rivers to Waterford: the Clodiagh, the Suir and St John’s Pill, which is another navigation featured on this site.

Third, the ad invites applications to be sent to either John Thomas Medlycott in Dublin or John Edwards Bourne in Mayfield, Waterford. The Post-Chaise Companion [4th ed] says

Within half a mile of Portlaw, on the L is Glen-house the seat of Mr Bourne.

At Portlaw are the extensive mills built by Edward May Esq, and about a quarter of mile beyond Portlaw on the L is a large house built by the same gentleman.

About a mile from Portlaw, on the R situated on the banks of the Suir, is Mayfield, the noble and delightful seat, with very extensive and beautiful demesnes and plantations, of William Watson Esq and on the L is Coolfin, the seat of the Rev Thomas Monck.

That puts a Mr Bourne in Portlaw, though in Glenhouse rather than Mayfield. The Glenhouse address is confirmed by Matthew Sleater in 1806.

But what interests me is whether the John Edwards Bourne mentioned in the ad is related to John Edwards Bourne of Dunkerrin, Co Offaly, formerly of Nenagh, Co Tipperary, who died in 1799 or so. The Offaly Bourne seems to have had four brothers and three sisters.

I would be glad to hear from anyone who knows anything about the Portlaw Bourne (or indeed any of the other Bournes). If you can help, please leave a Comment below.



Two more sisters

Members of the Heritage Boat Association have, in recent weeks, visited Piltown (Co Kilkenny) and Portlaw (Co Waterford) by barge, the first time in many years that large vessels have been up those rivers.

Many of the published accounts of Portlaw, including the Heritage Council’s Heritage Conservation Plan, pay inadequate attention to the navigation of the Clodiagh; it may have been even richer than we thought.

The HBA has a press release about some significant finds at Portlaw.

The owners of the barge Hawthorn joined other boats for the trips and wrote about them here:

Here is the relevant section of the OSI map for Portlaw (choose one of the Historic options). Here is where the Pil joins the Suir (zoomed out).

Here is my own article (in need of updating) about Portlaw and the Clodiagh.

Incidentally, I contend that the OSI maps are wrong in describing the gates on the canal as flood gates: they would open to, rather than close against, an incoming flood, and would prevent the discharge of an outgoing flood.


Deaths at Portlaw

On 7 April 2010 two canoeists were drowned at a weir in Portlaw, on the River Clodiagh. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board report on the matter has just been published. It says inter alia:

  • This weir cannot be run.
  • The design of this weir made it impassable regardless of the waterflow over it.
  • The weir at Portlaw is, by design, next to impossible to escape
    from without the use of lifebuoys and or an access ladder.

The report does not say who designed and built this weir or when it
was done. I have asked Waterford County Council for information.

According to the Irish Independent, the families of the canoeists are considering legal action.

Some news stories about weirs at Portlaw here, here and here.

Rockville navigator elected to Dáil

Ming Flanagan was the first to be elected a TD in the Roscommon South Leitrim constituency in the 2011 general election.

Ming launching himself on the Rockville Navigations

His sterling qualities were shown when, in September 2010, he kayaked down the Rockville Navigations, with a companion, to check this tourism and recreational resource (which I had brought to his attention in his capacity as Mayor of County Roscommon).

Another person on the side of righteousness is Paudie Coffey of Portlaw, mentioned favourably here; he was first home in Waterford, where he stood for Fine Gael.

The middle Suir, from Carrick-on-Suir to Waterford

This navigation is still used by pleasure boats, notably by the members of the Carrick-on-Suir Boat Club, but its once-busy commercial traffic has largely ceased; the final nail will be hammered in when the new Waterford bypass road-bridge crosses the Suir and prevents tankers from supplying Morris Oil at Fiddown. This account includes some historical material and photos taken on a trip downriver aboard the barge 31B.

I’m referring to it as the middle Suir as there was a horse-drawn navigation upstream from Carrick to Clonmel and of course ships can come up to Waterford from the sea (as well as more interesting vessels from the Nore and the Barrow).