Some folk have been sailing on the Thames in a boat made of cardboard.
Over two hundred years ago, Isaac Weld navigated the lakes of Killarney in a boat made of brown paper:
Whilst engaged in illustrating the scenery of that beautiful locality, Mr Weld derived additional pleasure from the occupation, in introducing a young and amiable wife to scenes so familiar to himself. To facilitate their rambles, and profiting by his Canadian adventures and his skill as a “voyageur“, he constructed with his own hands the model of an Indian canoe. In the absence, however, of birch bark, he had recourse to successive layers of stout brown paper, creating a sort of papier-maché boat, sufficiently roomy for two. In this paper skiff he actually had the hardihood to intrust himself and fair companion in sundry adventurous voyages on the Lakes.
That is from “Mr Foot’s Memoir of the late Isaac Weld, Esq” in The Journal of the Royal Dublin Society Volume I 1856–57 Hodges, Smith & Co, Dublin 1858. Wikipedia offers a shorter account of the life of the remarkable Mr Weld. His Statistical Survey of the County of Roscommon, Royal Dublin Society 1832, is an invaluable source of information about the Shannon and the Royal Canal, but Mr Weld is also notable for his voyage, along with his equally adventurous wife, on the steamer Thames [originally Argyle] from Dublin to London in 1815. There are brief accounts of the journey here and here; the captain, George Dodd, wrote a book An Historical and Explanatory Dissertation on Steam-Engines and Steam-Packets; with the evidence in full given by the most eminent engineers, mechanists, and manufacturers, to the Select Committees of the House of Commons; togerther with the Committees’ reports, distinguishing and defining safe and unsafe steam-engines, and their proper management: comprising particulars of the fatal explosions of boilers at Norwich, Northumberland, Wells-street, and in America: concluding with a narrative, by Isaac Weld Esq, of the interesting voyage of the Thames steam-yacht, from Glasgow, in Scotland, to Dublin and London [published for the author, London 1818] available here, and Isaac Weld’s account is available here. Mrs Weld may have been the first woman to take an extended sea voyage in a steam vessel.
Posted in Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Foreign parts, Historical matters, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Passenger traffic, People, Sea, Sources, Steamers, Tourism
Tagged Argyle, brown paper, canoe, Clyde, Dublin, George Dodd, Glasgow, Isaac Weld, Killarney, Lakes of Killarney, London, Roscommon, Royal Dublin Society, steam, Thames, voyageur
I am grateful to Liam Kelly for sending me this photo of a steamer on the Shannon. He says that the photo is believed to show a steamer belonging to Lord Granard (Bernard Forbes, 8th Earl of Granard) passing through Lanesborough Bridge in 1900.
Here is a map showing Lanesborough and Castle Forbes.
Lanesborough and Lough Forbes (OSI ~1840)
And here is Castle Forbes shown in relation to Lough Forbes.
Castle Forbes and Lough Forbes (OSI ~1900)
According to a programme reproduced on page 200 of Ruth Delany’s The Shannon Navigation (Lilliput Press, Dublin 2008), Lord Granard (Right Hon the Earl of Granard, KP, GCVO) was Commodore of the 1929 Lough Forbes Regatta, held under the auspices of the North Shannon Yacht Club Flag and the Motor Yacht Club of Ireland. Page 197 of the same work has a photo of a North Shannon Yacht Club regatta on Lough Boderg in 1903; it includes a large steam yacht, but with a white rather than a black hull.
The Fairy Queen
Page 181 of the same work has a photo of a passenger steamer, the Fairy Queen, one of the six operated by the Shannon Development Company, which was set up in 1897: the Fairy Queen and the Shannon Queen worked the confined waters of the Shannon above Athlone. The same photo of the Fairy Queen can be seen here.
To my eye, the steamer in the Lanesborough photo looks rather like the Fairy Queen, although I don’t think I could go so far as to suggest that they are one and the same. They’re shown from different angles and, anyway, similarities between steamers of the same era are to be expected. The reason I comment on the matter is that, while looking into the history of the Fairy Queen, I found that the invaluable Clydebuilt Ships Database had a photo of the 1893 Fairy Queen that served on the Shannon (not to be confused with her 1897 replacement). And, again to my eye, the Fairy Queen in the Scottish photo does not seem to be the same as that in the Irish photo. I would welcome other people’s comments on the matter.
The story is here. There is more on the family’s collection of animals here.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Natural heritage, Operations, Shannon, Steamers, Tourism, waterways
Tagged boats, Castle Forbes, Clyde, Earl of Granard, fairy queen, Forbes, Ireland, Lanesboro, Lanesborough, Lord Granard, Lough Forbes, motor yacht, Newtownforbes, Shannon, squirrel, steam yacht, steamer, vessels, waterways