Tag Archives: cot

Down the Nore from Castletown

Seventeenth-century transport on the Nore from Castletown to Ross and Waterford.

Delegated authority in the ESB

Just over a year ago, in June 2015, I wrote — at some length — about the right to navigate the Shannon through Castleconnell, Co Limerick. A member of the staff of the ESB fisheries department told me

The legislation empowering ESB to regulate activity on the Shannon is contained in the Shannon Fisheries Act 1935 – Section 9.1 (D).

That accorded with my own untutored understanding: according to Section 9 (1) (d) the Board is empowered to

(d) terminate, restrict, or otherwise interfere with, either permanently or temporarily and either compulsorily or by agreement, any easement, way-leave, water-right, fishing right, or other right over or in respect of any land or water[.]

However, I responded to the ESB pointing out that the existence of a power does not prove that the power has been exercised, much less that it has been exercised validly. I asked for information on (inter alia)

 

[…] what strategic decisions the Board has made on this subject, or what decision-making powers it has conferred on its fisheries staff […]

whether the Board has actually decided to “terminate, restrict, or otherwise interfere with, either permanently or temporarily and either compulsorily or by agreement, any easement, way- leave, water-right, fishing right, or other right over or in respect of any land or water”

if it has so decided, what the details of the decision are: details both of its making and of its application [.]

 

The Act gave the ESB a power, but the power has to be exercised properly and there must be a record of the making of the decision. I have had no reply to my queries, and my working hypothesis is therefore that the ESB has not validly terminated, restricted or interfered with the right to navigate the Shannon at Castleconnell. If I receive evidence to the contrary, I will of course change my view.

One part of the problem is that the Act gives the power to the Board and, in my view, employees of the Board cannot of themselves decide to exercise that power unless the Board has validly delegated the power to them. The fisheries department cannot close the navigation unless the Board explicitly gave them the power to do so.

A case at the Court of Appeal, reported in the Irish Times today [11 July 2016: the article may disappear behind a paywall at some stage], seems to support that view [although I am not a lawyer: please consult your own legal advisers]. The relevant paragraph is

The board was entitled to delegate the power to issue wayleave notices to its chief executive but was not entitled to “sub-delegate” to the chief executive power to authorise such other persons as he deemed appropriate to issue wayleave notices, Mr Justice Brian Cregan held. Any such persons had to be directly authorised by the board.

I suggest that the same may apply to fisheries and navigation. If the navigation at Castleconnell was validly terminated, restricted or interfered with, either the Board took that decision itself or it explicitly delegated the power to do so to the fisheries department (or someone else). In either case, there should be a Board minute on the matter and it should be possible for the fisheries department to cite that minute.

 

Castle-Connell Regatta

To take place on 1st and 2nd Oct, 1850

First days race

£        s        d

1st For all Four Oared Gigs                                                5        0        0
Entrance                                                                                0       10        0
Second boat to save entrance money

2nd For all First Class Cots                                                3        0        0
Entrance                                                                                0        5        0
Second Boat                                                                          0      15        0

3rd For all Fishing Cots to be rowed down stream and polled back with 2 Polls
First Boat                                                                              2       10        0
Second do                                                                             0       15        0
Entrance Each                                                                     0         2        6

4th For all Cots to be paddled down River with 2 Paddles and polled back with 2 Polls
First Boat                                                                              1       10        0
Second Boat                                                                         0         7        6

Second Day’s Race

First — For all Four Oared Gigs                                       4        0        0
Entrance                                                                                0        2        6
Second Boat to save Entrance Money

Second — For all Fishing Cots to be rowed with
two oars and a paddle                                                        2        0        0
Second Cot                                                                           0       10        0
Entrance                                                                               0         2        6

Third Race — For all Fishing Cots to be rowed
down the river with two oars and paddled
and polled back with two poles                                       1        10        0
Second Boat                                                                        0        10        0
Entrance                                                                              0          2        6

Fourth Race — For all Fishing Cots with
one paddle                                                                           1          0        0
Second Boat                                                                        0          5        0
Six to start or no race

NB No Race for any of the above Plates, unless 3 Boats start.

The decision of the Stewards to be final in all cases, and by whom the distance on the river will be laid out.

Boats for the First Race to start at Ten o’Clock precisely, and to be entered at Mr Wilson’s before Ten o’Clock each day.

An Ordinary at Wilson’s Hotel each day.

There will be a Ball at the Old Assembly Rooms, of which further notice will be given on Saturday.

Stewards

Sir Richard De Burgho, Bart
Colonel Vandeleur
Captain Wyndham 1st Royals
S Vansittart 1st Royals
A Vincent Esq
A W Heard Esq

Limerick and Clare Examiner 25 September 1850

From the British Newspaper Archive run by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited, in partnership with the British Library.

 

Crime at Castleconnell

Charles Connors, of Castleconnell, cot builder, has been committed to Killaloe bridewell, for violating the person of a servant girl on Monday morning, at the Doonass side. He crossed the river in a boat, upon the pretence of ferrying her over, and then committed the offence.

Tipperary Vindicator 9 December 1859

From the British Newspaper Archive run by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited, in partnership with the British Library.

Drowning at Doonass

Melancholy and distressing accident

By a Letter received at our Office, from Doonas, County Limerick, we regret to announce a melancholy accident having happened on Sunday the 9th inst in that neighbourhood. Mrs Massey, the wife of the Hon William Massy accompanied by her butler and two boatmen were attempting to cross the Shannon to Sir Hugh Masseys, where Mrs Massey was to dine. The evening was dark, accompanied by a dense fog, the boatmen lost their way, the boat was carried down by the current, and precipitated over the Leap, and melancholy to relate the entire party in the boat were drowned. During the entire of yesterday, the boatmen at Castleconnell were dragging for the bodies, but without success.

So dense was the fog that on the road between Kilmastulla, and Sallymount, the guard of the Coach was obliged to walk for upwards of 3 miles of the road, at the heads of the leading horses, and the coach agent was obliged to send a man on horseback with a lantern in his hand before the coach as far as Newcastle.

Dublin Mercantile Advertiser, and Weekly Price Current 17 January 1831

From the British Newspaper Archive run by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited, in partnership with the British Library.

Limerick water levels 14 December 2015

The Abbey River

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Abbey Bridge

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Baal’s Bridge

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Mathew Bridge

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Current heading for Mathew Bridge

The Shannon in Limerick

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The weir

Plassey

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Lots of pumps running and equipment trundling about the place

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Trouble at t’mill

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T’millstream

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Cots on the bank

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The Black Bridge getting another hammering

Annacotty

I have been told that the Mulkear River rose very rapidly on Saturday night and that, at one time, it was feared that the (older) bridge would be swept away. I gather that folk working in other areas were called to Annacotty to deal with the emergency.

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The old bridge at Annacotty (downstream face)

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A tree in the water above the bridge

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There’s a weir in there somewhere

The Mill Bar in Annacotty was closed today after being flooded.

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The Mill Bar

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This, from a small garden beside the bridge, suggests that the Mulkear may have carried and deposited a lot of silt

The Park Canal

I gather that the Mulkear’s waters, added to those of the Shannon itself, raised the level of the Park Canal (the bottom section of the Limerick Navigation). A problem with opening the lock gates, to release the water, meant that a few houses in Corbally were flooded. A Sinn Féin councillor, whose party colleague has been responsible [with her southern counterpart] for slashing Waterways Ireland’s budget in recent years, is quoted as saying

I am in no doubt it was primarily caused by the ineptitude of Waterways Ireland.

Alas, the news story does not tell us the source of the councillor’s certainty.

The article also says that

[…] the force of this water meant it was not possible to open the lock gates by hand.

That is, I think, misleading: neither set of gates has gate beams, so they are not opened by hand.

park canal mist 03_resize

The upper gates in 2004, shortly after installation. Note the absence of gate beams. Note also the two sluices or paddles on each gate

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Control pedestal and gear

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The upper gates open today

I see no sign of the paddles or sluices. Perhaps the level is so high that they’re underwater. I must try to check next time I’m at the canal harbour.

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The upper gates in the floods of 2009

In the floods of 2009 the upper gates were held slightly open and all four sluices were discharging water. That would have lowered the level in the canal; it would also, I think, have made it easier to open the gates fully.

I am guessing, but I imagine that on Saturday night some sort of hydraulic machine was brought in this way …

Park Canal 20151214 21_resize

Two bollards have been moved from the gateway and stacked beside it

… and used to push or pull open the near-side upper gate. There seems to be some slight damage to the stone and iron work.

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Slight damage

One other possibility that struck me is that silt from the Mulkear might have built up behind the gates, making them difficult to open, but I have no evidence on the matter.

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The lower gates

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From the outside looking in

 

Barrow cot

The Kildare Nationalist tells us that folk in Athy intend to build replicas of a cot formerly owned by Cassidy’s of Monasterevin.

They say that

The whiskey and beer was transported to Dublin on canal boats and the Barrow Cot Boat would have been used to keep the river and canal clear for the bigger boats.

I don’t understand that. First, the bigger boats wouldn’t have needed to enter the river en route from the distillery to Dublin. Second, keeping the canal clear was the job of the Grand Canal Company, not of carriers or traders on the canal. I would be grateful for more information about this.

Cassidy’s actually operated until around 1921, early twentieth rather than early nineteenth century. Perhaps the Edgar Holmes who owns the cot is related to the Samual Edgar Holmes of the engineering firm said to have taken over the premises in 1934.

 

ESB and the Shannon

I wrote here that I had written to the ESB, on 27 May 2015, to ask about navigation on the Shannon from Castleconnell downstream. One month later, I have not yet received a reply.

I did hear this weekend that ESB had contacted certain boat-owners to inform them that they were not to moor to the ESB embankments between Portumna and Meelick. As a riparian landowner, ESB is no doubt within its rights, but it would be interesting to know how much of the bed of the Shannon it claims to own in that area.

I have still not been able to find out, from the ESB, the clearance under its high-voltage lines crossing the Shannon (and other navigations). I gather that the ESB works on the principle that, if it provides no information, it can’t be blamed if owners of masted vessels electrocute themselves, whereas if it did provide information it might be sued. Strange that a public sector body should have such a blasé attitude to the prospect of the electrocution of the citizenry.

Perhaps if I asked questions under the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations 2007/2011 I might get replies.

 

Races on Lough Erne

To the Editor of the Erne Packet

Me Editor — The stir visible amongst the seamen of the Lake, assures a most interesting contest. Four new boats are to enter the lists — their prowess will best prove the merit of those which have on former occasions been exhibited.

To the amateur, the scene cannot fail of proving most interesting, as well from the unrivalled beauty of the sailing ground, as from the superiority of the boats, some of which, built on the Thames, are considered to be superior to any other vessels of any size, for lake sailing.

The mariners of Donegal Bay will not, it is to be hoped, sleep on their oars; if rumour is to be credited, they are not to yield the palm so easily as they did last year. Four boats besides those already mentioned, are reported to be in readiness to invade the lake, from the sea, to assert the superiority of the Donegalian over his fresh-water competitor.

Some experiments are to be tried upon scientific principles,where lightness of draught of water, and form, altogether differing from what, for centuries, has been in use, are to be put into competition with bulk and beam. The well established speed of the Lough Erne cot is also to be tried, a boat being in preparation; these rivals to be pulled by Gentlemen of the lake. Great confidence is expressed by the owners, and any money for hands with good beam and bottom. NB — Dandies not admitted.

To cheer the toils of the seamen, two Balls are in contemplation, where all the rank and fashion of a wide extended country have engaged to attend. A very distinguished party from London, òn a visit to the Lakes and Bundoran, will also be present, and gratify the eye, as they have already done the mind’s eye of most of us.

Besides the beauty of the Lakes, much speculation exists to account for their visit, whether an examination into the minerals and collieries of the neighbourhood, or the general capabilities of Lough Erne, an extension of the navigation, and perhaps a decision of a question which has long barred up our Lake; the choice between a canal to Lough Neagh and Belfast, or one from Ballyshannon. In giving information to these sagacious explorers, Gentlemen will do well to bear in mind, that their evidence should be divested of any private favour, for should it be found to contain more affinity for party purposes than the general object, the benefit of the country, it will instantly, and perhaps not civilly, be rejected as unfit matter to enter into such an important digest.

NOTUS

Enniskillen Chronicle and Erne Packet
12 August 1824

Killaloe Regatta

If you enjoyed the account of the 1851 cot race at Plassey, you might also like to read about the 1850 regatta at Killaloe.