Tag Archives: deep sinking

The sinking of the Longford 4 and 5

Here are the fourth and fifth pages [I split one long page] in the sequence of articles about the sinking of the passage boat Longford on the Royal Canal in 1845. They discuss some of the evidence of corporate incompetence and farcical laxity that may have persuaded the inquest jury to award a deodand against the vessel (and thus against the Royal Canal Company).

Amongst other gems, the footnotes explain what a crapper is.

The sinking of the Longford 2

Here is the second page of the saga. This one gives background information about the passage boat service, the boats and the crew of the Longford. The shock-horror stuff will be in later pages.

Remember, remember the twenty-fifth of November

25 November 2015 will be the 170th anniversary of the sinking of the Royal Canal passage-boat Longford and the deaths of fifteen people.

This was not (pace Ruth Delany in Ireland’s Royal Canal 1789–2009 Lilliput Press, Dublin 2010) “the worst accident ever to happen on the Irish waterways”: that melancholy distinction belongs to the drowning at Carrick-on-Suir of about 111 people in 1799 [see “The cries at the bridge” on this page], while the second-worst was the drowning of twenty people on Lough Corrib in 1828, the event commemorated by Antoine Ó Raifteiri in his poem Eanach Dhúin.

But the 1845 accident, between Porterstown and Clonsilla Bridges, was the worst to occur on an Irish canal. Evidence at the inquest and subsequent trial suggests great laxity in the management of the Royal Canal Company’s affairs, even if the immediate cause was an act of insane irresponsibility on the part of the boat’s temporary steerer.

I do not know whether any plaque or other artefact commemorates the event.

An unofficial temporary Royal Canal closure?

A correspondent writes:

Trees in the cut (photo reproduced by kind permission of the copyright owner)

 I walked the stretch of the Royal Canal from Drumcondra to Leixlip last Sunday. Just before Callaghan Bridge there was considerable work being done felling trees along the bank. Hopefully no boater tried to pass this way over the weekend […]. Several trees lay across the width of the canal, and a very large section of what looked like plywood was also floating on the surface.

I understand from WI’s website that winter closures affect locks from the 8th eastwards, but no Marine Notice suggests closures just west of the 12th (although closures were expected from the 33rd westward). Perhaps anyone planning to navigate on the long level between the 12th and 13th should check with Waterways Ireland.