Tag Archives: Fergus

Shannon passage times 1838

Estuary

Kilrush to Limerick 4 hours

Tarbert to Limerick 3 hours

Clare[castle] to Limerick 3.5 hours

Limerick Navigation

Limerick to Killaloe:

  • iron passenger boat 2.5 hours
  • timber passenger boat 3.5 hours
  • trade boat 6 hours.

Shannon

Killaloe to Portumna:

  • passenger steamer 6 hours
  • steamer towing lumber boats 8 hours.

Portumna to Shannon Harbour:

  • 6 hours.

Shannon Harbour to Athlone:

  • 8 hours.

Source: Railway Commissioners second report Appendix B No 6.

Two brief notes about eels

Fr Oliver Kennedy, of the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Cooperative Society, which ran the eel fishery [PDF], has died at the age of 83.

The ESB eel-catching apparatus at Killaloe Bridge is being renewed (and not, as I feared, removed). Eels are caught now only to be transported around Ardnacrusha. Read about the fishery here and, at greater length, here.

The Washington gandalow

See here.

This day thou shouldst be with me

G K Chesterton thought that Paradise was somewhere reached by way of Kensal Green, but in fact it’s at the junction of the Shannon and Fergus estuaries. I have had a page about Paradise for some time; I have now added some black and white photos taken by Brigadier Frank Henn, whose family home it was, in 1936 and 1938.

This has come about through the kindness of Seán Matthews, who made the arrangements. Seán’s grandmother Hester Mahon married a Matthews; her sister Geraldine married a Henn and Frank is Geraldine’s son.

The black and white photographs show, better than my colour pics do, why the place was called Paradise. The copyright in those photos belongs to Brigadier Frank Henn; I am extremely grateful both to him and to Seán Matthews for making it possible for me to use them. They are spread about among the earlier material on this page.

The Marquis survives

I reported last October that an unused London pub, named after Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne, KG, PC, FRS, was threatened with demolition in favour of a museum extension.

I pointed out that the late Marquis had two claims on the attention of Irish waterways enthusiasts. First, the best-known of the early River Shannon steamers, the Lady Lansdowne, was named after his wife. Second, he was Lord President of the Council [the current holder of the post is Nick Clegg] when the government of Her Late Majesty Queen Victoria decided, in 1839, to spend about half a million pounds improving the Shannon Navigation.

The Indie reports today that Hackney Council’s planning committee has voted against the demolition, so the Marquis survives, at least for now.

CWW bridge

Paul Quinn’s photos showed the new Marlborough Street Bridge being constructed across the Liffey. Last Saturday’s Irish Times reported that Dublin City Council would soon be advertising to seek suggestions for naming the bridge; it said that a body called Labour Youth [whose members may be socialists, I fear] wanted it named after one Rosie Hackett, who went on strike  many years ago. It did not report that there is another campaign to have the bridge named after E T S Walton, a physicist.

The north-eastern corner of the bridge features the site of the offices of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, whose crest still adorns the walls. I suggest that the bridge be named after the company’s founder, the remarkable Irish entrepreneur Charles Wye Williams: the father of the Shannon, the master of scheduled steam shipping, the founder of the CoDSPCo and a founder director of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, godparent of the Irish livestock industry, innovator in marine safety, promoter of the turf industry, writer and experimenter on steam technology, tireless campaigner ….

Apart from his company’s crest on Eden Quay, and his name on a bridge he caused to be built in Limerick, there is no monument to this remarkable man. Name the bridge after him and move the plaque to it (and protect it adequately).

 

Henn, cheese, pickles and Guinness

An Affecting Charge

The following case lately came for trial before Mr Henn QC, the new Recorder of Galway:— George Hamilton, who for twenty-five years had been in the employment of the Midland Great Western Railway Company as station-master, was indicted for stealing from a hamper some goods, the property of Sir Arthur Guinness, which were addressed to Cong, in the county Mayo. For some time a course of pilfering had been carried on, and the directors, in order to find out who were the guilty parties, employed two Dublin detectives, named Stookman and Healy, who arrived in Galway on Aug 31st, and, concealing themselves in the goods-store in empty barrels, remained on the watch all night. About one o’clock next morning they heard a noise, and observed the prisoner entering the place. Having satisfied himself that he was unseen, he took out his penknife and proceeded deliberately to cut the cords of the hamper and extract some of its contents. The detectives waited until he had taken out a bottle of vinegar, a bottle of pickles, and some cheeses, and then tied up the hamper again. They then issued from their hiding-place and seized him. He begged them for God’s sake to have mercy on his wife and family, and to leave the matter between himself and the manager, but they refused to do so, and, having called the police, gave him into custody. About twenty witnesses were examined for the prosecution, and among them the clerk of the goods store, who swore that it had been locked and the key left with the prisoner.

Mr M’Laughlin QC appealed to the sympathies of the jury, and, pointing out some alleged discrepancies in the evidence, pressed them, if they had a doubt that the prisoner took the articles with a guilty intent, to give him the benefit of it.

The Recorder, in his charge, showed that the discrepancies only proved the truth of the charge, and expressed the deep pain he felt at seeing in such a position a man who had held a respectable position, with a salary of £300 a year, and had young ladies whom he saw in court dependent upon him. He finally burst into tears.

The jury retired, and after three hours’ deliberation returned into court and stated that there was no chance of an agreement. His worship sent them back to their room, and, after being absent for another hour, they brought in a verdict of not guilty, which the Recorder stated he could not endorse, but characterised as monstrous.

The Leeds Times 12 October 1878

The Recorder, Mr Henn, was the father of T R Henn and later lived in Paradise. Sir Arthur Guinness, a stout fellow, was a descendant of this chap and had a small holiday house at Cong on Lough Corrib, where his family had many boats.

The Fergus estuary

I have a page about the Fergus estuary here with links from that page to others about places on the estuary (including Paradise).

Mediaeval fishweir at the Boarland Rock in the Fergus Estuary © Dr Aidan O’Sullivan, UCD 2008

Mediaeval fishweir at the Boarland Rock in the Fergus Estuary © Dr Aidan O’Sullivan, UCD 2008

The UCD School of Archaeology has, for many years, been investigating the Fergus estuary and has found remarkable evidence of settlement and activities on the estuary stretching back to the Iron Age (about 100 BCE) and the Bronze Age (almost 800 BCE). Read about the project here and see more photos of mediaeval fishweirs and earlier artefacts here.

The photo above is used in accordance with the terms set out here.

Where is this?

Paul Gauci's 1831 drawing of a Shannon steamer

Paul Gauci’s 1831 drawing of a Shannon steamer

This drawing of a steamer is from an 1831 book called Select Views of Lough Derg and the River Shannon by Paul Gauci. I haven’t seen the book myself, but this illustration is used in a couple of places, including Ruth Delany’s book The Shannon Navigation [The Lilliput Press Ltd, Dublin 2008]. Andrew Bowcock, in his article “Early iron ships on the River Shannon” in The Mariner’s Mirror Vol 92 No 3 August 2006, says of the steamer shown that

The funnel looks to be almost over the paddle shaft, which is artistic license.

But my question is not about the vessel but about the house in the background. If it is drawn without artistic licence, where is it?

It is a very large house, seven bays by three storeys, quite close to the water. Using the Historic 6″ Ordnance Survey map [~1840], I have followed the banks of the Shannon from Shannon Harbour down Lough Derg to Killaloe, then from Limerick down the estuary as far as Tarbert, across the estuary to Doonaha and back up on the Clare side to Limerick, then from Killaloe up the Clare and Galway shores back to Shannon Harbour. Anywhere I found a large house within what seemed the right distance of the shore, I looked it up in the Landed Estates Database and in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, with some supplementary googling.

I haven’t been able to find images of all the houses marked on the OSI map, but I found enough to show that houses of the size shown by Gauci were very rare. Within those few, I ruled out some (like Tervoe) because they didn’t seem to match Gauci’s drawing (although alterations could have accounted for that). I ended up with only one house that looked at all like Gauci’s, but the background may not match.

If you can identify the house, I would be glad if you could leave a Comment below.

SESIFP

Read about the draft Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP) for the Shannon Estuary here. You can comment on it up to 15 February 2013.