Tag Archives: Firefly

Simon O’Regan -v- John Inshaw

Did Simon O’Regan attempt to preempt John Inshaw? Here is a page about O’Regan’s single-screw passenger steamer, demonstrated at Portobello on the Grand Canal in Dublin in 1850.

The steamer Firefly at Crom in 1850

Some time ago I posted a query, asking whether anyone could identify the location shown in this drawing on the National Library of Ireland website. Click on the thumbnail to expand it; you may then need to click “PRINTABLE VERSION”. I said:

The black object between the sailing boats and the church looks to me like a paddle steamer, but the image is quite blurred so I’m not certain.

I have now seen the original in the National Library. I have also seen a print of a painting that is, I think, based on the drawing; the painting was done by Henry Brocas junior and is entitled “Lord Clarendon’s visit to Crom Castle, Co Fermanagh, 1850” (tiny thumbnail here).

According to the Erne papers [PDF]:

The earliest known steam boat at Crom was the “Firefly”, which is recorded as having brought the Viceroy, Lord Clarendon, from Crom to Lanesborough Lodge [Belturbet] on his visit of 1850.

It may be that the view is pretty well south from Crom Old Castle with its yew gardens  (Historic 6″), which might explain the odd shapes in the foreground, but it could also be from Crom new castle or even from Inisherk: I don’t know the lie of the land well enough, and would welcome enlightenment. The church on the right-hand side of the picture is Holy Trinity (C of I) church at Derryvore, which originally had a steeple. The drawing shows the island of Innisfendra (Inishfendra) on the left, after which Waterways Ireland’s latest tug has been named.

Another Brocas pic on the NLI site seems to complement the first image: it shows a view to the right of the other, with Gad Island and with Corlatt in the background. I suspect that The regatta  was done (perhaps from a boat) at the same event: the ruins look to me like those of Old Crom Castle.