Tag Archives: fly-boat

Guards by boat

The first battalion Grenadier Guards, upwards of 700 strong, commanded by Lieut-Col Barclay, arrived here on Thursday last, from Dublin, and have since proceeded by canal, in Messrs Pickford’s fly-boats, to London.

Gore’s Liverpool General Advertiser
14 August 1823

Canal fecundity

Mrs M’Cann, of Castlecomer, gave birth to two infant boys and a girl, in the canal fly boat from Athy to Dublin, on Monday.

Limerick Chronicle 3 March 1838

Just as well they were infants: giving birth to three teenagers would have been difficult.

The power of the wind

The fly-boat from Ballinasloe was much retarded in its progress on Monday by the storm. The horses which pulled it were twice driven into the canal by the force of the wind between that town and Shannon Harbour.

Limerick Chronicle 21 November 1840

Another waterways mystery

According to Ruth Delany [Ruth Delany and Ian Bath Ireland’s Royal Canal 1789–2009 The Lilliput Press, Dublin 2010], the Royal Canal’s fast passenger-carrying fly-boats had neither toilets nor cooking facilities; the slower night-boats were better equipped.

So how did the fly-boat passengers relieve themselves?

Given that the boats travelled at six Irish miles per hour (about 12 km/h), any passenger who disembarked for the purpose would have found it difficult to catch up again. Yet standing on the notoriously unstable boats might have been difficult for the gentlemen, while the problems facing the ladies are not to be contemplated.

I don’t think that the india-rubber urinal had been invented by then. So what did they do?


Overloaded boat

A Railway Wanted. — On Thursday week the fly-boat on the Grand Canal was so crowded with passengers returning from Ballinasloe fair, that between Tullamore and Philipstown they sat nearly up to their knees in water. Not liking the comfort afforded by such a mode of conveyance, many of the passengers left at the latter place and took cars, and the boat proceeded to Dublin without accident.

London Standard 28 October 1845 quoting the Longford Journal

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.

Hunting Newbury

In his A Tour in Ireland with Meditations and Reflections [S Highley, London 1844], James Johnson MD describes a flyboat trip on the Grand Canal from Dublin. He says:

At Newbury, a station near Edenderry, I debarked, and spent two or three days at the hospitable mansion of Newbury Hall, with my excellent friend Mr Wolstenholme and family, where I also met my amiable friend, Mrs Evans, of Portrane.

I have been trying to find Newbury. So far, the most likely candidate seems to be Newberry Hall, in Carbury, Co Kildare; the spelling Newberry is given on the ~1840 [Historic 6″] OSI map whereas the ~1900 [Historic 25″] map gives Newbury.

The Hall is indeed fairly close to Edenderry, but if Johnson got off the boat in Edenderry I’d have expected him to refer to it as Edenderry harbour. Looking at the OSI map (link above), the only other sensible point of debarkation would (I think) have been at Ticknevin Bridge, from which there was a road towards Newbury, but I have no evidence that it was Newbury station.

I would welcome enlightenment.