The inhabitants of this city [Dublin] were greatly alarmed yesterday evening, between the hours of four and five, by a most violent concussion of the air, which broke several panes of glass, cracked others, and shook houses to the foundation in an unusual manner, accompanied by a very loud explosion. In the country parts adjacent to the city, the fears of the people led them to imagine that there had been a shock of an earthquake — but the cause proves to have been the explosion of two boats, that were coming down the Grand Canal, freighted with gunpowder from Counsellor Caldbeck’s powder-mills at Clondalklin.
Many lives it was reported were lost; but we can assure the public, from the best authority, that no more than two men were killed, and five or six slightly wounded. The loss from the gunpowder is not estimated to be very great.
It is not as yet ascertained through what manner the fire was suffered to communicate to the powder. It was said that it was from one of the hands having dropped some blazing tobacco from a pipe which he was smoking, but for that there appears no foundation.
Dublin Evening Post 24 April 1787
Posted in Canals, Economic activities, Extant waterways, Historical matters, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Operations, Safety, Sources, waterways
Tagged . Clondalkin, boat, Caldbeck, death, Dublin, explosion, Grand Canal, gunpowder, injury, Ireland, powder-mill
I commented recently on the posthumous honour awarded to Kerryman Horace Kitchener, born at Ballylongford near Saleen Quay on the Shannon estuary. Part of the cost of building Saleen was paid by the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth neare Dublin (whose present gaffer wants to change its name to something more snappy and brand-like, probably with an exclamation mark or a number in it (maybe he would like something modern: L33T or D00dz!, perhaps). The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth neare Dublin owned large bogs in the area and sent turf to Limerick by boat.
Another turf connection has just come to my notice. Donal Clarke, in Brown Gold: a history of Bord na Móna and the Irish peat industry (Gill and Macmillan, Dublin 2010, but it is no longer on their website), says that in the 1850s Horace’s father experimented at Ballycarbery [which seems to be a long way from Ballylongford] “with the production of peat charcoal for se in the manufacture of gunpowder” and, in the process, discovered a way of making peat briquettes.
Not a lot of people (apart from Donal Clarke’s readers) know that.
Incidentally, Kitchener appears in this trip around the world with Irish waterways.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Charles Wye Williams, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Foreign parts, Forgotten navigations, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Non-waterway, Operations, People, Politics, Scenery, Sea, Shannon, shannon estuary, Sources, Steamers, The cattle trade, The turf trade, waterways
Tagged £2, ballycarbery, Ballylongford, coin, college of the holy and undivided trinity of queen elizabeth neare dublin, gunpowder, Kerry, Kitchener, peat briquettes, Saleen