Tag Archives: James Johnson

Speeding on canals …

… and the perils thereof:

Having reached the highest level of the great table-land, we traversed a space of fifteen miles without a lock; and here a curious phenomenon, illustrating the incompressibility of water, arrested our attention. About every twenty or thirty minutes, the horses are obliged to stop for five or six minutes, to take breath, the cause of which was this: — The velocity of the boat impelled the water in the canal with such force that it gradually rose so as to approach the summits of the banks, when it began to recoil, so as actually to form a back-water or stream, when the horses were unable to make head, and therefore stopped till the equilibrium of the canal was restored.

James Johnson MD A Tour in Ireland with Meditations and Reflections S Highley, London 1844

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.