Tag Archives: jetties

Reading list

Waterways Ireland has been putting out more and more stuff on its website.

If you haven’t already seen them, you can get the full set of Product Development Studies, in PDF format, here.

Even more interesting, to this site, are the waterway heritage surveys. Those for all waterways other than the Shannon are available here. The Shannon study was done some years ago (I remember making some comments on it at the time) and will be uploaded “in due course”.

I was in a WI office yesterday and had a quick look at the Lower Bann survey, which was done by Fred Hamond (so we know it will be good), and I’m looking forward to learning more about the waterway I know least about. It is done thematically and has lots of illustrations: Fred is able to see and present the bigger picture, but a full database, with all the supporting information, is available on request.

No queue for the quay …

… at Querrin on the Shannon Estuary. The page discusses its building and the early years of its operation.

Up with this sort of thing

Folk interested in the history of the Shannon before 1850 may like to know of a talk …

The smart green technology of the 1830s: the Shannon steamers and the definition of Ireland

… to be delivered to the Thomond Archaeological and Historical Society on Monday 4 November 2013. It’s in Room T.1.17, TARA Building, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, at 8pm.

A related topic …

Charles Wye Williams and the Anglo-Irish Trade

… will be discussed in one of the papers at the Eighth [British] Waterways History Conference on Saturday 26 October 2013 at the University of Birmingham. Leave a Comment below if you would like contact information for the conference.

Work begins at Sallins

New moorings: Waterways Ireland press statement here and marine notice here.

Mountshannon seaplane

News from the Clare Champion about the possible cessation of commercial seaplane activities at Mountshannon. The article reports comments by Mr Emelyn Heaps, chief executive officer of Harbour Flights Ireland Ltd.

Harbour Flights

The Companies Registration Office finds four occurrences of the term “Harbour Flights”, all giving their address as 13 Parnell Street, Ennis, Co Clare. One is a business name; the others are:

  • Harbour Flights (Ireland) Limited
  • Harbour Flights (Couriers) Limited
  • Harbour Flights (BES Nominees) Limited.

According to the B1 Annual Return for Harbour Flights (Ireland) Limited to 30 September 2012 [the most recent available], the directors of the company are:

  • Ronan Connolly of Ennis, Co Clare, who is the Secretary; he holds seven other directorships of companies, two of which are Harbour Flights (Couriers) Limited and Harbour Flights (BES Nominees) Limited
  • Emelyn Heaps of Tulla, Co Clare; he holds nine other directorships of companies, two of which are Harbour Flights (Couriers) Limited and Harbour Flights (BES Nominees) Limited.

In the Clare Champion article, Mr Heaps “said the four directors and five shareholders will meet this weekend”; it is to be presumed that the two extra directors have recently joined the Board. The B1 return does say that the company had five shareholders:

  • Mr Heaps with 300000 ordinary shares
  • Mr Connolly with 300000 ordinary shares
  • Mr Adam Cronin of Cobh, Co Cork with 300000 ordinary shares
  • Mr Stewart Curtis of Bodyke, Co Clare with 100000 ordinary shares
  • Harbour Flights (BES Nominees) Limited with 4152 “A” ordinary shares.

The company’s authorised share capital is €105000 made up of half a million “A” ordinary shares at 1c and ten million ordinary shares, also at 1c; the issued share capital is €10041.52, of which €41.52 is the “A” ordinary shares and the rest the one million ordinary shares at 1c.

The financial statement of Harbour Flights (Ireland) Limited

The company has lodged abridged financial statements for the year ending 31 December 2011 [they refer to the company as Harbour Flights Limited, omitting “(Ireland)”].

The independent auditor said:

There is an excess of liabilities over assets, as stated in the Balance Sheet, and, in our opinion, on that basis there did exist at 31 December 2011 a financial situation which under Section 40(1) of the Companies (Amendment) Act 1983 requires the convening of an extraordinary general meeting of the company.

The abridged balance sheet shows a loss of €103944 in 2010 and €295130 in 2011. The Capital and Reserves section showed

  • Called up share capital 10042
  • Share premium account 26946
  • Profit and loss account (295130)
  • Shareholders’ funds (258142).

The other two companies

The balance sheet of Harbour Flights (BES Nominees) Limited as at 31 December 2011 showed current assets of 100 financed by called up share capital of 100. The company had two directors, Mr Connolly and Mr Heaps, and two shareholders, Mr Connolly and Mr Heaps, each with 50 shares.

The balance sheet of Harbour Flights (Couriers) Limited as at 31 December 2011 showed current assets of 100 financed by called up share capital of 100. The company had four directors, Messrs Connolly, Cronin, Curtis and Heaps, and four shareholders, the same four people, each with 25 shares.

Almost 21 months have passed since then and it is possible that all three companies have prospered greatly since 31 December 2011, especially after flights began in July 2013.


In January 2013 the Irish Independent reported that the company hoped to acquire a seaplane and its own website suggests that it made its first flight in July 2013 and intended to carry 10000 passengers in its first year. However, it seems that the Air Operator Certificate is held by National Flight Centre, Dublin, which says it will be operating the floatplane (seaplane) “in conjunction with Harbour Flights“.

I know nothing of aeroplanes, but the plane seems to be EI-CFP, a Cessna 172, which is said to carry three passengers. Assuming a seven-month tourist season (April to October) and seven-day-a-week operation, there are 214 days available for carrying passengers. The target of 10000 passengers a year would mean carrying 47 passengers a day, which means 16 flights a day, every day.

However, the first year’s operations do not seem to have started until 10 July, leaving only 113 days to carry 10000 passengers. That would mean 89 passengers a day, which would require 30 flights. The shortest flight time is 20 minutes (at €85 a head; longer flights are available) but I imagine that at least ten minutes are required at start and finish for boarding, so the operation must have been working 20-hour days all summer. I haven’t been in Mountshannon for some time, so I was unaware of the frenetic level of activity, but it must have been exciting.


I see that RTÉ reported, on 3 September 2013, a “test flight” to Galway. Such “test flights” have taken place to other locations, eg Cork, although it is not clear what distinguishes a test flight from, say, a marketing opportunity. RTÉ said that the flight was by a Cessna 206, which takes five passengers, but the photo shows EI-CFP, which is not (as far as I can tell) a Cessna 206 but a smaller Cessna 172.

There have been earlier announcements of services, eg to Limerick, where services were to begin in summer 2011. This website mentions an earlier proposed start. Some folk don’t seem confident of the soundness of the original business model.

Lakeland Seaplane Tours, based on Lough Erne, seems to have ceased operations.



Sallins houseboat facility

Waterways Ireland is seeking tenders for building a “houseboat facility” at Sallins. The interesting bits:

  • 210m of fixed timber moorings for long term mooring
  • 45m of fixed timber moorings for transient moorings
  • metered water supply
  • metered electricity
  • sewage pump-out
  • anti-erosion netting for the canal bank.

During construction, the canal will be closed to navigation but will remain in water. I wonder why.

IRBOA, the Irish Residential Boatowners Association, seems to have vanished, at least from cyberspace: I can’t find its website.


FF -v- SF on C18 economic development

More from the splendid KildareStreet.com, this time an actual Dáil debate, with real people speaking, on 30 May 2013. The debate was initiated by Micheál Martin [head honcho in FF, Cork South Central], who asked the minister …

… his plans for capital investment in Waterways Ireland in the coming year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

There are three odd aspects to that question.

The first is that Micheál Martin should already know that the capital expenditure allocation for WI within RoI for 2013 is €4 071 000: I can understand that he wouldn’t have wanted to plough through the vast wodges of budgetary bumpf, but I’m sure he would have read the highlights on this site.

The second oddity is that Micheál Martin must have known that the minister would not himself have any plans for capital expenditure: they would be WI’s plans.

The third oddity is that FF didn’t seem to have any particular reason for asking this question: the rest of the debate (see below) seems rather desultory. Could it be that it’s trying to reclaim the waterways limelight from the Shinners, who’ve been keeping an eye on WI dredging as well as on thon sheugh?

To be honest, it all seems a bit pointless: waterways may be interesting to me, and presumably to readers of this site, but they’re hardly of great national importance. A serious debate, by informed participants, might be useful, but (with all due respect to the contributors) there was little sign of that here.

Jimmy Deenihan did actually give some interesting, albeit minor, details about WI’s plans for this year. I omit the first two paras and the last, which are boring boilerplate bumpf that will be familiar to regular readers.

Jimmy Deenihan [FG, Kerry North/West Limerick]: While the Waterways Ireland 2013 business plan and budget is the subject of ongoing discussions with the co-sponsoring Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland and will require formal approval by the North-South Ministerial Council, I have provided an indicative funding allocation of €4.071 million to Waterways Ireland for capital projects in this jurisdiction in the coming year. This will facilitate capital works by Waterways Ireland in developing, restoring and improving infrastructure for water based and activity recreation and tourism, consolidating facilitates and improving access to the waterways across the navigations.

I am advised that the Waterways Ireland draft 2013 business plan has a development schedule providing for 1354 m of additional moorings across the navigations. Works planned within this jurisdiction include a range of major projects such as upgrading Bagenalstown Lock on the Barrow; provision of a slipway and stabilisation of the dock walls at Grand Canal Dock, dredging the Grand Canal; development of houseboat facilities at Lowtown and Sallins; lifting the bridge at Tullamore depot; bridge upgrades, works on weirs and locks on the Shannon; and commencement of work on the Belturbet Service Block on the Shannon Erne and purchase of plant and machinery.

I said that I would welcome information about what “lifting the bridge at Tullamore depot” means. The answer was provided in the Comments below; here is a photo of the bridge in question.

The (currently non-lifting) lifting bridge at Tullamore

The (currently non-lifting) lifting bridge at Tullamore


Most of the rest is unsurprising.

The FF follow-up came from Seán Ó Fearghaíl [FF, Kildare South], who said:

I welcome the many positive developments to which the Minister referred but one of our concerns is that since 2011 the funding available for Waterways Ireland has been cut from €35 million to approximately €32 million.

Studies over the years have shown that waterways tourism is one of the activities that is most likely to generate return visits. As a regular user of places like the Shannon Navigation, one never ceases to be amazed at the number of non-nationals one meets on that waterway who have been coming back to Ireland year in, year out. I wonder to what extent the funding the Minister has available to him should be augmented by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. These waterways are of immense value to the local populations privileged to live in the catchment area of each amenity, along with their huge tourism importance. What sort of interaction does the Minister have with tourism bodies north of the Border and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport? Is anything planned for the waterways under the auspices of The Gathering?

What has happened in Kildare this week? We had Bernard Durkan [FG, Kildare North] the other day and Clare Daly [Socialist Party, Dublin North, but originally from Newbridge, Co Kildare] a moment ago; now we have a new chap from Kildare South.

Anyway, it can’t have come as any surprise to Mr Ó Fearghaíl that WI’s budget has been cut: so has everybody else’s, and the budgets were announced last December. I note that he didn’t ask how the Clones Sheugh was to be funded, never mind the Cavan Sheugh to Lough Oughter. But his question is the sort that a journalist might ask: vague, unfocused, couched in generalities, lacking in evidence of research into the subject. I would like to know more about his “Studies over the years”, with particular reference to the balance between and the allocation of the costs and benefits of investment in waterways; generating return visits is not in itself terribly useful (I really do not want Great Aunt Maud here again).

Not that the minister offered many hard facts in his reply:

I have seen for myself the provision of moorings at Killaloe and Ballina. Those have made a major difference to both towns in different counties on either side of the Shannon. The result of that investment is obvious and local people would accept that.

As regards involvement from Fáilte Ireland, Waterways Ireland is augmenting Fáilte Ireland’s promotion of the waterways. Waterways Ireland is providing funding on an annual basis for the promotion of tourism on its waterways. It is a North-South body, which is also very important, because Tourism Ireland promotes the entire island and the waterways network of more than 1,000 navigable kilometres can really be pushed on an all-island basis and we are doing that. I have tried to minimise the reduction in funding for Waterways Ireland because of its North-South significance and its potential and considerable work has been done. We have improved facilities for tourists so we are now ready to proactively promote this great facility.

Any, like, figures? Statistics? References to analyses? How much of WI’s budget is being diverted to the tourism bods and what is the benefit?

Next (and last) up was Peadar Tóibín [SF, Meath West], with “now for something completely different“:

A number of groups are actively trying to create a green way along the Boyne from the estuary to its source. The Boyne is littered with internationally recognised heritage monuments and would be a fantastic tourist attraction that would bring people into the region. People who holiday in the region visit Trim Castle and Newgrange on coach trips and as ar result Meath does not get the full value of their tourism. The Boyne Canal runs from Navan to Drogheda. It is not covered by the Waterways Ireland network. Would the Minister agree that such a canal should be brought within the ambit of Waterways Ireland, along with other canals, and would he consider the funds that might be available to help with the development of such a green way along the River Boyne?

The minister’s reply is interesting:

We have no plans to extend the present 1,000 kilometres of navigable waterways. The focus of our investment in capital development will be from Clones to Lough Erne to the value of €35 million.

What? No Cavan Sheugh? No Kilbeggan, Longford or Mountmellick Branch?

Oh, and note that the figure of €35 million is being quoted for the Clones Sheugh, although the last estimate I had form WI was higher than that.

The minister continued:

As regards the green way, I do not have direct responsibility but any way I can help through Waterways Ireland, I will do so. As a keen cyclist and walker, I am all for encouraging green ways wherever possible. If the Deputy has a proposal I can forward to Waterways Ireland for discussion, I will gladly take it.

Well, well. A Monaghan greenway is being developed; why not a Clones greenway too, instead of an expensive canal?

Swinging moorings

If you own either of these boats, you might like to check your mooring lines.

Barrow Otter between the aqueducts

Barrow Otter between the aqueducts

Small boat at Robertstown_resize

Small boat between the Robertstown slipway and Lowtown

Incidentally, the roadway between Robertstown and Lowtown is in dreadful condition.


Piers and seed potatoes

I dare say you’ve observed, Major, how singularly little originality there is about Chief Secretaries. One of them, whose name is lost in the mists of antiquity, thought of piers and seed potatoes, and since then all his successors have gone on building piers and handing out seed potatoes. They never hit on anything original. Now if I was a Chief Secretary I’d strike out a line of my own. When I found I had to build something I’d run up a few round towers.

Thus the Rev J J Meldon, curate of Ballymoy, to Major Kent in George A Birmingham’s excellent Spanish Gold. (Birmingham was really Canon James Owen Hannay, who managed to annoy nationalist Catholics, which is always useful.)

Amongst the builders of piers were Alexander Nimmo and the Shannon Commissioners, whose works on the estuary included Saleen Pier.

The Irish Press Releases website has a page dated 17 April 2013:

Funding approved for Clare piers

Co. Clare, Ireland — 17 Apr. 2013 — Funding has been approved for various harbour and pier improvement projects in County Clare. Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, T.D., today announced funds totalling 91,500 euro for projects at Ballyvaughan, Cappagh, Liscannor, Carrigaholt and Kilbaha harbours/piers.

“The safety works scheduled to take place at these harbours will have a hugely positive impact on the livelihoods of fishermen and other users of the piers,” explained Clare Senator Tony Mulcahy. He added: “These projects are central to ensuring the safety of all users of the piers. The continued upgrading of these piers is essential to the development of both industry and tourism in the respective areas.”

The funding announcement features allocations of €22,500 to Carrigaholt, €37,500 to Ballyvaughan, €9,000 to Kilbaha, and €11,250 to both Liscannor and Cappagh.

According to Senator Mulcahy: “The funding contribution from the Government covers 75% of the total cost of the relevant projects which include repairs to the pier wall in Ballyvaughan, the installation of a handrail to pier access, harbour wall and upgrade of visitor moorings at Carrigaholt, a complete remediation to the existing pier walls at Liscannor, repairs to the sea wall at Cappagh, and repairs to the harbour wall capping stones at Kilbaha.”

Carrigaholt, Kilbaha and Cappa[gh] are all Shannon Estuary harbour or piers; Cappa[gh] was extended by the Shannon Commissioners. This press release suggests therefore that, if the Chief Secretary’s successors cannot afford to build any new piers, they can at least afford some money to repair them. There is no news about seed potatoes (or, alas, about fodder).

Unfortunately I could find nothing about this topic either on the website of Senator Tony Mulcahy FG or on that of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, although I may have had the wrong search terms. However, some other (coincidentally. also Fine Gael) politicians have welcomed the planned spending of money on Glin pier [do look at all the pics], which seems to be used only for swimming, so perhaps there is a nationwide campaign of spending small amounts of money in many places — and getting local Fine Gael pols to announce it. Presumably it distracts attention from the shortage of seed potatoes.

The Minister for Ag is a member of Fine Gael.


Socialists, boat-owners and taxpayers

According to the wonderful KildareStreet.com, on 25 April 2013 Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht [FG Kerry North/West Limerick] and prominent supporter of the Lartigue monorail, answered two written questions by Clare Daly [Socialist, Dublin North]:

31. To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will ensure that Waterways Ireland will respect the rights of citizens who have lived on residential barges in Lowtown, County Kildare, for more than a decade. [19163/13]

38. To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the dealings he has had with Waterways Ireland in relation to the Lowtown Marina, County Kildare, with particular reference to safeguarding the homes of boat dwellers who have resided there for more than a decade. [19164/13]

Jimmy Deenihan gave no ground:

I propose to take Questions Nos. 31 and 38 together.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the issues referred to relate to operational day to day matters for Waterways Ireland, for which I have no direct responsibility. However, the Deputy can be assured that Waterways Ireland respects the rights of all users of the navigations under its remit. I am advised by Waterways Ireland that it has carried out significant improvements in the Lowtown area over the last number of years. A new amenity block, including toilets and showers, has been provided, as well as new moorings and other facilities. Some of the moorings at Lowtown have access to electricity, water and lighting and Waterways Ireland would encourage all boat permit holders in the area to avail of these facilities. Boat dwellers can be accommodated on the new moorings under an Extended Mooring Permit.

Waterways Ireland has also endeavoured to regularise the ownership and lease arrangements at Lowtown Marina and it continues to work closely with the owners of the adjacent boat yard in that regard. I am informed that unsafe moorings currently in place there have to be removed, for health and safety reasons.

I am advised that throughout this period when works were planned and underway, Waterways Ireland communicated updates on developments by letter to all permit holders, including barge dwellers, with regard to mooring locations and extended mooring permits. It also responded to queries from a number of individual barge dwellers by email, letter, phone and onsite meetings. In addition, press releases were issued to local media. This approach to communicating with stakeholders will continue.

It would be interesting to know what rights Clare Daly thinks might be infringed, what obligation the taxpayer is assumed to have towards boat dwellers, how much the boat dwellers are paying to the taxpayer and what proportion of the costs of the waterways those users are covering. My own view is that the taxpayer is not obliged to subsidise boat-owners, and that a rational taxpayer might choose to devote resources to some other end, but then I never have understood socialism, save as explained by P G Wodehouse’s Psmyth in Mike:

I am with you, Comrade Jackson. You won’t mind my calling you Comrade, will you? I’ve just become a Socialist. It’s a great scheme. You ought to be one. You work for the equal distribution of property, and start by collaring all you can and sitting on it.