Folk interested in early steam transport in Ireland may wish to know that the latest issue [Vol 41] of The Other Clare, journal of the Shannon Archaeological & Historical Society, has an article, “Mr Paterson’s steamer”, about the Lady of the Shannon, the steamer built on the Clyde in 1816 for James Paterson of Kilrush.
While the steamer and its operations are well known (see for instance the page by Senan Scanlan on the Clare County Library site), a lack of contextual information has meant that the scale of Paterson’s achievement is not widely appreciated. His steam boat was built only four years after PS Comet, Europe’s first commercially viable steamer, began operations on the Clyde. Paterson, who built baths at Kilrush at the same time as he acquired his steamer, may have intended to imitate Henry Bell’s operations.
At the time, most steamers operated on rivers and estuaries, but some undertook longer delivery voyages to new areas of operation in Britain and Europe. But Paterson’s may have been the first to brave the rigours of the Atlantic: it probably travelled west off Ireland’s north coast, and then down the west coast to the Shannon. Ensuring that coal was available along the way must have required a good deal of planning.
Commercially, Paterson’s steamer was not a long-term success, and the possible reasons for its failure are explored briefly in the article.
The Shannon Archaeological & Historical Society does not itself appear to sell its journal online; Scéal Eile Books in Ennis may be able to supply it by post, as may the Celtic Bookshop in Limerick.
Posted in Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Foreign parts, Forgotten navigations, Historical matters, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Operations, Passenger traffic, People, Sea, Shannon, shannon estuary, Sources, Steamers, The cattle trade, The turf trade, Tourism, Waterways management, Weather
Tagged 1816, 1817, Comet, estuary, Greenock, Henry Bell, Kilrush, Lady of the Shannon, Limerick, Paterson, Shannon, steam boat, steamer
KILRUSH HOTEL, AND TEPID BATHS
This Elegant Establishment is fitted up in a superior style for the accommodation of Visitors, on the reduced terms of last Season.
The House adjoining the Hotel, now occupied by Mrs Colonel Stammers, of Cahernelly, will be Let, from the 12th of June, for the remainder of the Season; it has ample accommodation for a large Family, who can be supplied with any thing they may require from the Hotel; they will also have the use of the Bathing Machines and Bathing Houses — from this House to the Tepid Baths there is a covered passage.
The Lady of the Shannon steam packet sails from Limerick for the Hotel, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and returns on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, making her passage in five hours.
Kilrush, May 15th, 1823
Dublin Evening Post 20 May 1823. From the British Newspaper Archive run by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited, in partnership with the British Library.
[…] The hotel and baths, for which this Town was remarkable, have been suffered to go to decay — at least, are not occupied as such at present.
Limerick Evening Post 8 May 1829. From the British Newspaper Archive run by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited, in partnership with the British Library.
Posted in Ashore, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Historical matters, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Operations, Passenger traffic, Scenery, Sea, shannon estuary, Sources, Steamers, Tourism, Water sports activities, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged bathing machines, hotel, Kilrush, Lady of the Shannon, steamer, tepid baths