Tag Archives: Liffey

Gambling for the Grand

In the 1770s a group of trustees conducted an annual lottery to raise funds for a “canal of communication” between the Grand Canal and the River Liffey in Dublin. The intention was to go north from the area of the Grand Canal Harbour to reach the Liffey opposite the barracks. It seems that some construction work was done but no lottery was organised in 1780 or thereafter, perhaps because an Irish state lottery was instituted. The plan to build a link to the north was abandoned; the Circular Line was built instead.

Here is an incomplete account of the Grand Canal lottery. I would be glad to hear from anyone who knows more about it.

Developments in lock design

A model for a Canal Lock of a very ingenious and curious construction, has lately been presented to the Company of Undertakers of the Grand Canal, by an artist in this city [Dublin], having among some other improvements on the old locks the following remarkable ones:

  1. That of raising or falling a boat from a level of sixty feet by a single lock.
  2. That of obviating, by a single contrivance, the waste of water, so that at the passage of any boat through it, more than nine-tenths of the water will be retained for the next occasion: this lock will therefore not require a sixth part of the water now expended in the smallest lock on the navigation.

The model is now in complete order at the Navigation House, and was particularly intended by the inventor to answer the great fall from the level of the Canal at James’s-street to the river Liffey; an object not yet fully determined upon by the Company, which Company has, however, as a token of its approbation of so very ingenious a contrivance, presented the inventor with twenty guineas, and should his plan be ever executed by them, there is no doubt but he will be rewarded according to his merit.

Saunders’s News-Letter
12 September 1787

Nitwitted navigation proposals

The tradition of lobbying for ridiculous, uneconomic, unnecessary and expensive navigations has a long history in Ireland. Here is another nineteenth-century example, which also features local government in its usual role as a forum for lunatics (a role which could now be delegated to Twitter).

Navigation of the Liffey from Dublin to Leixlip

At the last meeting of the Town Council of Dublin, the Lord Mayor in the chair, the following proceedings took place on the subject of opening the navigation of the Liffey, through the Valley, on the engineering plan of our friend, Mr Steele.

Alderman Keshan moved the following resolution:

“Resolved: That the Lord Mayor be respectfully requested to write to the Chief Secretary, soliciting that his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant will be pleased to order a section and some transverse sections of the Valley of the Liffey, from Dublin to Leixlip, to be made by the Board of Public Works for the guidance of this Corporation, in a matter of deep public interest to the inhabitants of the metropolis of Ireland (hear, hear).”

He trusted that this motion would not encounter any opposition. He made it with a view to promote Mr Steele’s project for the improvement of the Valley of the Liffey (hear). Large sums of money had been taken out of this country for the improvement of London (hear, hear), and he did not see why a portion of the national revenues should not be devoted to the improvement of Ireland (hear, hear).

The citizens of London had their water trip to Richmond (hear). Why should not the citizens of Dublin have theirs to Leixlip? This would be accomplished if the Valley of the Liffey were made navigable (hear).

Alderman O’Brien seconded the motion, which was carried.

Dublin Evening Post 14 June 1845, from the British Newspaper Archive.

From the BNA

 

GCC inspection launch

Under the heading

GRAND CANAL COMPANY’S ENTERPRISE

the Irish Times reported, on 21 December 1909, on the trials of a launch newly built by the Grand Canal Company in their own docks at James’s Street Harbour.

The launch was 40′ long and 6½’ wide, screw propelled and driven by a Daimler 12-15 hp petrol engine. This engine was placed in the forward part of the launch

… and is worked in the manner which is usual with road motor cars: the driver or steersman sitting at the wheel having a clear view ahead.

That part of the launch was open; in the centre was a “deck-house or saloon, constructed principally of teak wood”. Aft of that was another open area. The launch could carry 20 people.

The saloon had “a sliding weatherproof door at the fore end, and two removable swing doors in the aft end”. It was lit by electric lamps and had cushioned seats at each side, with storage lockers underneath. A “table of novel design” was lowered from the ceiling when required, then pushed back up to leave a clear passage through the saloon. The launch, which was fitted up very tastefully, and

… the creditable manner in which the work of turning out the launch as a whole has been accomplished reflects great credit on the company’s workmen, and promises well for the future of local industries.

The trials were attended by the GCC General Manager George Tough and its Engineer Harry Wayte. The launch left James’s Street at 10.30am for Ringsend, travelled up the Liffey to Kingsbridge and back down again, before going out into Dublin Bay two miles beyond the Poolbeg lighthouse. On a measured mile in the Liffey, between the Pigeon House and the lighthouse, she managed 12 mph against the tide. She returned to James’s Street Harbour after arousing “considerable interest amongst spectators along the route”.

The launch was intended as “an officers’ inspection boat, to travel all over the company’s extensive system” of waterways routes.

The boat in every respect worked very satisfactorily, and reflected great credit on its designers. […] The success which has attended this experiment may lead to the establishment of fast or express goods boats all over the system.

I had not been aware of the existence of a GCC inspection launch later than the gondola of 1795. I would be glad of information from anyone who knows more about it: please leave a Comment below if you can help.

From the BNA

The Liffey link lottery

In The Grand Canal of Ireland [David & Charles, Newton Abbot 1973], Ruth Delany says

In 1784 the construction of a link with the River Liffey had been discussed.

John Brownrigg had suggested a link from the Grand Canal Company’s harbour at James’s Street, but the plan eventually adopted was that of the Circular Line, the four-mile canal we have today, joining the Liffey via the Grand Canal Docks at Ringsend.

However, I have found a piece of evidence showing that the company considered the Liffey link ten years earlier, in 1774. Delany says that there are no board minutes for two years between 1773 and 1775, which would explain why this earlier plan has not hitherto been noticed. The evidence is from the Hibernian Journal; or, Chronicle of Liberty 19 October 1774.

The Trustees for executing the Canal of Communication between the Canal and the Harbour of Dublin, Toll free, confiding in the Favour of the Public for the Support of a Work of so great national Utility, have unanimously resolved upon the following Scheme, grafted upon the State Lottery for this present Year, for raising a Fund for that Purpose.

The Necessity of this Application to the Public at present, will appear from a Report of the Committee of Works of the Canal Company, certifying that the Works contracted for by Mr Traill between the Liffey at or near Sallins and the City Bason, are in such Forwardness as to render it absolutely necessary to proceed in making the above mentioned Communication early in the next Year; the said Report is in the Hands of the Secretary to the Canal Company.

2 prizes of                      £2000          is £4000
4 prizes of                         £750          is £3000
5 prizes of                         £150          is   £750
10 prizes of                          £50          is   £500
20 prizes of                          £40         is   £400 *
40 prizes of                             £5        is   £200
180 prizes of                            £1/10   is   £270
600 prizes of                           £1         is   £600
19150 prizes of                          £0/6     is £5740 *
First drawn first three days £40          is   £120
Last drawn                          £200          is   £200
£15780

NB Not quite two Blanks to a Prize; and the Publick will take notice, that £35 is accounted for more than the Tickets will amount to.

Ten per Cent to be deducted from the Prizes for the Use of the Scheme.

15000 Tickets, 4 Numbers each, at £1 1s each to Subscribers for a Lot not less than 50 Tickets.

Price to Non-subscribers, one Guinea each Ticket.

Subscriptions are now receiving, and Tickets delivering out at the Navagation-house [sic] in Grafton-street, where the Prizes will be paid immediately after the Arrival of the Numerical Book from London. The Securities required from the Subscribers, viz Bankers Notes, Government and Fire-office Insurance Debentures, and City of Dublin Bonds, are to be lodged in the Bank of Thomas Finlay, Esq, and Company.

The Names of the Trustees for carrying the above Scheme into Execution, may be seen at the Navigation-House [sic], in Grafton-street.

There’s an idea for DAHG.

 

 

* sic

Grand Canal bridge problems [updated]

Read about them here.

That’s not the Irish Grand Canal: it’s the one in Venice, the Monasterevan of the south.

There is a list of Santiago Calatrava’s bridges here, but information about his Irish bridges is lacking. Perhaps someone could send info about the James Joyce bridge and the Samuel Beckett bridge to The Full Calatrava.

Another iconic Calatrava achievement is described here [h/t Don Quijones].

Nothing in this post is intended to be insulting or degrading.

PS here’s a piece about another bridge being built in Foreign Parts, using a floating crane that even Bindon Blood Stoney might have been proud of.

And I’m like wow …

… as the young folk say nowadays. Searching the National Library catalogue for prints and drawings of the Royal Canal before 1900 brought up the usual suspects but also a very interesting map and this stunning view of Dublin in 1853. Viaducts! Railways! Steamers! Barges being propelled by sweeps!

I couldn’t find the Royal Canal, though.

Guinness

The visit of Her late Majesty Victoria, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, to Messrs Guinness in Dublin in 1900 [h/t Adrian Padfield]. It is not known whether Her late Majesty was forced to drink a pint of Guinness. And here is a less dramatic day at the Guinness wharf.

Pics of Cong here and here; no date given.

More Pathé

A train ferry, claimed to be in service on the Liffey

Fishing at Ringsend the hard way

Turf by canal

Launching the Irish Elm in Cork

A Boyne regatta

Making and using a Boyne currach in 1921 (you can learn the art yourself here)

A non-watery film: Irish Aviation Day 1936

 

Drawbacks of canals

There was a proposal in the 1830s for a ship canal along the coast, outside the railway embankment, from Dublin to the asylum harbour at Kingstown. A preliminary report was provided by William Cubitt after the House of Commons Select Committee on the Dublin and Kingstown Ship Canal had reported in July 1833.

Henry E Flynn was opposed to the idea and, in his A Glance at the Question of a Ship Canal connecting the asylum harbour at Kingstown with the river Anne Liffey at Dublin &c &c &c [George Folds, Dublin 1834], dedicated to Daniel O’Connell, he wrote eloquently of the drawbacks of the proposal, which included this:

Be it remembered, that the whole coast from Ringsend to Merrion is the bathing ground for the less affluent classes of the Citizens; and hundreds get their bread by attending on and bathing the females who frequent it.

And are the patriotic Would-be’s who support a Ship Canal equally reckless of the health, the morality, and the existence of those persons? Would they have no objection to expose their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters to the immediate wanton gaze, the scoffs, the jeers, the immodest jest, the filthy exposure and indecent exhibitions which the most abandoned race of men [ie sailors] could find in their dissolute minds to perpetrate in their view, and within their hearing? And yet, all this must be the consequence of a Ship Canal in the immediate vicinity of the female baths and bathing ground along the line.

Happily, the canal was never built.