Tag Archives: Liffey

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.

Sailing up the Liffey (not)

While in Blighty I read a brief but entertaining piece in [HM] Independent newspaper [a piece that doesn’t seem to be available online] saying that the Sean O’Casey pedestrian bridge, which spans the Liffey in Dublin, cannot be opened because the remote control has been missing since 2010.

The story doesn’t seem to have had much coverage in Ireland, but The Journal seems to have originated it; it has been picked up by MSN and there is discussion at boards.ie, although I don’t know that many people will be inconvenienced by the inability to get tall vessels into a relatively short stretch of water.

GCD update

Paul Quinn has very kindly sent on some recent photos of the work in progress at the Grand Canal Dock in Dublin. Two of the photos show the strengthening of Hanover Quay and the third shows the new slipway, which is now complete and in use. I’ve added the photos towards the end of the existing GCD page here.

CWW bridge

Paul Quinn’s photos showed the new Marlborough Street Bridge being constructed across the Liffey. Last Saturday’s Irish Times reported that Dublin City Council would soon be advertising to seek suggestions for naming the bridge; it said that a body called Labour Youth [whose members may be socialists, I fear] wanted it named after one Rosie Hackett, who went on strike  many years ago. It did not report that there is another campaign to have the bridge named after E T S Walton, a physicist.

The north-eastern corner of the bridge features the site of the offices of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, whose crest still adorns the walls. I suggest that the bridge be named after the company’s founder, the remarkable Irish entrepreneur Charles Wye Williams: the father of the Shannon, the master of scheduled steam shipping, the founder of the CoDSPCo and a founder director of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, godparent of the Irish livestock industry, innovator in marine safety, promoter of the turf industry, writer and experimenter on steam technology, tireless campaigner ….

Apart from his company’s crest on Eden Quay, and his name on a bridge he caused to be built in Limerick, there is no monument to this remarkable man. Name the bridge after him and move the plaque to it (and protect it adequately).


Crossing the Liffey

Thanks to Paul Quinn for pics of the construction of the new LUAS bridge across the River Liffey in Dublin.


The Powers That Be

Dublin City Council tells us that “Construction on the bridge is due to commence in Autumn 2011”, which is nice to know, although an update would be nicer. Its PDF has a diagram of the bridge. If you can find anything about the bridge on the website of the National Transport Authority (which is paying for it), do please let me know. Incidentally, I hadn’t realised that the NTA’s reach had extended to passengers on ships, including those on inland waterways.

graham projects

The contractors


Drilling contractor

The contractor is Graham Projects Ltd; Quinn Piling were working there a few weeks ago, but seem to have finished their end of things by now; I can’t find a website for Hilliard & Hilltwister Ltd of Listowel, Co Kerry.

from o'connell brg.

Looking east from O’Connell Bridge

from butt bridge looking west

Looking west from Butt Bridge

looking north

Looking north from Burgh Quay

looking north from burgh quay

Looking north to the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company offices

looking south from eden quay

Looking south from Eden Quay

The 120′ Irish steam-powered narrow boat

Read about it here.

A wooden bridge over the Liffey

The Freeman’s Journal of 30 August 1873 says that a member of the crew of a canal boat, travelling on the Liffey, fell overboard but managed to swim ashore and climb one of the ladders up the quay wall to dry land. It says that the accident occurred as the boat was “passing under the wooden bridge across the Liffey”. I didn’t know there was one and would be glad to learn more about it, especially its location.


Dublin City Public Libraries have some nice photos available online. The section on the Port of Dublin includes 1926 aerial photos of the Guinness wharf and of Spencer Dock (not busy) and Grand Canal Dock (including the section beyond the railway line, now filled in). There is also a photo of a steam barge at the Guinness wharf. In the Commercial Dublin section, I saw two businesses beside the Grand Canal, Ever Ready Batteries at Portobello and Gordon’s Fuels at Harold’s Cross.

Blarna, Canima and the Liffey Dockyard

Pat Sweeney, in Liffey Ships & Shipbuilding [Mercier Press, Cork 2010], tells us that in December 1960 Cork Harbour Commissioners got permission to raise a loan of £250,000 to build two diesel-powered tenders to carry passengers to and from transatlantic liners moored in Cobh. The tenders were built by the Liffey Dockyard in Dublin; the MV Blarna was launched in May 1961 and her sister MV Cill Airne in February 1962.

After a varied career, the MV Cill Airne is now back on the Liffey as a floating restaurant. Her website says that she and her sister were the last rivetted ships built in Europe; they were the third-last and second-last ships to be built at the Alexandra Basin, the last being the Shannon Navigation’s Coill-an-Eo.

MV Blarna spent much of her life in Bermuda as a party boat named Canimabut then spent ten years in Canada waiting vainly for restoration or conversion and coming to be regarded as an eyesore. That period is now over: the “Millbank eyesore“, the Canima, sank in December 2012 and “salvage may not be an option“.

h/t Niall Galway