Tag Archives: Liffey

Dublin’s canals in 1801

Grand Canal

The formation of canals was scarcely known in Ireland until the year 1765, when the Grand Canal was begun by a company of enterprising men, who were incorporated in 1772 by an act of parliament; boats began to ply to Sallins in 1783, to Athy in 1791; it is a cheap and pleasant mode of travelling, at the rate of 3½ miles an hour. This Canal is carrying on to Philipstown, Banagher, and Birr. From the first lock at Kilmainham, a cut has been made to the river Liffey at Rings-end, extending 3 miles, having 12 neat bridges to accommodate the different roads to Dublin. At the seventh lock on this line, the great basons and docks are, 4000 feet long, and 330 feet average breadth, capable of containing 400 sail of square-rigged vessels. On the 23rd of April 1796, it was opened at high tide; when his excellency Earl Camden in the Dorset yacht, commanded by Sir A. Schomberg, with a number of barges from the canal, cutters, and boats highly decorated, were admitted under a discharge of 21 pieces of cannon, and had room to sail in various directions. There were 60,000 people present; it was the best aquatic fête ever seen in this kingdom. John Macartney Esq addressed his Excellency, and was knighted.

Royal Canal

The Royal Canal is another proof of national spirit and national industry. The subscribers were incorporated in 1789; it is now finished beyond Kilcock, 14 miles, and is proceeding rapidly to Kinnegad. On Sunday the 20th of December 1795, the first excursion was made in a barge to Kilcock, with the Duke of Leinster and Marquis of Kildare, amidst the acclamations of the people.

J S Dodd, MD The Traveller’s Director through Ireland; being a topographical description not only of all the roads but of the several cities, towns, villages, parishes, cathedrals, churches, abbeys, castles, rivers, lakes, mountains, harbours, the seats of noblemen and gentlemen on those roads: their antiquities and present state respecting parliamentary representation, patronage, trade, manufactures. commerce, markets, fairs, distances from each other, and natural curiosities; with an account of their foundations, vicissitudes, battles, sieges, and other remarkable events that have occurred at them — insomuch, that this work comprehends in itself, an accurate Irish itinerary, an extensive Irish gazetteer, an Irish chronological remebrancer [sic], and an epitome of the ecclesiastical, civil, military and natural history of Ireland, from the earliest accounts to the present year, and every information necessary for the resident, or the stranger. Embellished with  two elegant maps; one of the roads and post towns in Ireland, the other of the city of Dublin, compiled from the most authentic authorities Dublin 1801


Users -v- visitors. Pic of Laura Lucy here.

Even though I can describe brigs, brigantines, barques, barquentines and ships (as well as ketches, yawls, schooners and snows and a few more), I have no interest in these so-called “tall ships” events. However, the Pelican‘s rig (seen from the ferry the other day) is worthy of notice.

Guinness Liffey quay 1902

A photo and some info here,

Grand water

Here is a page about the feeders that supplied water to the Grand Canal. There will soon be a page about the Royal Canal feeders; these will lead to an examination of the current and proposed supply of water to the Royal.

Liffey barges

From The Dublin Penny Journal Vol 1 No 18 27 October 1832

The Box in the Docks

From the website of the Dublin City Business Association:

Dublin City Business Association commissioned Jerome Casey and Felim O’Rourke to undertake a study of tourism in Dublin and to make least-cost recommendations for its rejuvenation. The World Tourism Organisation concluded (in relation to Ireland) that “there appears to be very little correlation between marketing spending by National Tourism Organisations and international arrivals”.

Within Ireland, there is a mismatch between the Irish tourism market and the public resources devoted to it.

33 existing tourist attractions in Dublin were reviewed, and low-cost initiatives suggested for their improvement.

From 2000 – 2010 Ireland’s share of world tourism visitors has fallen sharply. In 2004, Ireland changed from being a destination country for incoming tourists to an origin country for Irish, outgoing tourists.

Dublin must move from passive approval of tourist activities to an active development of tourism as a priority industry in regenerating the city’s economy.

As my piece on the Park Canal in Limerick shows, I’m all in favour of low-cost improvements, so I downloaded the full report (PDF: 949.7 kb). Folk interested in waterways might like to proceed directly to page 46, which reviews the Box in the Docks, the Waterways Ireland visitor centre in the Grand Canal Basin at Ringsend.

Some other water-based attractions get much better reviews.





Russells of Portarlington, timber merchants

I am indebted to Eleanor Russell for permission to reproduce four photos of the canal operations of Messrs Russells of Portarlington, timber merchants and sawmills operators. They used the Royal and Grand Canals (and the Barrow Line and Mountmellick Branch) to carry timber cut on large estates to their sawmills. One of the estates on which they cut timber was Rockville, and Eleanor Russell has also given me permission to use a photo of Rockville House, taken in 1913, on my page about the Rockville Navigations.

Turning a white elephant into a beagle

That dreadful white elephant the Jeanie Johnston, currently owned by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (whose purchase of the wretched thing was almost as big a mistake as their involvement in the Irish Glass Bottle site), is sitting in the Liffey acting as a famine museum.

Now the Grauniad tells us of a project to rebuild a replica of HMS Beagle in order to do science. It is not clear why a replica of a small, wooden, early nineteenth century sailing vessel — presumably with high maintenance costs — would provide a better platform for doing science than a modern steel motor vessel, but the promoters have their hearts set (again) on using a barque.

And, as it happens, the Jeanie Johnston is a barque, as was HMS Beagle while Darwin was aboard. Admittedly, the Jeanie Johnston is rather larger, but it might also cost a lot less than building a new Beagle from scratch. In fact, we could perhaps pay the Beagle folk to take it away.

Clontarf to Clondra II

Maark Gleeson of Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club has kindly given me details of the Club’s recent trip along the Royal, with notes on the time taken and some useful advice, especially about the tides in Dublin.

Clontarf to Clondra

The Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club, recreating the Club’s 1925 trip, entered the Royal Canal sea lock from the Liffey on Saturday morning, 16 April 2011; some boats have reached Abbeyshrule this evening, and they hope to reach Clondra tomorrow evening, which will be four days from the Liffey.

That’s very fast: for Blanchardstown to/from Clondra, IWAI Dublin Branch estimated 5 days X 8 hours and I estimated 6 days X 7 hours, plus another day from the Liffey to Blanchardstown (12th Lock). I understand that CYBC has been doing very long days; I’ll get details later. In the meantime, well done CYBC.