Tag Archives: lost

Crossborderality and euroloot

I wrote here about last week’s NSMC meeting. I noted that the inland waterways meeting seemed to have transformed itself into an SEUPB [Euroloot] meeting: it is unusual for spending ministers to represent the government and executive on such occasions and it is also odd that the SEUPB did not have a meeting to itself, given that it is a separate body. I have asked the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform why spending ministers were allowed into the sweetshop unsupervised.

I now learn that this week there will be celebrations of the twentieth anniversary of the reopening of the Junction Canal in the Ballinamore and Ballyconnell Drainage District, now known as the Shannon–Erne Waterway. So watch for messages to the effect that cross-border waterways bring peace and prosperity … improved relationships in these islands … historic visit … peace in our time … as it happens, we have another sheugh up the road … how about it, Angela, another few quid for the other sheugh?

 

 

A sheugh would solve it …

… not.

If you’re feeling the need of something to depress you, troll on over to the website of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council and download the six PDF sections of the third Peace Monitoring Report. Written by Dr Paul Nolan, it is an extremely impressive piece of work — and a welcome counter to the witterings of the peaceprocess feelgoodistas who are so prominent on 2RN these days.

If you would prefer a summary, here is Liam Clarke’s account in the Belfast Telegraph, and here is his commentary; Tomboktu and others pointed to some problems with the headline on the first piece, but I’m more concerned that the focus on education in the headline on Clarke’s account may distort perceptions of what the report and, indeed, the rest of Clarke’s article are really about.

The report uses indicators grouped into four domains:

  • the sense of safety
  • equality
  • cohesion and sharing
  • political progress.

I didn’t find much that was cheering in any of them. Nolan lists ten key points:

  1. The moral basis of the 1998 peace accord has evaporated
  2. The absence of trust has resulted in an absence of progress
  3. There has been some increase in polarisation
  4. A culture war is being talked into existence
  5. The City of Culture year presented a different understanding of culture
  6. Failure lies in wait for young working-class Protestant males
  7. Front line police have been the human shock absorbers for failures elsewhere
  8. The rebalancing of inequalities unbalances unionism
  9. At grassroots level the reconciliation impulse remains strong
  10. No one picks up the tab.

Only the fifth and ninth offer any good news. But, from a waterways perspective, I was struck by the complete irrelevance of the proposed reconstruction of the Ulster Canal, the Clones Sheugh, to solving any of these problems. Yet Waterways Ireland, around whose neck this dead albatross has been hung, is the largest of the cross-border bodies and the sheugh is the largest capital project proposed to be undertaken by any of them. If the Irish government wants to do something to solve the real and continuing problems of Northern Ireland, as outlined in the Peace Monitoring Report, couldn’t it find something more useful to do?

Incidentally, I have not been able to find coverage of the report on the websites of the Irish Times, Irish Independent or Irish Examiner, although that may reflect poor searching on my part rather than any lack of interest on theirs.

The underwater underground canal

Some queries about the Ballykelly or Broharris Canal.

The Dublin to Lough Neagh Canal

Here’s another lunatic canal proposal: one I hadn’t come across before.

Proposal for making a line of navigation from Dublin to Lough Neagh

It is proposed by several noblemen and gentlemen of the county of Meath, and of the manufacturing counties of the north of Ireland, the river Boyne company, with several merchants of the city of Dublin and of the commercial towns of the north, to complete, by private subscription, together with such aid as parliament may be pleased to grant, a navigable canal, from the royal canal at Blanchardstown, near Castleknock, in the county of Dublin, to Navan, Kells, Balieborough, Monaghan, Armagh, and Lough Neagh.

The object of this undertaking is to open a direct intercourse between the metropolis and the manufacturing towns of the north; and it is conceived, by the proposers for this undertaking, that a canal, large enough to navigate twenty-five ton boats on, would answer the trade; and in consequence of many locks being already made, rising from the city of Dublin to Castleknock, they think such a canal could be carried on very cheaply from thence to Navan, where another ascent takes place, through the locks of the Boyne navigation to the level of the town of Kells, and the river Blackwater, at Glevin’s bridge, three miles north of that town.

Claven's Bridge over the Blackwater near Kells

Claven’s Bridge over the Blackwater near Kells

My OSI logo and permit number for website

The country northward appears so fit for inland navigation, that no doubt can be entertained of being able to cut cheap canals through it. It is therefore most humbly hoped, if a line for a canal in this direction should be found to answer the expectation, that parliament will be pleased to allow the undertaking to become a part of the intended system of inland navigation of Ireland, and to a share of whatever bounty parliament may grant to accomplish the same.

The advantages that would arise to the nation from this undertaking, are too obvious to take up the time of this honourable house with any comment upon them.

A Atkinson Esq (late of Dublin) Ireland exhibited to England, in a political and moral survey of her population, and in a statistical and scenographic tour of certain districts; comprehending specimens of her colonisation, natural history and antiquities, arts, sciences, and commerce, customs, character, and manners, seats, scenes and sea views. Violent inequalities in her political and social system, the true source of her disorders. Plan for softening down those inequalities, and for uniting all classes of the people in one civil association for the improvement of their country. With a letter to the members of His Majesty’s Government on the state of Ireland Vol II Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, London 1823

The (re)invention of heritage

From Google’s Ngram viewer (more here):

ngram[Sorry, Google: couldn’t get the embedding to work properly. WordPress’s whitelist omits Google, though maps seem to work OK. Here’s the original.]

The growth in the use of “Heritage” with an initial capital is particularly interesting. I can think of three possible reasons:

  • that more organisations, eg The Heritage Council, use the word in their titles
  • that the word is increasingly used as an abstract noun at the start of sentences like “Heritage is important”
  • that the word is increasingly used as an attributive adjective at the start of sentences like “Heritage apples should be preserved”.

Traditional, personal uses (like “My heritage from my ancestors …”) are, I think, less likely to require initial capital letters. That in turn might suggest that Google’s Ngram viewer is reflecting a new(ish) set of meanings for the word and might lead us to ask what that new(ish) usage is (or was) intended to achieve.

It might also lead us to ask whether an even newer concept might now be more useful: one that would dissuade well-meaning folk from preserving and displaying context-free old tat and persuade them to find and record information instead.

The Gillogue railroad

Gillogue, in Co Clare, is the site of a former Burlington factory and of a Clare entrance to the University of Limerick. It is also the site of a lock on the Plassey–Errina Canal, a section of the old Limerick Navigation, and of quarries, gravel pits and lime kilns.

And, according to the 6″ Ordnance Survey map, of around 1840, Gillogue also had a railroad.

The Gillogue rail road

The Gillogue rail road (click to enlarge)

The railroad was almost certainly not for carrying passengers; it may have been a light railway, with small wagons pushed by men or pulled by horses, and designed to be taken up and moved elsewhere fairly easily. However, I have no hard information about who owned it, who built it or what it was for. I can make guesses, based on its closeness to the canal and to the quarries, but it would be nice to have evidence.

If, Gentle Reader, you know anything about it, do please leave a Comment below.

My OSI logo and permit number for website

Relieving Athlone

Parteen Villa Weir is sending large amounts of water down the original channel of the Shannon, and over the Falls of Doonass, to draw water off from the upper reaches of the river.

Castleconnell water level 20140210 264_resize

The footbridge at Castleconnell

Castleconnell water level 20140210 267_resize

Above the bridge

Castleconnell water level 20140210 269_resize

The downstream side of the bridge

Castleconnell water level 20140210 271_resize

A bumpy ride

Castleconnell water level 20140210 273_resize

At normal levels the bottom of the wall is several feet above the water

 

Levels below Parteen Villa have not yet reached those of 2009 and the channel can probably take more before folk get flooded.

The Old River Shannon site has some photos taken at Parteen Villa Weir.

Snails

Snails may save us from restoring the Longford Branch of the Royal. Industrialheritageireland has the story.

Might be an idea to start breeding these snails for judicious use elsewhere.

Shinners losing patience over sheugh

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin [SF, Cavan-Monaghan] in the Dáil on 5 February 2014:

There is no excuse for either the British or the Irish Governments to stand over any delay in advancing with key cross-Border infrastructural projects such as the Carlingford Narrow Water bridge and the Ulster Canal. With regard to the Ulster Canal, I have been in touch with the office of the Northern Ireland Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Carál Ní Chuilín MLA, my party colleague. She assures me that both she and her counterpart here, the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Jimmy Deenihan, are fully committed to this project, and I welcome that affirmation. As I pointed out in the debate on the Six Counties last year, the North-South Ministerial Council agreed to proceed with the Ulster Canal project in 2007. In the intervening period, we have seen the economic collapse in this State and a parallel contraction in the North. Despite this, the Ulster Canal project was kept alive.

Permission was granted last year for the Northern section by Environment Minister, Alex Atwood, and by Clones Town Council and Monaghan County Council for the section in this jurisdiction.

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Jimmy Deenihan, has advised that the earliest the contract could be awarded would be late 2014 with a completion date in spring 2017. I urge the Minister to do all in his power to expedite this process and to encourage his colleagues to do so. I also urge him to maximise the possible EU funding for the project from the Peace IV programme.

The Ulster Canal project is about greatly enhancing one of the finest landscapes in Ireland for locals and tourists alike, regenerating rural areas that have long been neglected and delivering a tangible peace dividend to Border communities that were neglected for far too long. It is time to get the work on the ground under way.

Yes …. Sinn Féin’s faith in the economic potential of canals is touching, if slightly worrying for anyone who believes that the world economy has changed since the late eighteenth century.

But wait: as far as I can see, SF is one of the few groups that has not asked Jimmy Deenihan about Waterways Ireland’s proposed new byelaws, which might force boaters to pay slightly more of the cost of their hobby. Perhaps SF is secretly hoping that user charges on the Clones Sheugh will be high enough to pay at least the interest on the construction cost? That would be nice.

 

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.