Tag Archives: Lough Forbes

The Earl of Granard

The Earl of Granard has, within the last ten days, placed a neat little steam-boat for pleasure on the Shannon. She is upwards of fifty tons burden, and is, we believe, the first steam-boat for pleasure ever placed on the Upper Shannon.

Longford Journal 8 October 1859 from the
British Newspaper Archive

From the BNA

Blueways and traffic

I wonder whether it would be wise to issue some guidance to masters of larger vessels about (a) the likelihood of meeting numbers of canoeists, kayakers, stand-up paddleboarders (SUPpers) and others on particular stretches of water and (b) what to do on meeting them. Guidance to operators of the smaller craft might be useful too. I’m thinking in particular of the restricted visibility on parts of the Camlin and the prospect of encountering a fleet of SUPpers on a tight bend.

The Camlin and the Lough Allen Canal in effect enforce their own speed limits, but I don’t know whether there is any limit on the Shannon between Tarmonbarry and Lough Forbes. If there isn’t, perhaps a limit should be imposed to protect those on small craft.


Blunderbuses on the Shannon

Saturday 10 May 1845

[…] On our way to Rooskey this Morning we visited Cloneen [Clooneen] & Cox shoal and they were going on very well with about 60 Men

I ordered them to double that Number to my astonishment I found 4 Policemen Barricked in one of our houses and a new Barrick erecting for 30 or 40 more Men this was being done in consequence of three villains placing themselves on the opposite bank of the River and deliberately firing four rounds of Ball from Blunderbuses some of which went into the office and from the marks made by one Ball must have been only a few inches from striking Joe Lambs head — afterwards the villains retired to the Bogs — the object of this outrage was revenge on the Men for not striking for 1/6 [8p] Pd day — the average being about 1/2 [6p] — which is considered at present ample

From David Brooke ed The diary of William Mackenzie, the first international railway contractor Thomas Telford Publishing, London 2000

What the blurb doesn’t say is that Mackenzie was the contractor for works on four areas of the Shannon, working for the Shannon Commissioners in the 1840s. He was responsible for Killaloe, Meelick, Banagher and Rooskey and also held a dredging contract.

Lanesborough to Rooskey showing Lough Forbes

Clooneen (Cox) is the area at the upstream end of Lough Forbes; other Clooneens lie to the north on the east side of the river. Joe Lamb was the ganger.

Clooneen (Cox)

Fairies, squirrels and steamers

I am grateful to Liam Kelly for sending me this photo of a steamer on the Shannon. He says that the photo is believed to show a steamer belonging to Lord Granard (Bernard Forbes, 8th Earl of Granard) passing through Lanesborough Bridge in 1900.

Here is a map showing Lanesborough and Castle Forbes.

Lanesborough and Lough Forbes (OSI ~1840)

And here is Castle Forbes shown in relation to Lough Forbes.

Castle Forbes and Lough Forbes (OSI ~1900)

According to a programme reproduced on page 200 of Ruth Delany’s The Shannon Navigation (Lilliput Press, Dublin 2008), Lord Granard (Right Hon the Earl of Granard, KP, GCVO) was Commodore of the 1929 Lough Forbes Regatta, held under the auspices of the North Shannon Yacht Club Flag and the Motor Yacht Club of Ireland. Page 197 of the same work has a photo of a North Shannon Yacht Club regatta on Lough Boderg in 1903; it includes a large steam yacht, but with a white rather than a black hull.

The Fairy Queen

Page 181 of the same work has a photo of a passenger steamer, the Fairy Queen, one of the six operated by the Shannon Development Company, which was set up in 1897: the Fairy Queen and the Shannon Queen worked the confined waters of the Shannon above Athlone. The same photo of the Fairy Queen can be seen here.

To my eye, the steamer in the Lanesborough photo looks rather like the Fairy Queen, although I don’t think I could go so far as to suggest that they are one and the same. They’re shown from different angles and, anyway, similarities between steamers of the same era are to be expected. The reason I comment on the matter is that, while looking into the history of the Fairy Queen, I found that the invaluable Clydebuilt Ships Database had a photo of the 1893 Fairy Queen that served on the Shannon (not to be confused with her 1897 replacement). And, again to my eye, the Fairy Queen in the Scottish photo does not seem to be the same as that in the Irish photo. I would welcome other people’s comments on the matter.

The squirrels

The story is here. There is more on the family’s collection of animals here.