Tag Archives: New Ross

Mills on the Barrow

Mill sites — Ireland

The Directors of the Barrow Navigation Company will receive Proposals for the several unoccupied Falls on their line of Navigation. These falls are from five to ten feet, with a constant and powerful supply of water; and, from some of the large Establishments now on the line of Navigation, a fair estimate may be formed of their value.

The River Barrow joins the Grand Canal at Athy, 32 miles from Dublin, from whence there is a navigation to Dublin capable of carrying Boats of 50 tons burden, and the River Barrow is navigable from Athy to the Sea-ports of Ross and Waterford, between which places there is a constant and extensive communication for 20 miles of its length.

The River Barrow is not above 10 miles of its length from any part of the extensive Collieries, known by the name of the Kilkenny Collieries, and only three miles from some parts of them, and the country intersected with good Roads. There are several Towns situated on the River adjoining the Falls, `with a superabundant well-disposed Population, only wanting employment. The country is well inhabited, the soil fertile, the climate mild, the River not being frozen over once in ten years.

Any further particulars may be learned by application to the Company’s Acting Secretary, E S Hunt; and Messrs Latouche, Dublin, if by letter, post paid.

Dublin Mercantile Advertiser, and Weekly Price Current 13 June 1825

The Officer

I see from the blatts that Dickie Fletcher, who set up the Galley cruising restaurant in New Ross, bought a boat called The Officer after the Ross and before the St Ciarán and St Brendan. I had not heard of The Officer before; I would welcome information (leave a Comment below) about its past and (if any) present.

Crossing the Barrow

The trackway [towing-path] on the River Barrow changes from the east {left) bank to the west at Leighlinbridge and back again at Graiguecullen/Carlow.

It seems to me that there may have been some difficulties in getting horse-drawn boats from one side of the river to the other and I have found no evidence on how it was done, so here is some speculation instead.

Boat Trade on the Barrow


Dublin to and from Waterford

The Public are respectfully informed that the Boats of the BARROW NAVIGATION COMPANY call regularly each week to and from the above-mentioned Towns, say on the Mornings of MONDAY and THURSDAY, at Three o’Clock, making TWO deliveries weekly at each end.

The Company having selected Men of the besst characters as Masters of their Boats, they engage the safe delivery of all Goods forwarded, and hope by moderate charges and dispatch to give satisfaction.

GOODS FOR ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND to be forwarded by these Boats, should be directed to the Agents of the Company.

Goods can be forwarded by careful carriers to the following towns, viz:

Graigue To
To Ross Carrick-on-Suir
Borris Clonmel
Innistiogue To Dungarvan
Thomastown Dunmore
Enniscorthy Ballyhack
Wexford Tramore

For further particulars, apply to the Company’s Agents

Mr JOHN KELLY, Grand Canal Harbour, Dublin

Mr JOHN M’DONNELL, Custom-House Quay and Lower Thomas-street, Waterford

Mr M W CARR, New Ross

Mr M RYAN, Graigue

Or to the Secretary of the Company, P D LaTOUCHE, Esq, Castle-street, Dublin

Waterford Chronicle 4 November 1854

The River Shannon and its Shrines

One of the Shannon books that are listed on the IWAI website but that I’d never seen is J B Cullen’s The River Shannon and its Shrines, which the IWAI list says is

Dublin. C.T.S. of Ireland. 1909. p.p.107. Green boards. Prof. illus.

IWAI also lists J E McKenna Lough Erne and its Shrines published by the Catholic Truth Society of Ireland in 1909, and it provides a link to a downloadable copy of what is a short work of 32 pages.

How many pages?

In 2004 that learnéd bibliophile Michael Slevin also provided a list of books being sold by Healy Rare Books, which included

J.B. Cullen. The River Shannon and its Shrines. Dublin. Browne & Nolan. n.d. Disbound. p.p.28. Illustrated.

I mention this because I have recently acquired a copy matching that description (though, I suspect, not at Healy prices). The number of pages is indeed 28 rather than the 107 mentioned on the IWAI listing. So were there two books with the same title by J B Cullen? My copy concludes with the words

At Killaloe may end the notice of the Upper Shannon and its Shrines.

That is followed by

[The Story of Saint Senanus, which is to follow, will introduce the remaining Sanctuaries of the hallowed and majestic River.]

It seems possible, therefore, that Cullen wrote more than one piece on the Shannon; perhaps they were originally published in the Catholic Truth Society magazine and then assembled to provide a 107-page book. The National Library suggests that there may have been four pieces.

I would be glad to hear from anyone who knows more about this — and to get copies of any other sections that may exist.


Here is an extract from Cullen about Athlone.

To-day Athlone presents a picture of greater interest than many of our Irish cities or towns. Its normal population is some ten thousand inhabitants, but its importance as a military station often swells this aggregate. This latter circumstance gives a very distinct feature to Athlone. The town is generally bright and gay with the parade of military, and joyous with the strains of martial music, while ever and anon the practice of artillery keeps the echoes of the Shannon busy recalling — in our peaceful days — the stirring memories of the warring past.

The book was published in 1909: the army is that of His late Majesty King Edward VII.

Shannon -v- Erne

McKenna’s Erne book has a practical tone: it mentions the “finely-equipped paddle-steamer Lady of the Lake” but says

We prefer a modest little steam launch for the purpose of our present excursion.

Assuming we have a few quid to spare, of course. But Cullen says nothing about how the traveller is to get around. He has clearly been on the water (he visited several islands — and even Lough Forbes, which is not easy to see by road) but also travelled by land to Kilronan, Edgeworthstown and Roscommon. It would be interesting to know how and when he made his journeys.

Despite its title, his book[let?] displays an interest in military as well as in religious sites and history, but there is nothing about contemporary waterways usage or traffic.

J B Cullen

From searching tinterweb, I conclude that John Bernard Cullen may have attended Mungret College in Limerick [PDF; mostly irrelevant] and had a brother called James who was a Jesuit, co-founded the Rosbercon Choir, lived at Bawnjames House near New Ross, was a founding committee member of the Catholic Truth Society of Ireland, contributed to the Parnell National Tribute and wrote lots of light historical articles. In 1886 two of his daughters, aged 3 and 13, drowned in an ornamental pond in his gardens.

I would welcome more information.

As far as I can tell he was dead before 1933 and his work is therefore out of copyright; accordingly I provide a PDF [5.3 MB] below.

The River Shannon and its Shrines

Canal carrying 1846: Dublin to Waterford

Lowtown is at the western end of the summit level of the Grand Canal; it thus has some claim to be the highest point on the canal. It is close to the village of Robertstown in County Kildare.

Lowtown is also the site of the junction between the main (Dublin to Shannon) line of the Grand Canal and its most important branch, the Barrow Line.

Lowtown (OSI ~1840)

Lowtown (OSI ~1840)

The main line from Dublin comes in from near the bottom right and exits near the top left. The two cuts leaving near the bottom left are the Old and New Barrow Lines, which join together just off the map. The Barrow Line runs to Athy, in south County Kildare, from which the Barrow [river] Navigation runs to the tidal lock at St Mullins, downstream of Graiguenamanagh.

The River Nore joins the Barrow a litle further downstream; the Nore is navigable on the tide upstream to Inistiogue. The combined rivers flow south through the port of New Ross and eventually join the estuary of the River Suir. Turning right at that point takes you up the Suir to Waterford, Carrick-on-Suir and Clonmel. Thus the Barrow Line, from Lowtown, forms an inland waterway link between Dublin and some towns along the Barrow, Nore and Suir.

Isaac Slater’s Directory[i] of 1846 lists those carrying goods on inland waterways. There is a long list for Dublin; entries for other towns list those providing local services. There are some conflicts between the lists (see below).

The map below shows those carrying on the Barrow Line of the Grand Canal and on the rivers Barrow, Nore and Suir. Each carrier is assigned a colour, which is used to frame the name of each place served by that carrier. Some towns (Mountmellick, Carrick-on-Suir, Clonmel) are off the map, further to the west. Note that the map is from the 25″ Ordnance Survey map of around 1900 rather than the 6″ of around 1840: I used it because it was clearer, but it shows features (eg railway lines) that were not present in 1846.

Click on the map to get a slightly larger version.

Dublin to Waterford: inland waterway traders 1846 (OSI)

Dublin to Waterford: inland waterway carriers 1846 (OSI)


All but one of the carriers are shown as having Dublin premises at Grand Canal Harbour, James Street. The exception is Gaven & Co, which is mentioned only in the Mountmellick entry.

I have not included the Grand Canal Company’s passenger-carrying boats, which carried parcels but not goods.

The City of Dublin Steam Packet Company entry for Dublin does not include Portarlington and Mountmellick amongst the towns served but the entry for Mountmellick says that the company’s boats leave for Dublin every Tuesday and Friday (its agent being John White) while that for Portarlington says they leave weekly. Boats from Mountmellick had to pass through Portarlington as well as Monastereven and other towns en route to Dublin.

Similarly, the entry for Mountmellick says that the Hylands boats leave there every other day while that for Portarlington says that they pass through weekly.

There is a page missing from the electronic copy of the directory that I consulted so the entry for Monastereven is incomplete.

The entry for Carlow says

To DUBLIN, and also to [New] ROSS, Boats depart, at uncertain periods, from the Wharfs of Lawrence and James Kelly, the Quay.

It does not say whether Lawrence and James Kelly owned any boats. They may have had boats but used them only for their own goods.

The entry for Mountmellick says “Bryan Hyland” rather than “B Hylands”.

The entry for Mountmellick includes the only mention I have found of Gaven & Co’s boats (James Waldron, agent).

The entry for Rathangan says

There are Boats for the conveyance of Goods, but no fixed period of departure.

Thomas Berry & Co, the most important carrier on the Grand Canal, did not venture south of Lowtown.


As far as I know, little has been written about the carrying companies, especially those of the nineteenth century. I would be glad to hear from anyone who can correct, supplement or comment on this information.

[i] I Slater’s National Commercial Directory of Ireland: including, in addition to the trades’ lists, alphabetical directories of Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Limerick. To which are added, classified directories of the important English towns of Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds and Bristol; and, in Scotland, those of Glasgow and Paisley. Embellished with a large new map of Ireland, faithfully depicting the lines of railways in operation or in progress, engraved on steel. I Slater, Manchester, 1846

My OSI logo and permit number for website

The Repealer

Here is a brief account of a trip from Waterford to new Ross by steamer in 1842.

Tidal Barrow

One of the government’s proposed schemes for saving the economy is a bypass of New Ross:

The N25 New Ross Bypass will provide approximately 13.6 kilometres of new road from Glenmore at the eastern border of Kilkenny and crossing over the River Barrow via a new bridge into Wexford.

That means it will cross around here. You should be able to see Glenmore west of the Barrow. The crossing will be in the area of navigation under the authority of the New Ross Port Company.

On the occasion of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee …

… (that is, of course, Her Late Victorian Majesty), F E Prothero suspended his explorations of Irish waterways after he had descended the Nore, from Abbeyleix to New Ross, in May 1897. Here is his account of that trip.

Update: New Ross dry dock

Eamonn Coady has kindly sent on some pics of New Ross dry dock, which I’ve added to the Dry docks page.

Lots more stuff in the wings: getting time to sort it all out is the problem.