Here is a new page with an illustrated article from 1866 about the steam engines in three Grand Canal Company steamers of that era, which were used on the Shannon. I am grateful to Mick O’Rourke of Irish Shipwrecks for sending the article to me.
According to the Railway & Canal Historical Society’s Events page, its annual Clinker Memorial Lecture, to be held in Birmingham in October 2014, will be about River Shannon steamers in the second quarter of the nineteenth century:
The 2014 Clinker Memorial Lecture will be held in Birmingham on the afternoon of Saturday 18th October 2014. The speaker will be Brian Goggin, BA (Mod), MA.
Brian graduated from Trinity College, Dublin in Economics and Politics, and spent some years as honorary Editor of the quarterly magazine of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland. He and his wife Anne have been boating on Irish inland waterways since the late 1970s. He is currently working on a book on the Shannon steamers of the 1830s and 1840s, and the Clinker Lecture will draw on his research.
Before lunch (and independent of the Lecture) there will be a walking tour of central Birmingham, focusing on sites of waterway and railway interest.
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.
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.
The ESB is currently letting more water down the old course of the Shannon, from Parteen Villa Weir through O’Briensbridge, Castleconnell and the Falls of Doonass. This channel gets the first 10 cubic metres per second from the Shannon; the next 400 go through Ardnacrusha and anything left over is sent down the old course.
The result is to help to reduce the water level on Lough Derg while raising it on the old course.
Before Ardnacrusha was built, the old channel took the entire flow of the Shannon, so it can take more than it has now.
The level is still below that of 2009, when the land around the old channel flooded in several places. But much land is waterlogged: I saw yesterday that the upper reaches of the Nore, the Barrow and other rivers were in flood. And more rain is forecast.
Wouldn’t it be nice if some of that could be sent to Dublin instead? I see that some folk claim (on what looks like a website that hasn’t been updated for a while) that the evil Dublin folk want to extract 350 million litres of water from the Shannon every day; the original idea was to take it from Lough Ree but now it seems that Lough Derg is the preferred source.
Now 350 million litres sounds like a lot, but it’s 350 000 cubic metres per day, 14 583.3 per hour, 243.05 per minute, 4.05 per second, which is less than 1% of normal flow through the two channels draining Lough Derg. There’s a lot more at the moment, and the good citizens of Dublin are welcome to come down and fill their buckets. I suspect that Clare TD Michael McNamara has got things out of proportion.
Addendum: 350 million litres per day, over a lake whose area is 130 square kilometres, would lower the level of the lake (if my calculations are correct) by 2.69 millimetres. If no water entered the lake, the level would be down 983 mm after a year, ignoring evaporation and other abstractions and assuming that the Shannon and other tributaries no longer flowed in and that there was no rain.
Kilrush to Limerick 4 hours
Tarbert to Limerick 3 hours
Clare[castle] to Limerick 3.5 hours
Limerick to Killaloe:
Killaloe to Portumna:
Portumna to Shannon Harbour:
Shannon Harbour to Athlone:
Source: Railway Commissioners second report Appendix B No 6.