Tag Archives: passage boat

Grand Canal Coaches

In order to accommodate Ladies and Gentlemen who travel in the Grand Canal Passage Boats, there are established two elegant Coaches to convey passengers to and from their respective houses in Dublin to and from the Grand Canal Harbour, near St James’s-street.

The Coaches will set out from Goulding’s-lane, Anne-street, (South) at four and seven o’clock every morning, on and after Saturday the 16th of April next, and will call at the houses of such Ladies and Gentlemen as have previously taken and paid for their places at Mr Harrison’s Office, No 32, Dawson-street, which will be open from nine o’clock in the morning till eight at night for that purpose. Fare forfeited if the Coach is detained more than five minutes at any one house.

The Coaches will attend every day at the arrival of the Naas and Monasterevan Passage-boats, to convey the Passengers to their respective houses in Dublin.

Those who take places in the Coach will be secure of a passage in the Boats: — no large parcel can be admitted into the coach, it is therefore recommended to such as may have parcels to send them to the Grand Canal Harbour the evening before the boat sails.

RATES

From any part of the town to the Grand Canal Harbour.

1s 7½d for one passenger, from one house.
2s 8½d for two                              ditto
3s 3d for three                               ditto, and
1s 1d for any other passenger from said house.

Three Men Servants may be accommodated with places behind the coach, for which Half Fair will be required, proportioned as above.

A Guard attends the early coaches throughout the year.

The Passengers are requested to communicate to the Director of the Grand Canal the misconduct of any person or persons entrusted with the management of this department.

Dublin Evening Post 29 March 1796. From the British Newspaper Archive run by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited, in partnership with the British Library.

 

The sinking of the Longford 6

Here is the sixth and final page on the sinking of the passage boat Longford on the Royal Canal on 25 November 1845. This page is about who was steering the boat and why the steerer was unable to avoid the accident.

The price of fifteen lives was 1p.

 

The sinking of the Longford 4 and 5

Here are the fourth and fifth pages [I split one long page] in the sequence of articles about the sinking of the passage boat Longford on the Royal Canal in 1845. They discuss some of the evidence of corporate incompetence and farcical laxity that may have persuaded the inquest jury to award a deodand against the vessel (and thus against the Royal Canal Company).

Amongst other gems, the footnotes explain what a crapper is.

The sinking of the Longford 3

Here is the third page in the sequence about the sinking of the passage boat Longford on the Royal Canal in 1845. This page, The deodand, covers the inquest and the trial.

The sinking of the Longford 2

Here is the second page of the saga. This one gives background information about the passage boat service, the boats and the crew of the Longford. The shock-horror stuff will be in later pages.

The sinking of the Longford 1

Here is the first of several articles about the sinking of the Royal Canal passage-boat Longford on 25 November 1845.

Royal Canal November

I said here that I did not know whether there was a plaque to commemorate the drowning of fifteen people on the Royal Canal in 1845. I am grateful to both Ewan Duffy and Niall Galway for telling me that there is a plaque and for sending photos of it. Ewan’s, which I show below, was taken in 1997.

Porterstown Plaque

The plaque in 1997 (copyright industrialheritageireland.info)

Niall has sent on a message from the Royal Canal Amenity Group chairman:

A Mass in memory of the 16 people who lost their lives on 25 November 1845, when a passenger boat sank on the Royal Canal at Clonsilla, will be
held in St Mochta’s Church, Porterstown Road, at 10.00 am on Friday next 27 November 2015. After the mass you are invited to Porterstown (Kennan) bridge to lay a wreath and afterwards to the Clonsilla Inn for a tea/coffee.

I know that Ruth Delany gives the figure of 16 deaths, but all the newspaper reports that I have read say that 15 people died: 7 men, 6 women and 2 children, all from the second-class cabin.

Addendum 23 November 2015: I have now read some more newspaper reports and I think the discrepancy arises because early press reports of the accident itself, notably that carried in the Freeman’s Journal, said that sixteen people had died, but reports of the inquest gave the number as fifteen. The pre-inquest reports were inaccurate in other respects too: the total numbers of passengers were wrong and the chain of events that led to the accident was not properly described.

 

Remember, remember the twenty-fifth of November

25 November 2015 will be the 170th anniversary of the sinking of the Royal Canal passage-boat Longford and the deaths of fifteen people.

This was not (pace Ruth Delany in Ireland’s Royal Canal 1789–2009 Lilliput Press, Dublin 2010) “the worst accident ever to happen on the Irish waterways”: that melancholy distinction belongs to the drowning at Carrick-on-Suir of about 111 people in 1799 [see “The cries at the bridge” on this page], while the second-worst was the drowning of twenty people on Lough Corrib in 1828, the event commemorated by Antoine Ó Raifteiri in his poem Eanach Dhúin.

But the 1845 accident, between Porterstown and Clonsilla Bridges, was the worst to occur on an Irish canal. Evidence at the inquest and subsequent trial suggests great laxity in the management of the Royal Canal Company’s affairs, even if the immediate cause was an act of insane irresponsibility on the part of the boat’s temporary steerer.

I do not know whether any plaque or other artefact commemorates the event.

Tidal passage boats on the Suir

So late as the year 1807 the mail bags between Waterford and Clonmel were carried in a common cart and there was no public mode of conveyance between Carrick-on-Suir and Waterford but passage boats, the chief of which is well remembered as Tom Morrissey’s boat. These dropped from one town to the other as the tide served, fare fourpence a head, distance twelve miles, time occupied seven hours.

George Lewis Smyth Ireland: Historical and Statistical Vol II Whittaker and Co, London 1847, Chapter 14

Ballinasloe again

Another account, this dated 1838, of a trip by Grand Canal Company passage-boat from Dublin to Ballinasloe.