In May 1895 the fear induced by the prospect of a passage under Baal’s Bridge, on the Abbey River in Limerick, as revealed in the commercial court in London before Mr Justice Mathew and reported by the Freeman’s Journal of 20 May 1895.
Arthur George Mumford of Colchester, Essex, was described as an agent, but was actually a marine engineer and manufacturer of steam engines. He owned a 25-ton steam yacht called Gipsy, which he decided to sell through Messrs Cox & King, the well-known yachting agents (their 1913 catalogue is here).
The buyer was Ambrose Hall, the man responsible for the statue of Patrick Sarsfield. A former mayor of Limerick, he was an alderman and a “house and land commission agent”; his address was given as Mignon House, Limerick, which I have not so far found.
Hall bought the boat for £500; it was to be delivered to him at Limerick. The original plan was to sail it around the coast of Ireland and up the Shannon estuary, but bad weather in late 1894 caused Cox & King to suggest taking it to Dublin and then down the Grand Canal and the Shannon to Limerick. Hall agreed; the boat left Dublin in January 1895. It reached Killaloe on 19 January and Limerick “a day or two afterwards”, where it was moored in the canal harbour.
Canal harbour, Limerick in March 2007
Hall refused to accept the boat in the canal, saying that it should have been delivered to Limerick dock, a short distance downstream. Mumford and Cox & King sued him and the National Bank.
Ordnance Survey ~1900
Hall, an alderman and a former mayor, who had lived at North Strand, presumably knew the river and its difficulties.
Baal’s Bridge looking upstream towards the canal harbour in the floods of 2009
The navigation arch at Mathew Bridge looking downstream in the floods of 2009
It was contended by the defendant that to get the vessel from the canal into the estuary of the Shannon there was a considerable risk involved. The passage was only a few hundred yards, but it was stated it could only be effected at certain states of the tide when it would be possible to get through Ballsbridge.
The judge sensibly suggested that it should be possible to insure the boat for the journey; the plaintiffs agreed to deliver it; Hall agreed to accept delivery and to pay £15 for the cost of the caretaker who had been looking after the boat since 23 January; the case was settled.
Clearly Ambrose Hall didn’t know Pat Lysaght.
Posted in Built heritage, Charles Wye Williams, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Foreign parts, Forgotten navigations, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Natural heritage, Operations, People, Shannon, shannon estuary, Sources, Steamers, Tourism, Water sports activities, waterways
Tagged Abbey River, Ambrose Hall, Baal's Bridge, boats, bridge, canal, Clare, Colchester, Cox & King, Dublin, estuary, floods, flow, Gipsy, Grace, Grand Canal, Ireland, Killaloe, Limerick, lock, Mumford, O'Briensbridge, Operations, Pat Lysaght, quay, Shannon, steam yacht, steamer, vessels, water level, waterways
Ger Reid, the Ardnacrusha lockkeeper, retired at the end of December 2012. Ger has guided many boats through the locks over the years and has always been cheerful and reassuring as well as informative, helpful, reliable and competent. He will be sadly missed but I wish him well in his retirement.
Meanwhile, I have heard that Limerick City Council has decided not to renew Pat Lysaght’s contract for work on the river and has suggested that Waterways Ireland should retain him. Pat’s most important role, though, in assisting boats passing through Limerick (220 in 2012), has always been voluntary. Were Pat to cease to provide that service, I think the number of boats visiting Limerick would be greatly reduced.
Posted in Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Irish waterways general, Natural heritage, Operations, People, Shannon, shannon estuary, Tourism, waterways, Weather
Tagged Ardnacrusha, boats, bridge, canal, Clare, ESB, estuary, Ger Reid, Hunt Museum, Ireland, Killaloe, Limerick, Limerick City Council, lock, Lough Derg, Operations, Pat Lysaght, pilot, Shannon, vessels, water level, waterways, Waterways Ireland, workboat
The Limerick Leader has a story that updates my piece on Limerick dredging.
Posted in Built heritage, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Irish waterways general, Operations, People, Restoration and rebuilding, Shannon, shannon estuary, waterways, Waterways management, Weather
Tagged boats, bridge, Clare, Custom House, ESB, estuary, floods, flow, Ireland, Limerick, lock, Operations, Pat Lysaght, pontoon, quay, Shannon, vessels, water level, waterways, workboat