We embarked [on the Mahmoudié Canal at Alexandria] in a boat not unlike those that ply in Ireland upon the Grand Canal and, to say the truth, among the dreary wastes of swamp that surrounded us, we might also have fancied ourselves in the midst of the Bog of Allen.
The boat was towed by four wild, scraggy-looking horses, ridden by four wilder, scraggier-looking men; their naked feet were stuck in shovel stirrups, with the sharp sides of which they scored their horses flanks, after the fashion of crimped cod.
It is true, these jockeys wore tattered turbans instead of tattered hats, and loose blue gowns instead of grey frieze. Yet still there was nothing very new or imposing in the equipage, and the mud cabins that here and there encrusted the banks did not tend to obliterate Tipperary associations.
Eliot Warburton The Crescent and the Cross; or, romance and realities of eastern travel new ed, George P Putnam, New York 1848
There will be more on links between the Shannon and the Nile, Ireland and Egypt, at the Mountshannon Arts Festival on Saturday 1 June 2019 at 3.00pm, aboard one of the boats that used to “ply in Ireland upon the Grand Canal”.
Posted in Canals, Charles Wye Williams, Extant waterways, Foreign parts, Historical matters, Irish inland waterways vessels, Passenger traffic, Sea
Tagged Bourne, Nile, P&O, Shannon, Watson
I see that P&O Cruises [about which there is a not-very-accurate Wikipedia page here: not very accurate, I mean, about the history of the P&O Line] will seek public suggestions for a name for its latest vessel, which they call “the nation’s ship”:
P&O has also previously run a similar exercise, coming up with the stately Britannia for a ship that launched last year. The company hopes for something similarly dignified and patriotic this time round […].
I do hope there will be a concerted campaign to have it named Hibernia, to recognise that
- the single most important person in the formation of the P&O Line, Richard Bourne, was Irish
- four of the eight original directors were Irish (and one was Spanish)
- 83% of the company’s original capital of £304,600 in ships, exchanged for paid-up shares, was Irish owned.
Of course, as this great Irish company expanded, it took on more British shareholders and directors, training them no doubt in how to run scheduled steam shipping services, but it is about time that the Irish role was acknowledged.
See Freda Harcourt “Charles Wye Williams and Irish steam shipping 1820–1850” in The Journal of Transport History Third Series Volume 13 Number 2 September 1992, Manchester University Press, and Freda Harcourt Flagships of Imperialism: the P&O Company and the politics of empire from its origins to 1867 Manchester University Press 2006 [ebook now also available].
Posted in Charles Wye Williams, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Historical matters, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Modern matters, Operations, Passenger traffic, People, Sea, Sources, Steamers, Tourism
Tagged Charles Wye Williams, Hibernia, P&O, Richard Bourne