Under the heading
GRAND CANAL COMPANY’S ENTERPRISE
the Irish Times reported, on 21 December 1909, on the trials of a launch newly built by the Grand Canal Company in their own docks at James’s Street Harbour.
The launch was 40′ long and 6½’ wide, screw propelled and driven by a Daimler 12-15 hp petrol engine. This engine was placed in the forward part of the launch
… and is worked in the manner which is usual with road motor cars: the driver or steersman sitting at the wheel having a clear view ahead.
That part of the launch was open; in the centre was a “deck-house or saloon, constructed principally of teak wood”. Aft of that was another open area. The launch could carry 20 people.
The saloon had “a sliding weatherproof door at the fore end, and two removable swing doors in the aft end”. It was lit by electric lamps and had cushioned seats at each side, with storage lockers underneath. A “table of novel design” was lowered from the ceiling when required, then pushed back up to leave a clear passage through the saloon. The launch, which was fitted up very tastefully, and
… the creditable manner in which the work of turning out the launch as a whole has been accomplished reflects great credit on the company’s workmen, and promises well for the future of local industries.
The trials were attended by the GCC General Manager George Tough and its Engineer Harry Wayte. The launch left James’s Street at 10.30am for Ringsend, travelled up the Liffey to Kingsbridge and back down again, before going out into Dublin Bay two miles beyond the Poolbeg lighthouse. On a measured mile in the Liffey, between the Pigeon House and the lighthouse, she managed 12 mph against the tide. She returned to James’s Street Harbour after arousing “considerable interest amongst spectators along the route”.
The launch was intended as “an officers’ inspection boat, to travel all over the company’s extensive system” of waterways routes.
The boat in every respect worked very satisfactorily, and reflected great credit on its designers. […] The success which has attended this experiment may lead to the establishment of fast or express goods boats all over the system.
I had not been aware of the existence of a GCC inspection launch later than the gondola of 1795. I would be glad of information from anyone who knows more about it: please leave a Comment below if you can help.