Tag Archives: Portcrusha

Money from the bog

To a small extent reclamation is now going on in Ireland; Mr M’Nab, of Castle Connell, county Limerick, has reclaimed 80 acres of the worst red bog, devoid of vegetation and 20 feet deep. It was drained, then coated with the subsoil, and the land which was not worth 2s 6d per acre is now worth 30s per acre.

Thus Robert Montgomery Martin in his Ireland before and after the Union with Great Britain third edition with additions; J D Nichols and Son, London; James McGlashen, Dublin 1848.

I have written here about Mr Macnab (that was how the spelling settled down) and his talent for extracting money from the bog at Portcrusha, which is between Castleconnell and Montpelier, Co Limerick. It seems that his achievements are still remembered — and emulated.

Incidentally, in the same work, published in 1848, Mr Martin refers to the

… large practical mind, great experience,  and Christian philosophy …

of Sir Charles Trevelyan.

John’s Canal in Macnab’s Bog, Castleconnell, Montpelier and O’Briensbridge

Here is a page about John’s Canal, which was used to extract turf from Macnab’s Bog at Mona Lodge, Portcrusha, between Castleconnell and Montpelier in Limerick (Montpelier is at the other end of the bridge at O’Briensbridge).

The bog seems to have been opened by John Brown (or Browne) of the Stein Brown(e) Distillery at Thomondgate in Limerick. Turf was carried by water from the bog to the distillery, where it was used to fuel the first steam engine in Limerick. The bog was managed by James Macnab, who took over the lease in 1841; after his death his son Alexander Allen Macnab took over. The bog was an early operation of a managed industrial extraction and production enterprise, operating throughout most of the year and drying the material to produce “stone turf”. About 5000 tons were produced each year.

The canal system had a wooden bridge (now vanished), several branches (some still visible), a lock gate (gone) and a stone pier/quay (still visible).