Tag Archives: ship canal

Newry: canal, steam railways, ships …

Thanks to Andrew Waldron for the link to this film, The Clanrye Connection, about Newry and its transport systems: the inland canal, the ship canal and the railways. The film was made by the BBC in 1996 and is about 50 minutes long.

There is even an electric tram.

 

Tralee Ship Canal

The new ship canal at Blennerville, Tralee, has lost three foot of water out of twelve since its construction.

Catholic Telegraph 8 May 1852

From the BNA

Tralee Ship Canal

The principal export trade of Tralee is in grain, cattle, and pork; they are sent to Cork by land. The harbour is exceedingly bad and dangerous, and, at the time of my visit, a ship-canal was in process of cutting from the bay. By some men of intelligence and experience, a railway was considered preferable.[1]

[1] Jonathan Binns The Miseries and Beauties of Ireland Longman, Orme, Brown and Co, London 1837

Not the end of the Tralee Ship Canal [updated]

I am grateful to Holger Lorenz of Tralee for alerting me to the removal of one of the gates of the Tralee Ship Canal. Holger’s photos of the lock and gate are here:

Photo 1    Photo 2    Photo 3    Photo 4    Photo 5    Photo 6

According to a Radio Kerry story, the gate had to be removed for maintenance and Tralee Town Council had “no time frame” for replacing it.

It seems to me, from Holger’s photos, that only one gate of the upper pair was removed. If the lower gates were working properly, surely they should be able to keep the canal in water.

It is some years since I visited Tralee. At the time, there was a largeish barge moored on the canal at the bridge. If it hasn’t been moved, I presume that its occupants are now unhappy.

I do not know what Tralee Town Council, or whoever it was, hoped to achieve by restoring the canal (or, for that matter, why whoever it was built the Jeanie Johnston, which was a huge waste of money). But whatever they hoped to achieve, I suspect that the canal failed to meet expectations. I do not know whether there has ever been a formal review of the project but I cannot imagine that it provided a reasonable return on investment.

The best thing to do with it now would be to seal up the seaward end with a fixed wall, forget about opening the bridge, maintain some flow through the canal to keep the water from becoming overly offensive and let the rowers take over the canal.

Addendum February 2015

This story from The Kerryman in November 2014 escaped my notice; it says that the damaged gates were replaced. It also says that the gates “now have a new motorised opening system that replaces the old crank mechanism”, which may reflect some confusion on the Kerryman‘s part as the gates were hydraulically operated.

I still don’t understand why the lower gates, or stop planks, could not have been used to maintain the level in the canal.

Addendum March 2015

Kerry County Council confirms that the lock has been restored and that the canal is fully operational.

See also comments below.

Doonbeg

It seems that this chap has bought the glof course near the (proposed) Doonbeg Ship Canal. I’m sure that any further development will be in the best possible taste.

Who he?

Question 3651, put to George Halpin, Inspector of Works at the Ballast Board, Dublin, at a session of the House of Commons Select Committee on the Dublin and Kingstown Ship Canal on 16 July 1833, Daniel O’Connell in the chair:

Who is Captain Bligh?

A very eminent nautical surveyor. […]

I thought everyone would have known about Bligh: wasn’t he famous for his breadfruit?

SEUPBer

SEUPB, the Special European Union Programmes Body, has withdrawn its offer of funding for the Narrowwater bridge about which I wrote here and here.

Perhaps the scheme’s proponents might now consider a Newry Southern Relief Road instead. It might not be iconic, but it would be considerably more useful.

And I really don’t think it needs an opening span to cater for a couple of yachts going up the Newry Ship Canal.

It seems that the SEUPB wants to reallocate the money to a project that could be completed by December 2015. A cross-border sheugh, maybe?

Newry and Narrow Water

I wrote a few days ago about the proposed bridge across Carlingford Lough at Narrowwater (or Narrow Water). I was reminded of that today on reading a debate, held in the Northern Ireland Assembly on 30 September 2013, about a proposed Newry Southern Relief Road [thanks to theyworkforyou.com].

Apart from an admittedly minor mistake made by a Sinn Féin MLA about the Newry Canal (first summit-level canal, not “oldest inland waterway” in These Islands), the debate was remarkable for its demonstration of cross-party agreement: not so much on the desirability of public works (a desideratum of Irish politicians since the eighteenth century) as on the irrelevance of the Narrowwater bridge. Jim Wells [DUP] said:

There has also been some progress on the Narrow Water bridge project, although we do not know exactly where we stand. First, that bridge is far from certain, and, secondly, even if it were built, it would not relieve much of the traffic that we are dealing with. It would certainly not relieve the large number of juggernauts coming through from Warrenpoint harbour.

Sean Rogers [SDLP] said:

Narrow Water bridge is merely a tourist bridge, but the relief road would take heavy goods vehicles off the streets of Newry, reduce traffic congestion and attract even more shoppers to the city. Heavy goods vehicles would also have a direct route to Warrenpoint port, increasing trade in the port area.

And the other contributors to the debate did not mention it, which suggests to me that it is seen as irrelevant to the traffic problems of Warrenpoint and of Newry.

The Minister for Regional Development, Danny Kennedy [UUP], gave a lengthy response to the debate, including this point:

A more detailed technical investigation of the specific options for crossing the Newry canal was also recommended, given the sensitive nature of this important heritage feature. It is expected to require at least the provision of a bascule, or lifting bridge, to allow the passage of tall ships on the canal. The width of the Victoria lock already limits the size of ship that can enter the canal and it is expected that any bridge would maintain a navigation channel that matches the width of the sea lock. My Department will continue to consult with NIEA on how the impact of the proposal on the canal might be mitigated and an appropriate design developed.

And it seems that one of the areas being considered for the road is Fathom, which is where the Victoria Lock is. It is a short distance north (and upstream) of the border.

It must surely be unlikely that there will be two crossings of Carlingford or the Newry River [and canal] within a few miles of each other. But if one option, the Newry Southern Relief Road, helps to relieve Newry and Warrenpoint traffic and the other, the Narrowwater bridge, doesn’t do so, then the first option would seem to be the rational choice.

Although I wouldn’t bother providing for “tall ships”.

 

 

The Dublin to Galway ship canal

Another h/t to Ewan Duffy for the link to this Galway Independent article about the proposed Dublin to Galway ship canal. I was impressed to note that it covers Edward Watkin‘s late nineteenth century for a Dublin to Galway ship canal, which would save transatlantic steamers from having to go north or south of Ireland when travelling between Britain and America. It was, of course, a completely insane proposal; as some folk pointed out at the time, only Liverpool steamers found Ireland an obstacle and, being capable of 20 knots or so, might actually lose time by having to travel at 3 knots and through locks on a canal instead of steaming north or south about.

Incidentally, the article mentions the Panama Canal, which joins the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. So which ocean is at its western end?

Victoria’s secrets

Her Late Majesty Victoria, by the grace of god of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, had at least two locks named after her on this island: one at Meelick on the Shannon and the other at Upper Fathom on the Newry Ship Canal. This page gives a brief account of the canal’s history; it has links at the bottom to six pages (made up almost entirely of photographs) on aspects of the lock and its operation. Several of those aspects are not clear to me and I would welcome enlightenment about both the former manual operations and the current hydraulic operations.