Tag Archives: speed

Speeding on canals …

… and the perils thereof:

Having reached the highest level of the great table-land, we traversed a space of fifteen miles without a lock; and here a curious phenomenon, illustrating the incompressibility of water, arrested our attention. About every twenty or thirty minutes, the horses are obliged to stop for five or six minutes, to take breath, the cause of which was this: — The velocity of the boat impelled the water in the canal with such force that it gradually rose so as to approach the summits of the banks, when it began to recoil, so as actually to form a back-water or stream, when the horses were unable to make head, and therefore stopped till the equilibrium of the canal was restored.

James Johnson MD A Tour in Ireland with Meditations and Reflections S Highley, London 1844

Royal Canal: unprecedented speed

From the Freeman’s Journal of 5 December 1833:

The Broadstone, from The Tourist’s Illustrated Hand-Book for Ireland 3rd ed David Bryce, London 1854


The Court of Directors of the Royal Canal hereby give Notice, that the present Day-Boat will cease running on Friday, the 6th, and that an Iron-Boat, capable of conveying Seventy Passengers, will leave the Broadstone harbour, at Nine o’Clock, on the Morning of Saturday, the 7th inst, for Mullingar, where it will arrive at Five o’Clock in the Evening; and Notice is further given, that at Nine o’Clock upon each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, a Boat will leave Dublin for Mullingar, and return from thence at the same hour upon Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. By the foregoing arrangement a saving of three hours and a half will be effected. The Night-Boat will, for the present, continue to leave Dublin for Longford, each day, at Two o’Clock, and a Boat will depart from thence, for Dublin, each Morning, at Eleven o’Clock.

By Order,
Royal Canal-house, 2d Dec., 1833.