Sex, steam and a syphon: tales of the Royal Canal
- Waterways & past uses
- Saving the nation
- Turf and bog navigations
- The Bog of Allen from the Grand Canal in 1835
- John’s Canal, Castleconnell
- The Canal at the World’s End
- The Finnery River navigation
- The Lough Boora Feeder
- The Little Brosna
- The Lullymore canal as wasn’t
- The Roscrea canals
- Lacy’s Canal
- The Rockville Navigation page 1
- The Rockville Navigation page 2
- The Rockville Navigation page 3
- The Colthurst canals
- The Inny navigation
- The lower Shannon
- The piers, quays and harbours of the Shannon Estuary
- Nimmo’s non-existent harbour
- The Doonbeg Ship Canal
- Kilrush and its sector lock
- The Killimer to Tarbert ferry
- The Colleen Bawn at Killimer
- Knock knock. Who’s there?
- Cahircon: not at all boring
- The hidden quay of Latoon
- The Maigue
- Sitting on the dock of the Beagh
- Massy’s Quay, Askeaton and the River Deel
- Saleen Pier
- The Lord Lieutenant’s Visit to Limerick — trip down the Shannon 
- The Fergus
- The Limerick Navigation
- The power of the Shannon
- The locks on the Limerick Navigation
- Worldsend, Castleconnell, Co Limerick
- The bridge at O’Briensbridge
- The Limerick Navigation (upper end) in flood November 2009
- The Limerick Navigation (lower end) in flood November 2009
- The Limerick Navigation (tidal section) in flood November 2009
- Floods in Limerick (1850)
- Limerick to Athlone
- The piers, quays and harbours of the Shannon Estuary
- The middle and upper Shannon
- The Grand Canal
- Monasterevan, the Venice of the west
- The Grand Canal lottery
- The dry dock at Sallins
- The Naas Branch
- The Mountmellick Line of the Grand Canal
- Dublin to Ballinasloe by canal
- The Ballinasloe Line
- A Grand Canal lock: Belmont
- South of Moscow, north of Geneva
- Water supply to the Grand Canal
- The Royal Canal
- Water supply to the Royal Canal: the feeders
- The Lough Owel feeder
- The proposed Lough Ennell water supply to the Royal Canal
- Kinnegad and the Royal Canal
- The sinking of the Longford in 1845
- Leech of Killucan: horse-drawn boats on the Royal
- Horses on board
- Prothero on the Royal
- Waterways in Dublin
- Waterways of the south-east
- The top of the Suir
- The upper Suir: Carrick to Clonmel
- The middle Suir, from Carrick-on-Suir to Waterford
- The Barrow
- The Nore in 1897
- Long-distance transport on the Nore
- The Slaney
- Johnstown, Co Kilkenny
- The Brickey Navigation?
- Waterways of Cork and Kerry
- Waterways of the west
- Waterways of Ulster and thereabouts
- The Junction Navigation (B&B/SEW)
- The Lagan Navigation
- The non-contentious Ulster Canal
- Prothero flies north
- Upper Fathom: Victoria Lock on the Newry Ship Canal
- The Willsborough canals
- The Ballykelly and Broharris Canals
- Systems & artefacts
- Irish waterways furniture
- Irish waterways operations
- Miscellaneous articles
- Irish inland waterways vessels
- Cots -v- barges: defining Irish waterways
- Waterways Ireland workboats
- Wooden boats on Irish inland waterways
- Traditional boats and replicas
- Non-WI workboats
- Older Irish working boats
- The barge at Plassey
- Dublin, Athlone and Limerick
- Waterford to New Ross by steam
- The steamer Cupid
- Liffey barges 1832
- Steam on the Grand Canal
- The Mystery of the Sunken Barge
- Steam on the Newry Canal
- Guinness Liffey barges 1902
- Up and under: PS Garryowen in 1840
- Watson’s Double Canal Boat
- The Cammoge ferry-boat
- The ’98 barge
- Late C19 Grand Canal Company trade boats
- Chain haulage
- The Aaron Manby and the Shannon
- A sunken boat in the Shannon
- Sailing boats on Irish inland waterways
- Some boats that are … different
- 4B mooring
- Irish waterways scenery
- Engineering and construction
- Irish navigation authorities
- The folly of restoration
- The Ulster Canal now
- The Ulster Canal 00: overview
- The Ulster Canal 01: background
- The Ulster Canal 02: the southern strategic priority
- The Ulster Canal 03: implementation
- The Ulster Canal 04: Ulster says no
- The Ulster Canal 05: studies and appraisals
- The Ulster Canal 06: the costs
- The Ulster Canal 07: the supposed benefits
- The Ulster Canal 08: the funding
- The Ulster Canal 09: affordability
- The Ulster Canal 10: kill it now
- The Ulster Canal 11: some information from Waterways Ireland (and the budget)
- The Ulster Canal 12: departmental bullshit
- The Ulster Canal 13: an investment opportunity?
- The Ulster Canal 14: my search for truth
- The Ulster Canal 15: spinning in the grave
- The Ulster Canal 16: looking for a stake
- The Ulster Canal 17: the official position in November 2011
- The Ulster Canal 18: Sinn Féin’s canal?
- The Ulster Canal 19: update to February 2012
- The Ulster Canal 20: update to April 2013
- The Barrow
- A bonfire at Collins Barracks
- Living on the canals
- Waterways tourism
- The Park Canal: why it should not be restored
- The Park Canal 01: it says in the papers
- The Park Canal 02: local government
- The Park Canal 03: sinking the waterbus
- The Park Canal 04: the Limerick weir
- The Park Canal 05: cruisers from the Royal Canal
- The Park Canal 06: What is to be done? (V I Lenin)
- The Park Canal 07: another, er, exciting proposal
- Accounting for risk
- Tax-dodging boat-owners
- Waterways & past uses
Tag Archives: steam
Heal and Son have just completed the erection of machinery for the purifying of feathers on a new principle, by which the offensive properties of the quill are evaporated and carried off in steam; thereby, not only are the impurities of the feather itself entirely removed, but they are rendered quite free from the unpleasant smell of the stove, which all new feathers are subject to that are dressed in the ordinary way.
Old beds re-dressed by this process are perfectly freed from all impurities, and by expanding the feathers the bulk is greatly increased, and consequently the bed rendered much softer.
The following are the present prices of new feathers:
Mixed, 1s per lb
Grey Goose, 1s 4d per lb
Foreign Grey Goose, 1s 8d per lb
Best foreign Grey Goose, 2s per lb
Best Irish White Goose, 2s 6d per lb
Best Dantzic White Goose, 3s per lb
Heal and Son’s List of Bedding, containing full particulars of weights, sizes, and prices, sent free by post, on application to their establishment, 196, opposite the Chapel, Tottenham-court-road.
Daily News, London 24 October 1846
Here is a piece about the Aaron Manby, the first iron steamer to make a sea voyage, and its links to Irish inland waterways transport.
The piece was first published in the rally magazine of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland Lough Derg Branch in July 2017.
I was thinking of buying a (secondhand) copy of Juliana Adelman and Éadaoin Agnew eds Science and technology in nineteenth-century Ireland Four Courts Press, Dublin 2011. But, even though the secondhand copy was much, much cheaper even than the publishers’ reduced price, I thought I should check what I’d be getting for my money. I therefore had a look at the contents list, which I reproduce here having nicked it from the publishers’ web page:
Is it just me, or is there a big gap there? How can you discuss nineteenth-century technology without an extended discussion of steam power, whether in ships, on railways, for drainage or in mills and other manufactories?
Mr Mullins, MP for Kerry, has made a very important discovery in the scientific world, that of applying galvanism, instead of steam, for propelling vessels and carriages. He is now building a carriage upon this principle, and several of the first engineers, who have seen it, say there is every prospect of success, and that it will supersede steam. — Limerick Star. The Dublin Evening Post claims the merit of this invention for the Rev J W M’Gawley, one of the clergymen of the Roman Catholic Cathedral in that city, who, that Journal says, explained it at the meeting of the British Association of Science there last August. “The discovery,” proceeds our Dublin contemporary, “has excited considerable interest amongst the savans of Germany by Mr M’Gawley’s interesting and important invention, which is to form one of the most attractive features of the proceedings of the British Association at its approaching meeting in Bristol.”
Berkshire Chronicle 13 August 1836
How nice to know that a current
MP TD for Kerry, noted for his scientific knowledge, is continuing a great tradition.
Thanks to AOD for alerting me to an article by Morgan McCloskey “O’Maras of Limerick and their overseas business” [PDF] from the Old Limerick Journal summer 2001. O’Maras were bacon and ham curers: according to Frank Prendergast “The Decline of Traditional Limerick Industries” in David Lee & Debbie Jacobs, eds Made in Limerick: History of industries, trade and commerce Volume 1 [Limerick Civic Trust, Limerick 2003]
James O’Mara of Toomevara in County Tipperary had established the business in a small house on Mungret Street in 1839. He started bacon curing in the basement but it became so successful that he had to move shortly afterwards to the premises in Roches Street, which they occupied until its closure in 1987.
The waterways interest arises from McCloskey’s having drawn on Patricia Lavelle James O’Mara: a staunch Sinn Féiner Dublin 1961, republished in 2011 under a slightly different title. Lavelle’s O’Mara, her father, was also covered here and was the grandson of the original James who set up the business in 1839. We are concerned with neither of the Jameses: Stephen, son of the first and father of the second, is the man of the moment. McCloskey says that Lavelle says that Stephen preferred to go to Dublin by boat rather than by rail and that she gives this description of one such trip:
Then the boat went through the heart of Ireland; and the country, with its hills and green fields, was spread before him in all its changing beauty for the best part of a couple of days. The steamer left Limerick and made its way up the Shannon, avoiding the rapids by various canals and locks.
After Killaloe it reached the wide waters of Lough Derg. The passengers had the run of the boat and could get a snack meal if they wished. Once, when grandfather was travelling this way, terrible squalls sprang up and the lake was very rough, but usually they could stop for a moment at Holy Island and see the ancient ruins there, and pass on by the wooded heights of the Tipperary shore, past Dromineer to Portumna, crossing and re-crossing the lake until they found anchorage in Shannon Harbour, as far north as Offaly.
There was a big hotel there owned by the Grand Canal Company, where they all stayed for the night and got to know one another; and feasted on chicken and bacon and cabbage followed by apple pie, and then sat round huge turf fires swopping stories or playing cards.
Next morning the canal boat awaited them, gay with its overhead canopy to protect passengers from the heat of the sun or from inclement weather. The passengers sat in two long rows, back to back, and gazed out across the fields as the paddle lazily churned up the turbid waters and the boat made leisurely progress along the canal. The monotony was broken once in a while by the excitement of passing through a lock.
The problem with this romantic account is that, as presented, it’s rubbish.
Stephen O’Mara was born in 1844 and began work in the family business in 1860. The passenger boat service between Limerick and Killaloe ceased in 1848, when the railway reached Limerick (though there were occasional special excursions after that).
The service was by horse-drawn boat, not by steamer; though there had been some attempts at running steamers, the Limerick boats did not go beyond Killaloe, whence larger steamers ran to Portumna or, later, to Shannon Harbour and places further north.
Scheduled passenger services did not “stop for a moment” at Holy Island, which was off the main route to Portumna.
The canal hotel at Shannon Harbour effectively ceased operating as such in 1847, according to Ruth Delany The Grand Canal of Ireland David and Charles, Newton Abbot 1973.
The canal passage boats did not have canopies, the passengers sat facing each other rather than back to back and the boats were horse-drawn rather than paddle-driven. Furthermore, the service ceased in 1852.
I cannot explain the extent of the inaccuracies, but perhaps Lavelle’s account should have been attributed to the elder James rather than to his son Stephen. I would be glad to hear from anyone who can cast light on this; please leave a Comment below.
Some folk have been sailing on the Thames in a boat made of cardboard.
Over two hundred years ago, Isaac Weld navigated the lakes of Killarney in a boat made of brown paper:
Whilst engaged in illustrating the scenery of that beautiful locality, Mr Weld derived additional pleasure from the occupation, in introducing a young and amiable wife to scenes so familiar to himself. To facilitate their rambles, and profiting by his Canadian adventures and his skill as a “voyageur“, he constructed with his own hands the model of an Indian canoe. In the absence, however, of birch bark, he had recourse to successive layers of stout brown paper, creating a sort of papier-maché boat, sufficiently roomy for two. In this paper skiff he actually had the hardihood to intrust himself and fair companion in sundry adventurous voyages on the Lakes.
That is from “Mr Foot’s Memoir of the late Isaac Weld, Esq” in The Journal of the Royal Dublin Society Volume I 1856–57 Hodges, Smith & Co, Dublin 1858. Wikipedia offers a shorter account of the life of the remarkable Mr Weld. His Statistical Survey of the County of Roscommon, Royal Dublin Society 1832, is an invaluable source of information about the Shannon and the Royal Canal, but Mr Weld is also notable for his voyage, along with his equally adventurous wife, on the steamer Thames [originally Argyle] from Dublin to London in 1815. There are brief accounts of the journey here and here; the captain, George Dodd, wrote a book An Historical and Explanatory Dissertation on Steam-Engines and Steam-Packets; with the evidence in full given by the most eminent engineers, mechanists, and manufacturers, to the Select Committees of the House of Commons; togerther with the Committees’ reports, distinguishing and defining safe and unsafe steam-engines, and their proper management: comprising particulars of the fatal explosions of boilers at Norwich, Northumberland, Wells-street, and in America: concluding with a narrative, by Isaac Weld Esq, of the interesting voyage of the Thames steam-yacht, from Glasgow, in Scotland, to Dublin and London [published for the author, London 1818] available here, and Isaac Weld’s account is available here. Mrs Weld may have been the first woman to take an extended sea voyage in a steam vessel.
The duck’s paddle
A series of experiments has recently been tried in France by the Marquis de Jouffroy, with the view of getting rid of the inconveniences of the ordinary steam paddle. The apparatus of M de Jouffroy consists of two palms, or articulated duck’s feet, placed either at the sides or stern of a vessel, having an alternate motion, so as to open in order to give the impulsion, and close again precisely the same way as the foot of a duck.
M de Jouffroy’s first experiment was made in the canoe of the jardin de la Folia St James, near the Bois de Boulogne, with the model of a frigate made on a scale of 1 foot to 37 feet, and so constructed that the common paddle or his improvement might be used at will. With the common paddle the vessel performed a distance of 130 feet in seven minutes. The paddles having performed 130 revolutions, at this time the propelling power was completely exhausted.
The common paddles were then taken off, and the duck’s-foot paddles substituted. With one hundred and thirty oscillations of these paddles, the vessel performed in the same space of time a distance of 153 feet; but what was most remarkable, was the fact, that instead of stopping short when the clockwork, which in both cases put the machinery in motion, had run down, the impulsion communicated to the vessel by the steady and undisturbed motion of the duck’s-foot paddles was sufficient to keep the vessel moving 150 feet more.
The report on these experiments by the committee of the Institute is highly favourable.
The Vindicator, Belfast 16 December 1840. From the British Newspaper Archive run by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited, in partnership with the British Library.
Perhaps this marquis was the son of that marquis.
Folk interested in eccentric early steam inventions, such as that described on my page about chain haulage, might also be interested in the invention of Captain George Beadon RN, as described on the invaluable Grace’s Guide site.
Her late Majesty Queen Victoria, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, had the foresight to acquire a photograph of Captain Beadon’s vessel and to make it available on tinterweb.
Captain Beadon’s route to London took him through Keynsham: that’s K-E-Y-N-S-H-A-M.
A gentleman has mooted the propriety of forming a steam-ship canal from Kilkenny to the tidal water of Innistiogue, and he has lodged £400 in the Provincial Bank as a beginning, and as an earnest of his good faith. His name is not given, why we cannot say; but of the fact that the money is actually lodged, we have been assured by the respectable manager of the bank, Andrew M’Kean Esq.
This half anonymous character is to be regretted; and we trust the promoter will not hesitate to announce his name at once, and set the project fairly before the public. Men do business now-a-days with their eyes well open. It is computed that £320000 would be sufficient for the completion of the undertaking. The distance is only thirteen miles. The promoter calls upon eight hundred men in the counties of Kilkenny, Waterford, and Wexford to come forward with £400 each, or else raise the money in £5 shares.
Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent 27 August 1850 quoting the Kilkenny Journal. From the British Newspaper Archive run by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited, in partnership with the British Library.
[NB I have not been able to find any later notice of the development of this proposal. Further information will be welcomed]