Tag Archives: Tipperary

Remarkable case of abduction

At the Nenagh Petty Sessions, on Thursday last, information was sworn by Catherine M’Namara against John Creighton, Martin Creighton, and others, for abduction and assault; a warrant was consequently issued by the Bench of Magistrates.

Margaret M’Namara, a very pretty country girl, is the only unmarried daughter of a comfortable farmer of that name, residing in the parish of Island, in Galway.* John Creighton, a hamlet rake and village debauchee, living in the same neighbourhood, took it into his head, by one bold stroke, to secure himself in a pretty wife and handsome fortune, which would enable him to give larger and longer scope to his abandoned career.

Confederating with a few of his associates (among whom was his brother Martin) at a public-house, he there revealed to them his adventurous project, and it was unanimously agreed that their leader should have a wife and fortune. Accordingly, at dead of night, they sallied forth, and soon arrived at the cottage-home of the devoted girl.

A solitary and startling knock at the door was the first intimation that the unconscious inmates had of their danger. “Who comes there?” — “A friend, open the door!” — “What is wanted at this unseasonable hour?” — “No matter — open the door.” Old M’Namara rose, and the maiden cowered behind her mother in the bed. A dead silence of some moments elapsed — a murmur of whispering voices was heard, and, in another instant, in tumbled the door with a crashing noise.

All then was uproar and confusion — resistance was useless. Old M’Namara was felled to the ground, others of the family were unmercifully beaten, the mother’s arm broken, and the maiden herself was dragged from her bed out into the bawn in almost a state of nudity!

Her clothes were then brought out, and she was compelled to huddle them on her. Fearful lest powerful assistance might be brought to the spot, and that they might be deprived of their prize, the heartless wretches dragged her along the verge of the Shannon, and alike regardless of the forlornness of her condition and the delicacy of her sex, they flung her into a boat and splashed to the opposite shore.

After landing she was literally dragged for the distance of five miles across a lonely and cheerless tract of country; and as the dawn was breaking, she was secreted, in a state of exhaustion, in a friend’s house of Creighton’s, on the lands of Carighatogher, near Nenagh. During the journey, Creighton’s brothers frequently said to him — “Glory to you, John, you can now drink and smoke enough.”

The next morning M’Namara’s friends were indefatigable, though unsuccessful, in their efforts to find Creighton and his party. Mr Reed, a neighbouring magistrate, granted a search warrant; and himself in person, with an escort of police, scoured the country, but their exertions were equally uncrowned with success.

Mr Reed having received intelligence that the offenders were in the neighbourhood of Castle Lough, sent a note by express to Mr Anthony Parker, a gentleman of high respectability, a magistrate, and a deputy lieutenant of the county of Tipperary. Mr Parker, with his usual promptitude, instituted a general search throughout Castle Lough and the surrounding country.

During this lapse of time, Catherine M’Namara was removed to a cabin belonging to an individual named Reedy, the local position of which was the centre of a dreary bog. While there, deploring her unfortunate condition,she was alarmed by the cry of “Police! police!” “fly, fly!” She lifted her head, and saw Creighton running out of the back door, while a middle-sized, sandy-complexioned man and five country-fellows, who were well armed, darkened the front entrance at almost the same moment. An involuntary shuddering seized her when she saw the men staring inquisitively in her face.

Reedy, the lord of the “mud edifice,” demanded “by what authority they dared to enter his mansion?” The man who seemed to be the leader, heedless of Reedy’s questions, approached the shivering girl, and asked her in a northern accent, “if she were detained against her inclination, or if she needed protection?” Her humid eyes met his, and in mute eloquence implored protection. “Child, do you need protection?”the game voice again repeated in a hurried cadence.She grasped his arm, and almost breathlessly exclaimed, “I want nothing else!”

The house was instantly cleared of a crowd that had collected; her clothes were gathered; the little party filed around her, and proceeded silently to the road, expecting each moment to be attacked. She was afterwards conducted to the house of a respectable farmer named Quin, where she was hospitably received and entertained, and protected for the following night and day.

Mr Baxter, the leader of the little party that had rendered such signal service to the cause of humanity, then learned from the poor girl’s own lips the particulars connected with her abduction. Before he went to Reedy’s cottage, all he knew was,that a strange young woman was detained there against her inclination, and under suspicious circumstances.

Next day she was accompanied to the sessions-house of Nenagh, where Mr Parker, fortunately, was a sitting Magistrate; she was admitted into the jury-room, and her evidence taken, and a warrant was issued as before mentioned. After being examined, Mr Parker very kindly gave her money, got her a proper conveyance, and an escort of police to conduct her to the arms of her afflicted parents, where she now remains under the especial protection of Mr Reed.

Leamington Spa Courier 7 March 1835

* I have no idea where that is: Griffith, Lewis and the Parliamentary Gazetteer make no mention [that I can find] of a parish called Island or Islands in County Galway or County Clare [I checked both because the boundary changed later in the nineteenth century]. Could the author have meant Illaunmore? Or Inis Cealtra? Griffith finds McNamaras and a Creighton in the parish of Inishcaltra.

The agency model

I have been told that, until recent years, travel agents in Germany and elsewhere would buy packages of weeks on Irish hire-boatsa and then sell them on to their own clients. I have also been told that this “agency model” ceased to be used [or became less used], perhaps because of the growth of internet booking. And it has been suggested that this was one of the factors in the decline of the Shannon hire-boat trade, to which I have repeatedly drawn attention [most recently here].

I do not know whether this phenomenon has been documented or formally studied. If it has, I would be grateful if any reader can point me to the documents or studies. I would also welcome other Comments on the proposition.

Packaging and marketing

I mention it now because, when launching the Shannon Blueway project, the waterways minister Heather Humphreys said:

The launch of the Blueway will allow local businesses [to] capitalise on an increase in demand for transport, equipment hire, accommodation and entertainment.

I think that the Blueway is an excellent idea, but I am concerned about whether small local companies will be able to package and market it effectively to overseas tourists. If the long-established cruiser-hire-firms were or are finding effective marketing difficult, why would (say) a canoe- or bicycle-hire-firm in Drumshanbo find it any easier?

Marketing to anglers

There was an interesting discussion at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications about “Depletion of Inland Fish Stocks and Impact of Estuary Poaching: Inland Fisheries Ireland” on 22 October 2014. Note in particular the contributions of Dr Ciaran Byrne from 10:25 onwards about how Inland Fisheries Ireland markets Irish angling to overseas anglers.

What struck me was not that IFI uses any particularly magical marketing methods but that it is dealing with a well-defined interest group: people who are committed to a particular activity and have invested heavily in it (buying rods and stools and nets and umbrellas and maggots and whatever else anglers use).

Identifying potential customers

Anglers form one segment of the market for inland waterways holidays, but the task of selling to other segments is harder if they lack a single compelling interest. Hence, no doubt, those rather demented attempts by Fáilte Ireland or Tourism Ireland to categorise potential customers as ‘Sightseers and Culture Seekers’, ‘Family & Loved Ones’, ‘Relaxers’ and ‘Outdoor Actives’. None of their interests strikes me as being exactly compelling: there are several countries where you can relax, engage in outdoor activities or look at sights.

What you really need is obsessive customers: folk, with money to spare, who are really interested in one thing. Then you entice them to your area and take their money from them: not, as Brian Ború would have done, by hitting them over the head and stealing it, but by selling them overpriced goods and services.

Lough Derg

If you don’t have obsessive customers, who are compelled by their inner urges to dangle maggots in your waters (or whatever else turns them on), then you might try offering a compelling attraction: something that is so interesting that folk put it on their to-do lists. Unfortunately, as Fáilte Ireland’s Lakelands Lough Derg Roadmap [PDF, 6.7MB; well worth reading] admits,

Lough Derg does not have suffient key attractions that act as a draw to the area.

The same thought has often struck me. As you drive around the lake, you see signs pointing towards it. But suppose you’re a casual tourist who hasn’t already booked an activity. When you get to the lake, about the only thing you can do is look at the water (which becomes less interesting after a while) or at the jolly people enjoying themselves on boats (ditto).

You can, in some places, go to a pub or eatery, but you don’t need to come to Ireland to do that. Or you can paddle. If you fish, you can fish, but I’m trying to think of things for non-anglers. In Killaloe, you can take a boat trip; in Dromineer, you can hire a sailing boat; in Mountshannon, you can visit Holy Island. But there is nothing you would come to Ireland for: nothing you can’t do in other places.

Roadmap remedies

The Roadmap proposes these remedies:

The following three key tourism products are proposed:

  • A Discovery Point and Trailhead at the Portroe lookout
  • A Lough Derg Canoe/Kayak trail
  • An enhanced offering and facilities at University of Limerick Activities Centre (ULAC).

Two additional tourism products are proposed:

  • Portumna eco-park (masterplanning required)
  • Publications to promote and support active enjoyment of Lough Derg and surrounds.

There is, alas, another set of categories of potential visitors:

The three market segments identified with the best potential for delivering international visitors to Lough Derg have been identified as Curiously Cultural, Great Escapers and Nature Lovers.

Other, less exploitable, market segments are identified too, but I can’t bring myself even to name them.

Finding the punters

I’d hate it to be thought that I was a marketing expert, but it seems to me that this segmentalisation is coming at things from the wrong end. In effect, it’s saying “We have these things; what sort of person might be induced to buy them?” Then you give each of those sorts of person a category and say that you’ve found your market.

But compare that with what the fisheries folk do. They can identify magazines that anglers read, maybe (for aught I know) television programmes they watch, trade shows they visit. Identification is easy: the titles will include words like “fishing” or “angling”.

But what magazines — other than those on the top shelf — have “Curiously Cultural” or “Nature Lovers” in the title? How do you track down “Great Escapers”? It seems to me that these categories might help you to tailor a message that is broadcast to large audiences through mass media: in such cases it doesn’t matter if you appeal to only 1% of the audience, provided that that audience is large enough. However, that’s not an option available to those with small budgets: they need cheaper marketing through channels that will provide much higher returns.

Small operators

And that’s where we come back to the fact that most of the potential tourism operators around Lough Derg are pretty small. Who is going to put together packages of activities that will appeal to the curiously cultural? I’m interested only in filling my B&B and you’re interested in hiring out bicycles. I’m happy to refer customers to you and vice versa, but are we going to get together to provide packages and to share our marketing budgets? There is a Lough Derg Marketing and Strategy Group, but it seems to be dominated by representatives of public sector bodies, and there is a limit to what they can do.

To compete on a European scale, what’s really needed is a large commercial organisation. I suggest, therefore, that the best thing to do would be to get Goldman Sachs to advise on how Lough Derg might be privatised.

Second-best would be the formation of a tourism cooperative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steam, the Shannon and the Great British Breakfast

That is the title of the Railway and Canal Historical Society‘s 2014 Clinker Memorial Lecture, to be held at the Birmingham and Midland Institute, Margaret Street, Birmingham B3 3BS, at 1415 on Saturday 18 October 2014.

The lecture will concentrate on the period before 1850 with such interesting topics as

  • Shannon steamers
  • the Grand and Royal Canals
  • the first Irish turf (peat) to reach the USA (possibly)
  • port developments in Dublin, Limerick and Kingstonw
  • the Dublin and Kingstown Ship Canal
  • the Midland Great Western Railway
  • what “cattle class” really means
  • bacon and eggs.

Admission is free and booking is not required. However, if you plan to attend, it would be helpful if you could e-mail […] to this effect.

The Clinker Memorial Lecture is named for Charles R Clinker, an eminent railway authoe and one-time historian of the Great Western Railway, who died in 1983.

If you would like the contact email address, leave a Comment below and I’ll get in touch with you direct.

 

 

Loos change as TippCoCo hopes to swipe the loot

Er … sorry about the outbreak of headlineitis: it’s corresponding with journalists that does it.

The Tipperary Star reports (on paper, not on its website) that Tipperary County Council intends to issue “swipe cards for boating facilities along Lough Derg”. Michael Hayes, the engineer for Nenagh Municipal District Council, said that the cards were sold along the Shannon but that the revenue went to Waterways Ireland whereas the council bore all the costs. He is quoted as saying that “We are pursuing it to have them pay some of the costs”: another threat to WI’s budget.

Councillor Phyll Bugler said that it was “not acceptable” that shower and toilet blocks closed early, although she is not reported to have commented on the cost of having staff to clean the blocks late at night.

I suspect that Waterways Ireland’s income from the smart cards is minimal.

 

GCC Shannon steamers 1866

Here is a new page with an illustrated article from 1866 about the steam engines in three Grand Canal Company steamers of that era, which were used on the Shannon. I am grateful to Mick O’Rourke of Irish Shipwrecks for sending the article to me.

 

Lough Derg 27 December 2013

Water level

Dromineer 20131227 01_resize

The ramp to the pontoons in Dromineer is now sloping upwards

The water level at Banagher has risen about one metre in the past 35 days.

Wind

Dromineer 20131227 02_resize

Dromineer people need to drink more wine

Dromineer 20131227 04_resize

The ghost ship is back

Towers

Dromineer 20131227 05_resize

Dromineer sans ivy

Garrykennedy 20131227 02_resize

Garrykennedy

Garrykennedy 20131227 11_resize

Garrykennedy from a distance

Shelter

Dromineer 20131227 03_resize

Miranda in Dromineer

Garrykennedy 20131227 04_resize

Garrykennedy 1

Garrykennedy 20131227 05_resize

Fewer boats in WI berths this year, I think

Garrykennedy 20131227 03_resize

Garrykennedy 2

 

Lough Derg Regatta 1849

The Dublin Evening Mail of 19 September 1849 has come to hand.

LOUGH DERG REGATTA

The Regatta on the above-named beautiful lake came off last week. Monday, the 10th of September commenced the annual aquatic sports: the day was tolerably fine, and at two o’clock, PM, the Commodore, the Right Hon Lord Viscount Avonmore, started four yachts for a 30 Guinea Challenge Cup, with £12 added. After a drifting match (for it fell flat calm shortly after three o’clock), they came in as under:—

Gem, 12 tons, James Spaight, Esq
Hero, 8 tons, Dash Gainor, Esq
Iris, 19 tons, Wills C Gason, Esq
Foam, 24 tons, Lord Avonmore.

This was a time race.

While the yachts were absent several cot races came off.

On Tuesday, the 11th, the yachts sailed down in fleet to Killaloe, but the following day it blew a whole gale of wind, and the match that was to have been sailed for on that day was put off till the next; however, in the evening there were some well contested cot races.

The course was as usual — start from the Jetty, over the diagonal wall (built by the Shannon Commissioners to keep the water to a proper level in summer), under the bridge, round Friar’s Island, and back: to a stranger, it is astonishing to see a boat go down an incline nearly four feet high, which they are obliged to do in the race, and what is more extraordinary, any cot that is not rowed at it pretty fast, is almost certain of being upset.

Thursday, the 12th, at the Commodore’s signal, all the yachts got under weigh, and came to anchor off Derry, and at two o’clock, PM, five yachts started for a Silver Cup, valued at £15, witn £5 added. This was a time race for yachts under twelve tons. The wind was WNW, and blew a fine gaff-topsail breeze; at half-past four o’clock the yachts came in as under:—

Hero, 8 tons, Dash Gainor, Esq
Gem, 12 tons, James Spaight, Esq
Willy Wa, 9 tons, Captain Hon F Yelverton
Vampire, 9 tons, Arthur Vincent, Esq
Midge, 7 tons, Bassett W Holmes, Esq.

This was a beautiful race, all the yachts coming in almost together: the Hero only winning by 27 seconds — indeed she may thank the Midge for winning the prize, as going free the first round she got the Gem under her lee, and kept her back some minutes. Shortly after the signal was given to weigh anchor, and start for Portumna, where the fleet arrived at a late hour. In passing Scilly Island the Foam carried away her rudder head, and was near going ashore.

Next day, Friday the 14th, the yachts assembled off Portumna Castle, and at three o’clock, PM, the Commodore started the following boats for a 40 Guinea Challenge Cup, with a purse of Sovereigns added, for all yachts. A handicap race.

Novice, 4 tons, Dash Ryan, Esq
Midge, 7 tons, Bassett W Holmes, Esq
Vampire, 9 tons, Arthur Vincent, Esq
Gem, 12 tons, James Spaight, Esq
Foam, 24 tons, Lord Avonmore
Iris, 18 tons, Wills C Gason, Esq.

This was a most exciting race, and during the first hour it was difficult to tell which would be the winner. Before rounding the second flag boat the Novice put about and gave up the race, and off Church Island, the Midge carried away the jaws of her gaff, and was obliged to give up the race, which she was almost sure of winning — having gained two minutes the first round. The course was a long one, and the race was not over till after eight o’clock, when the four boats came in as follows:—

Iris
Foam
Gem
Vampire.

During each day of the Regatta, the City of Dublin Steam Company placed one of their fine steamers at the disposal of the Sailing Committee, who took out all their friends, and accompanied the yachts each day during the race.

In the evening, after several cot races and other amusements too numerous to relate. The ladies and gentlemen present were entertained at Belle Isle, the beautiful seat and hospitable mansion of Lord Avonmore; and at a later hour assembled some 120 of the elite of Tipperary, Galway, and King’s County, at the Clanricarde Arms, Portumna, where dancing was kept up with spirit until morning.

The population of the Portumna DED declined by 30.46% between 1841 and 1851.

The drowning of Randal M’Donnell

I am indebted to the [London] Standard of 8 February 1858 for alerting me to the sad circumstances reported by Saunders’s Newsletter.

Slevoir OSI ~ 1900

Slevoir OSI ~ 1900

Parsonstown, Friday Evening. — A most distressing accident, which resulted in the death of Randal M’Donnell, Esq, of Slevoir, occurred yesterday. Mr M’Donnell was much devoted to aquatic pursuits, and had made several voyages to Australia and other countries, and had only recently returned from a visit to relations in America.

He was the proprietor of a yacht, which was moored in the River Shannon, opposite Slevoir, in the county Tipperary, and yesterday, as was his habit when at home, he proceeded, it appears, in a small boat, and got on board the yacht. After remaining some time, when stepping into the skiff, to return to Slevoir, it was capsized, and the unfortunate gentleman was thrown into the water. He was very lusty [in the context, this probably means fat], and he soon disappeared.

A peasant from the bank of the river witnessed the fatal occurrence, and ran to Slevoir House and gave the alarm. After some time the body was discovered, but life was quite extinct. It is stated that a brother of the deceased’s also perished some time ago by drowning.

My OSI logo and permit number for website

 

Shannon passage times 1838

Estuary

Kilrush to Limerick 4 hours

Tarbert to Limerick 3 hours

Clare[castle] to Limerick 3.5 hours

Limerick Navigation

Limerick to Killaloe:

  • iron passenger boat 2.5 hours
  • timber passenger boat 3.5 hours
  • trade boat 6 hours.

Shannon

Killaloe to Portumna:

  • passenger steamer 6 hours
  • steamer towing lumber boats 8 hours.

Portumna to Shannon Harbour:

  • 6 hours.

Shannon Harbour to Athlone:

  • 8 hours.

Source: Railway Commissioners second report Appendix B No 6.

Searching Lough Derg

Last Friday evening, 21 June 2013, was not a good time to be out on Lough Derg. We were heading north, with the waves behind us, and had little difficulty until entering port, but we could hear on the VHF what must have been one of the biggest search and rescue operations on the Shannon in recent years.

We had switched on at what seemed like a fairly early point in the proceedings, and kept listening until the Coast Guard were assured that everybody was accounted for. We weren’t able to attend to the whole thing, as manoeuvres during and after berthing occupied our attention for some time, but we got a pretty clear picture. The Irish Times report (which will probably disappear behind a paywall at some stage) is here; I think it has some minor details wrong but the gist of it is correct; its later report is here. The Clare Herald has a very detailed account here, the Clare Champion account is here and the Limerick Post adds some information here.

The event was said by the Irish Times to be “hosted for FISA in Ireland by St Michael’s Rowing Club of Limerick” but I can’t see anything about it on either organisation’s website. I presume that the boats were something like this one.

Quad at Clonlara in 2011

It’s a quad, with each rower using two oars; it carries a cox and it’s used for touring rowing, so it’s not as slim as a standard racing shell.

By the way, just to be clear, none of the photos on this page were taken during last Friday’s operation.

RNLI Lough Derg lifeboat

From what we could hear, the operation involved volunteers from Killaloe Coast Guard, the RNLI at Dromineer, the Community Rescue Boats from Mountshannon and Limerick and at least one yacht, which (I think) took one of the rowing boats in tow; that yacht’s participation and careful provision of information to the Coast Guard was admirable.

Killaloe Coast Guard RIB

Killaloe Coast Guard RIB

We heard discussion of proposals to ask the Civil Defence to participate as well, and the Clare Herald confirms they did turn out. It seems that the University of Limerick Activity Centre boat was out too, as was Peter Hooker of RNLI in his own boat.

Limerick Marine SAR Land Rover

Limerick Marine SAR Land Rover

That’s just the volunteers, and if I’ve left anybody out I’m sorry; let me know and I’ll amend this.

Then there were the professionals: the Coast Guard staff on VHF, the Gardaí on shore, the helicopter crew. And, again, the Clare Herald makes it clear that lots of other people were involved too: fire brigade and ambulance units, paramedics and a hospital consultant.

All in all, this was a major operation and a lot of people put in a lot of effort that night, in bloody awful weather.

Communications

I formed the impression that communication amongst the members of the rowing fleet, and between them and the rescue services, was poor. It was difficult to establish what rowers were where and how many were unaccounted for. The Clare Herald story seems to support that conclusion: it says that Gardaí had to travel to the rowers’ hotel to make sure that everybody had turned up and that the search was not formally stood down until 11.30pm.

I don’t know what communications equipment and what sort of organisation and safety procedures the rowing group had, so I’m not going to comment on them. Instead, I want to go off at a tangent. It struck me that life would have been easier for everybody if each boat had had a handheld VHF and someone able to operate it. Such sets can be bought for as little as £50 in the UK or €75 in Ireland.

So the technology is now very cheap and, for short range work as on Lough Derg, a handheld VHF should be adequate. But if you want to be legally entitled to use a VHF set, matters are much more complicated. I’ll discuss that in another post.