There is very little traffic on this fine lake [Lower Lough Erne]; the only boats upon it, called cotts, are, like our coal-barges on the Thames, square at each end, flat-bottomed, drawing little water, and rigged with one large gaff-sail; and seldom exceed the burden of ten or twelve tons.
The natives who manage them are miserable sailors, who, with the least breeze that blows, may be seen skulking under the lee of one of the islands. Their chief employment is carrying turf from one of the bogs near the shores of the lake to Enniskillen, stones and sand for building, and slates and coal from Beleek, which have been imported at Ballyshannon.
John Barrow A Tour round Ireland, through the sea-coast counties, in the autumn of 1835 John Murray, London 1836
The Messrs Robinson of Athlone, having supported Captain Mathew, the Conservative Member for the town, last election, threats have been offered and violence used to the boatmen conveying turf to their distillery, and in consequence the establishment will henceforth burn coal in the concern, a great loss to the country people.
Clare Journal, and Ennis Advertiser 23 February 1835
Posted in Economic activities, Extant waterways, Historical matters, Irish inland waterways vessels, Operations, Shannon, The turf trade
Tagged Athlone, boatmen, bridge, coal, distillery, Mathew, Robinson, turf
Folk interested in the history of the Shannon Navigation, and in particular in the work of the Shannon Commissioners in the 1840s, may like to get hold of an article “Steam, the Shannon and the Great British breakfast”, published in the Journal of the Railway & Canal Historical Society Vol 38 Part 4 No 222 March 2015.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Canals, Charles Wye Williams, Drainage, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Operations, People, Politics, Rail, Roads, Sea, Shannon, shannon estuary, Sources, Steamers, The cattle trade, Tourism, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged Athlone, barge, boats, bridge, canal, Clare, Dublin, estuary, Fergus, Grand Canal, Ireland, Killaloe, Kilrush, Limerick, lock, Lough Derg, O'Briensbridge, Operations, quay, Royal Canal, Shannon, steamer, Tipperary, turf, waterways
Turf boat above Killaloe: Admiralty Surveyors’ sketch 1839 [by kind permission of the UK National Archives]
On Tuesday last, a boat laden with turf, and manned by three persons — two Quins, brothers, young boys, and the owner, Martin Houlagan — left the County of Galway side of the Shannon for Killaloe. The weather became so very rough, it was late before they neared the quay at Derry Castle; but, unfortunately, when within view of safety, a squall split the sail, and the little vessel capsized, and, with the two Quins, sank to the bottom.
Houlagan swam to the shore, but it was so dark he could not find his way; he got inside a sheltered ditch from the inclemency of the night, but was found, in the morning, a lifeless corpse.
Northern Whig 26 November 1840 quoting the Nenagh Guardian
Posted in Economic activities, Extant waterways, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Operations, Safety, Shannon, Sources, The turf trade, Uncategorized, waterways, Weather
Tagged boats, Derry Castle, Galway, Houlagan, Ireland, Killaloe, Lough Derg, Operations, Quin, Shannon, sinking, storm, Tipperary, turf, turf boat, vessels, waterways