Tag Archives: water level

Interesting information about the Ulster Canal …

… as distinct from ministerial reelection photo opportunities.

By the way, some folk get confused about the location of the Ulster Canal; this map may help:

Saunderson's Sheugh -v- the Ulster Canal (OSI ~1840)

Saunderson’s Sheugh -v- the Ulster Canal (OSI ~1840)

Anyway, for folk who are interested in weightier matters than ministers talking through portions of their anatomies that they can’t distinguish from their elbows, here is some speculation about opening bridges on the Ulster Canal.

That’s the Ulster Canal Ulster Canal, not the Saunderson’s Sheugh “Ulster Canal”, by the way.

My OSI logo and permit number for website

 

Sinn Féin, the boaters’ party

Phil Flanagan [SF, Fermanagh and South Tyrone]:

AQW 42148/11-15 To ask the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure what consideration has been given to establish a forum to discuss policy around the management of Lough Erne.

AQW 42149/11-15 To ask the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure how Waterways Ireland work with Rivers Agency to ensure that, during times of changing waters levels as decided by Rivers Agency, Lough Erne remains navigable for cruisers.

I thought the ESB had something to do with that last one.

Politician asks sensible question shock

The invaluable KildareStreet.com tells us of this written Dáil question and answer on 4 February 2015:

Martin Heydon [FG, Kildare South]: To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her attention has been drawn to concerns regarding the lack of dredging on the lateral canals of the River Barrow and overgrown vegetation which is making navigation difficult; her plans to improve this situation; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

The lateral canal at Ardree on the Barrow

The lateral canal at Ardree on the Barrow [OSI ~1840]

Heather Humphreys [FG, Clones Sheugh]: I am advised by Waterways Ireland that, as the Barrow Navigation is wholly situated within the River Barrow and River Nore Special Area of Conservation (SAC), due regard must be given to the provisions of the EC (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011. These require a rigorous assessment to be carried out to assess the impacts of any work on the protected species and habitats, prior to any works being undertaken.

If the impacts cannot be screened out and a Stage II assessment is required, a full planning application must be made. In addition, the Fisheries Consolidation Act 1959 (as amended) prohibits any in-stream works, such as dredging, during the spawning season from October to June.

I am informed by Waterways Ireland that dredging on the lateral canals of the Barrow Navigation was historically done during the winter months but that this is not now possible. However, Waterways Ireland is working with Inland Fisheries Ireland to formulate procedures which would allow work to be carried out in accordance with the relevant legislation. In addition, Waterways Ireland is continuing to work with all relevant agencies to ensure that as much work as possible is carried out on the Barrow within the time constraints which exist.

I have been assured by Waterways Ireland that it remains fully committed to the development of the Barrow Navigation in line with its statutory remit.

This question produced useful information, whereas some TDs seem to ask questions only as a way of assuring their constituents of their undying love and devotion. See, for instance, Brendan Smith, who has asked the same question at least three times.

Note that the short dredging season presumably applies to other rivers that are within SACs, such as the River Shannon at Plassey.

My OSI logo and permit number for website

The Deel navigation

The Deel linked the Co Limerick town of Askeaton to the south side of the Shannon Estuary. Here is a page about the navigation and some of its quays. Note that it is a long page with many maps and photos, although they’re all reduced in size to minimise the strain on tinterweb.

Plassey in 1851

Plassey August 2010 37_resize

Free the Black Bridge

Here is a page about a cot race at Plassey in 1851.

 

 

Overloaded boat

A Railway Wanted. — On Thursday week the fly-boat on the Grand Canal was so crowded with passengers returning from Ballinasloe fair, that between Tullamore and Philipstown they sat nearly up to their knees in water. Not liking the comfort afforded by such a mode of conveyance, many of the passengers left at the latter place and took cars, and the boat proceeded to Dublin without accident.

London Standard 28 October 1845 quoting the Longford Journal

The Shannon in winter

Downriver from Shannon Harbour to Dromineer in December 2014. It began as a bright, cold morning.

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 01_resize

Leaving Shannon Harbour after icebreaking between the locks

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 02_resize

Flooding to the south-east

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 03_resize

But southward, look …

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 06_resize

The Brosna

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 73_resize

Heading for Banagher Bridge 1

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 75_resize

Keeping close to the pontoons

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 98_resize

Heading for Banagher Bridge 2

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 103_resize

Heading for Banagher Bridge 3

There is a YouTube video of the shooting of the bridge here. It seems to start automatically, including sound; I don’t know how to avoid that.

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 107_resize

Looking back at Banagher

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 116_resize

Colours

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 124_resize

Invernisk

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 129_resize

Shannon Grove

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 134_resize

Current

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 140_resize

Scarpering heron

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 146_resize

Colours

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 149_resize

Marker and gauge

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 151_resize

House

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 169_resize

Boats at Meelick

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 170_resize

Meelick weir

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 174_resize

East bank

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 176_resize

Protective boom

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 181_resize

Sluices

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 198_resize

Through Meelick Lock

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 205_resize

One bird

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 213_resize

Many birds

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 221_resize

Reeds

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 226_resize

Architecture

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 228_resize

Munster Harbour

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 233_resize

Delaying Eamon Egan

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 235_resize

Gateway to civilisation

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 237_resize

Connacht Harbour

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 239_resize

Lough Derg: weather has changed

Shannon Harbour to Dromineer December 2014 243_resize

Journey’s end, Dromineer

 

Royal water

An interesting piece of information from Waterways Ireland’s feasibility study on the restoration of the Longford Branch of the Royal Canal. We learn on page 44 that the Royal Canal needs, on average, 10 million gallons of water per day to cope with “lockages, leakage, seepage and evaporation” and that the current supply arrangements, with much pumping, are costing €300,000 a year.

 

Sorry, Longford

Waterways Ireland’s Feasibility Study into the Restoration of the Longford Branch of the Royal Canal is available for download [7 PDFs: main report + 6 appendices]. Skip straight to page 59:

6.5 Recommendation

Given the current financial climate and because of the associated costs, environmental issues and uincertainty regarding planning approval it is not recommended to pursue this project any further at this time.

The recent work undertaken in regard to the shared walkway/cycleway has protected the asset as a publicly owned recreational amenity and it is recommended that any outstanding property issues be resolved and finalised in order to complete the protection of the asset.

I hope that admirable recommendation survives the pre-election period.

By the way, there’s a snail ….

Down to the sea in steps

On 28 January 1907 James Robinson Kilroe [near the bottom of the page] of H M Geological Survey read to the Royal Irish Academy a paper on “The River Shannon: its present course and geological history” [Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Vol XXVI Section B No 8 Hodges, Figgis & Co Ltd, Dublin; Williams & Norgate, London 1907]. I thought that Plate V was interesting.

Shannon Derg to sea

Plate V

Kilroe wrote:

It will be perceived that instead of the river being shallow over the unyielding Silurian slate-rock, set almost vertically, and striking across the river-course, it is deeper than over the limestone of Lough Derg, and much deeper than over the comparatively easily eroded Old Red Sandstone at Killaloe. The river-bed actually drops below the datum line above the town, while at the town it is 100 feet above datum.

Old Red Sandstone strata are here to be seen in the river-bank, and Silurian rocks in situ in its bed. A barrier is thus formed, partly of Silurian, and partly of Old Red Sandstone rocks, which without the artificial impounding weir would retain the waters of Lough Derg to a depth of some 104 feet opposite Derrycastle — two miles above Killaloe.

One might have expected to find a fairly level shallow bed from Killaloe northward, a sudden drop from slate-rock to the sandstone floor, and  a pronounced wide, well-formed valley in the limestone district southward to Limerick.

None of these elements exist; instead, we have the formidable barrier at Killaloe, naturally damming up a considerable depth of water in Lough Derg, and the river falling away southward by a series of rapids which correspond with drops in the canal, south of O’Briensbridge […], along an alternative course, possibly one used by a branch of the Shannon.

Here is an extract from the Plate V map, showing the steps of the (pre-Ardnacrusha) Limerick Navigation between Lough Derg and the sea.

Shannon Killaloe to Limerick

The steps of the canal (click to enlarge)

Upstream

Kilroe wrote of Lough Ree:

The waters of Lough Ree stood some 10 feet higher within recent times than they now do, as proved by evidence of solution, with under-cutting of limestone blocks, to be seen about five miles north-west of Athlone, close to the railway, in the townland of Cornaseer.

Under these conditions the lake must have been, perhaps, twice its width, and for a considerable period. Its ancient surface-level is clearly indicated by the caps of the mushroom-shaped blocks.

And of the Shannon between Lough Ree and Lough Derg:

The extreme flatness of the river between Athlone and Meelick is such that, consequent upon the completion of the Suck Drainage-works in 1892, it was found that the callows along the Shannon above the confluence of the Suck at Shannonbridge were much more liable to sudden and frequent floodings than they previously had been.

The more rapid discharge of the Suck waters into the Shannon, before ordinary extra water had time to pass away, had the effect of modifying the regimen of the main stream to an extent which resulted in an action at law [La Touche -v- The Suck Drainage Board].

I have found only one account of that case, in the Freeman’s Journal of 1 July 1893. The plaintiffs, Messrs Harrison and La Touche, owned land at Cappaleitrim, on the west bank of the Shannon above Shannonbridge. They said that the actions of the Suck Drainage Board had caused their lands to be flooded:

[…] that the defendants brought water from the Suck into the Shannon, containing a drainage of 40 miles, with such velocity and such volume that the Shannon was penned back, and that the back water caused the damage to the lands complained of.

[…] The jury disagreed and were discharged.

I don’t know whether the matter ever again came before a judge.