Boards.ie uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more x
Post Reply  
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
06-06-2012, 20:08   #1
jonniebgood1
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3,278
18th century Transport- Irelands canals

Irelands first canal constructed was the Newry canal linking Newry with Lough Neagh in 1742. This was soon followed by work to link Dublin with the river Shannon. The Construction of these and other projects were an impressive feat of Engineering for the time and many are navigated to this day. Notes and drawings of these projects record the detail required to realise the projects and highlight someof the problems that were overcome. Take the crossing of the bog of Allen for example. The description from the Irish waterways shows an original page of notes and a sketch of how they would could try to get around this problem-
Quote:
Work began on extending the canal westward from Lowtown in 1789. The company had already
experienced problems with a section of bog on the Barrow Line at Ballyteague and there had
been some discussion of how to tackle the Bog of Allen. William Chapman had suggested to the
directors that it was important to have the level of the canal sufficiently below the surface to
allow for subsidence, which was completely opposite to the views expressed some years earlier
by John Smeaton, who was acting as consultant engineer to the company at the time. He had
recommended: “Avoid a bog if you can, but by all means possible, the going deep into it”. In
other words he said the canal should be driven through the bog at the existing level.
Smeaton’s advice was followed and it fell to his pupil, William Jessop, who took over as
consultant engineer to the company, to oversee the work. No centre channel was dug out
initially but two parallel drains on either
side, leaving a centre pyramidal core to
be taken out as drainage occurred.
Transverse drains were also opened
up gradually. What Chapman had
predicted happened: the water drained
from the bog into the channels, which
subsided on either side of the line of
the canal and, with the surface of the
water in the canal at the original level
of the bog, they were left with large
unstable embankments. Travelling
across this part of the canal today, you
can observe the original level of the
canal some distance away, with the
subsided area in between on either
side of the canal.
The eventual construction of raised sides to the canal was open to breaching which is also interesting to look at.


When these first canals were built it was done with human endeavour, being prior to any mechanical steam assistance. The work was mainly undertaken by small private companies, an amalgamation being Henry, Mullins and McMahon (1808). Some perspective on the manpower required is taken from the 1790 workforce of 3,944 men on the Grand canal alone. (Figure taken from 'Industrial Ireland 1750-1930' by Colin Rynne).
If anyone has information in regard of this valuable part of our heritage feel free to add it.

Last edited by jonniebgood1; 06-06-2012 at 20:10.
jonniebgood1 is offline  
Thanks from:
Advertisement
06-06-2012, 20:25   #2
Manach
Registered User
 
Manach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Co. Cork
Posts: 4,903
Just to remark in passing that canals were directly linked to birth of geology. Given the amount of work that was being done in moving such an amount of earth mapping became a key skillset, with commonalities in earth/rock types being noted by canal engineers who morphed into the first geologists eg William Smith, creator of the one of the first geological map by use of common fossils. (Off topic - finally I get to use my history and earth science skill sets in one post. )
Manach is offline  
Thanks from:
06-06-2012, 22:07   #3
pedroeibar1
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,843
The sandbar across the Liffey was a problem for centuries and there were plans as early as c1700 (1710? – Halliday wrote about it) to build a canal harbour at Ringsend – one engineer wanted a canal to be built from Dalkey (then the main port for Dublin) along the coast to reach the new ‘pool’ and there were similar plans to build one from Sutton to Dublin.
The canal companies were the ‘bubble’ of their day, caught out by the growth of the railways. The remains of one dead canal can be seen along the Cork-Killarney road by Mallow racecourse – it was to connect the Blackwater to Limerick.
pedroeibar1 is offline  
06-06-2012, 22:24   #4
P. Breathnach
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 9,017
One of the more interesting projects was the canal built to connect Lough Corrib to Lough Mask: http://www.lakedistrictheritage.ie/Cong/canal.html. Much of it still exists.
P. Breathnach is online now  
Thanks from:
06-06-2012, 23:05   #5
dubhthach
Moderator
 
dubhthach's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Bláth Cliath, Éire
Posts: 2,140
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedroeibar1 View Post
The sandbar across the Liffey was a problem for centuries and there were plans as early as c1700 (1710? – Halliday wrote about it) to build a canal harbour at Ringsend – one engineer wanted a canal to be built from Dalkey (then the main port for Dublin) along the coast to reach the new ‘pool’ and there were similar plans to build one from Sutton to Dublin.
The canal companies were the ‘bubble’ of their day, caught out by the growth of the railways. The remains of one dead canal can be seen along the Cork-Killarney road by Mallow racecourse – it was to connect the Blackwater to Limerick.
The contrustion of the Great South Wall as well as the Bull Wall eventually solved the issue of the Bar in Dublin. Mainly as they prevented drift from the two Bulls from silting the Channel as well as led to the creation of a strong outgoing current as tides went out. This scoured the channel increasing the depth of water at the bar.
dubhthach is offline  
Advertisement
07-06-2012, 08:46   #6
pedroeibar1
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,843
Quote:
Originally Posted by dubhthach View Post
The contrustion of the Great South Wall as well as the Bull Wall eventually solved the issue of the Bar in Dublin. Mainly as they prevented drift from the two Bulls from silting the Channel as well as led to the creation of a strong outgoing current as tides went out. This scoured the channel increasing the depth of water at the bar.
Exactly. I didn't want to go too far off topic.

Quote:
In 1800 a major survey of Dublin harbour by Captain William Bligh, who is remembered for his role in the mutiny on the HMS Bounty, recommended that the North Bull Wall should be constructed, parallel to the South Bull Wall to prevent sand building up in the mouth of the harbour. He correctly forecast that this would create a natural scouring action that would deepen the river channel. When the North Bull Wall was completed in 1842, sand gradually accumulated along its side until the modern BullIsland emerged.
From http://www.dublindocklands.ie/index....81&n=113&p=629

I will dig out something on the Dalkey - Dublin canal later.
pedroeibar1 is offline  
Thanks from:
07-06-2012, 13:31   #7
tac foley
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: UK, Canada & Oregon
Posts: 2,968
Slightly OT - but related nontheless - I have a VERY fine 'coffee table' book entitled 'Ireland - The Inner Island - a journey through Ireland's inner waterways'. Written by the well-known Irish author Kevin Dwyer, it's a fascinating look at the almost unknown maze of waterways that criss-cross Ireland - ISBN 1-898256-91-8.

It was a gift from a very dear pal, so it has no price, literally.

tac
tac foley is offline  
07-06-2012, 19:09   #8
jonniebgood1
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3,278
Terryhoogan Aqueduct was part of a feeder system to the Newry canal and is the oldest example still in existance. I struggled to get information on it which is surprising as I thought the UK national trust may have been protecting it.
Quote:
Terryhoogan Aqueduct (J053447) carried water from the Cusher River to the Newry Canal. Ten arches of stone are topped by a concrete trough. It runs east-west and the ends curve south and north to give an elongated S shape. The curved portions are of stone. The trough is about 55m long. http://stonecircle.bravehost.com/tou...allanbann.html
jonniebgood1 is offline  
Thanks from:
07-06-2012, 21:09   #9
jonniebgood1
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3,278
In discussing the canals the lack of return on these, i.e. their seemingly consistent unprofitability is to the fore. This was recognised soon after their opening. In "Universal Geography, Or, a Description of All the Parts of the World..." by Conrad Malte-Brun in 1833 drew attention to this so it was commonly known. He described the Grand canal activity as follows
Quote:
The cargoes conveyed on it consist chiefly of turf, in large quantities, for the supply of Dublin, corn, bricks and flag-stones. The traffic is far from producing a return adequate to the expenditure incurred; the affairs of the company are therefore in a state by no means prosperous. http://books.google.ie/books?id=sUcN...page&q&f=false
jonniebgood1 is offline  
Advertisement
08-06-2012, 15:13   #10
pedroeibar1
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,843
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedroeibar1 View Post
I will dig out something on the Dalkey - Dublin canal later.
In an appendix to Halliday’s ‘The Scandinavian Kingdom of Dublin’ - pages 249-250 :-
But the greatest improvement as regards the trade of the port has been the partial removal of the bar at the mouth of the river. For the removal of this bar the most eminent engineers had been consulted. In 1713 the Ballast Office had procured the services of Capt. John Perry who had been employed at Dover Harbour and at the Dagenham breach in the Thames; but, although he suggested plans by which it was conceived that the depth of water might be increased, the task was considered as hopeless, that to render the port fit for vessels drawing even twelve feet of water, it was proposed that an artificial harbour should be constructed near Ringsend, one engineer suggesting that this harbour should be accessible by a ship canal, along the Sutton shore, and another that the canal should be from Dalkey of Kingstown, so as altogether to avoid the bar.

The Parliamentary Records of Ireland vol i page 188 show a ‘Plan for advancing the trade of Dublin’ in which the proposal is, at a cost of £102,144, to enclose Dalkey Sound and come by canal to Dublin.
Both the Sutton and Dalkey canal proposals were turned down and it would seem that Perry was the originator of the Sutton proposal and even went to the extent of printing his map privately to garner support. (Scan below, showing canal running along the seafront from Kilbarrack.)

In Halliday there is a good history of the early development of the port. The Liffey almost adjoined Merrion Square, once nominated as a site for the citadel of Dublin (by Bernard de Gomme, 1673). The sea flowed to Merrion Sq. for another century. ‘Yesterday his Grace the Duke of Leinster went on a sea party........sailed over the low ground in the South Lotts and landed safely at Merrion Sq.’ Dublin Chronicle 26th Jan.1792)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg sutton canal.jpg (1.07 MB, 34 views)
pedroeibar1 is offline  
(2) thanks from:
08-06-2012, 23:33   #11
goose2005
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,982
Don't forget the drowning of 11 people at the 8th lock of the Grand Canal in 1792. http://www.athyheritagecentre-museum.ie/grand_canal/
goose2005 is offline  
Thanks from:
13-07-2012, 23:38   #12
jonniebgood1
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3,278
Quote:
Originally Posted by goose2005 View Post
Don't forget the drowning of 11 people at the 8th lock of the Grand Canal in 1792. http://www.athyheritagecentre-museum.ie/grand_canal/
The wicked drink!!!

Quote:
It seems that one hundred and fifty people, many of them drunk, forced their way onto a barge, in spite of the captain warning them that the boat would capsize if they did not leave. Near the eighth lock, five men, four women and two children drowned when the boat capsized. http://www.sip.ie/sip070/A%20History....html#disaster
The boat left Athy at 5am so if the people were intoxicated they must have been up all night! Regardless the number of people using the boat as transport to Dublin shows how quickly it had established a passenger service.
jonniebgood1 is offline  
13-07-2012, 23:48   #13
jonniebgood1
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3,278
There are some interesting pieces of information contained in the records of the 1985 canals act debate in the Seanad here http://debates.oireachtas.ie/seanad/...2/13/00005.asp


Quote:
In all, the Grand Canal system, comprising the main line and off-branches and the Barrow Navigation, involves more than 160 miles of waterways. It appears that over £1 million, an enormous sum of money at that time, was spent on the construction of the Grand Canal system, much of it from private sources. The Company of Undertakers of the Grand Canal were restructured in 1848, losing their grandiose name, to form The Grand Canal Company. The new company operated until 1950 when they were dissolved and the Grand Canal system was transferred to Córas Iompar Éireann by the Transport Act, 1950.
Quote:
The Royal Canal Company experienced considerable financial and physical difficulties in undertaking the construction of the Royal Canal and, despite repeated parliamentary assistance, had to be dissolved by Act of Parliament in 1813. The completion of the canal was entrusted to the Directors General of Inland Navigation, the predecessors of the Commissioners of Public Works, who completed the link to the River Shannon by 1817. They were replaced in 1818 by the new Royal Canal Company established by Act of Parliament.

The new company took over the completed waterway and made a modest success of its undertaking yet the tonnage carried was still only a fraction of what was carried on the Grand Canal. The coming of the railways marked the end of the Royal Canal as a transport artery. In 1845, the Royal Canal was acquired by the Midland Great Western Railway Company of Ireland with a view to constructing a railway line along the bank of the Royal Canal. This it did and the railway runs alongside the Royal Canal for about 53 miles from Dublin city to beyond Mullingar in County Westmeath.
And a senator Lanigan stated:
Quote:
The canals have played a very important part in our transport system for very many years. It is said that the first canal was built in Galway in the year 1200.
I know of canals at knockabbey castle in Louth that are dated earlier than this.

The bill was quite imaginative as it allowed for the development of canals as a tourism resource.
jonniebgood1 is offline  
22-07-2012, 22:01   #14
Jolly Red Giant
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,047
My grandfather was a lock-keeper on the Grand Canal up until the 1950s in Kildare. He used to bring turf from the Bog of Allen up to Guinness's brewery on a barge and barrels of stout back down along the canal dropping them off at pubs along the way. Needless to say he arrived home every night p*ssed out of his brains.
Jolly Red Giant is offline  
23-07-2012, 21:45   #15
GhostInTheRuins
Registered User
 
GhostInTheRuins's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,396
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manach View Post
Just to remark in passing that canals were directly linked to birth of geology. Given the amount of work that was being done in moving such an amount of earth mapping became a key skillset, with commonalities in earth/rock types being noted by canal engineers who morphed into the first geologists eg William Smith, creator of the one of the first geological map by use of common fossils. (Off topic - finally I get to use my history and earth science skill sets in one post. )
Funny you mention that. I was walking along the old canal in Slane recently, and saw that there's one part of it that runs straight through the rocky side of the hill. It's fairly impressive (to me at least) the tunneling that was done.



I never realised that there was such a large amount of canals around the country. I suppose it's like the old railway lines in a way.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg photo-1.JPG (744.4 KB, 115 views)
GhostInTheRuins is offline  
Post Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Remove Text Formatting
Bold
Italic
Underline

Insert Image
Wrap [QUOTE] tags around selected text
 
Decrease Size
Increase Size
Please sign up or log in to join the discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



Share Tweet