Thursday, 1 September 2016

SHANNON HARBOUR


The building of Shannon Harbour took place in 1803 in the townland of Clononeybeg or in Irish, ‘Cluain Uaine Beag’, meaning the small enclosed meadow.It was a purpose built settlement, constructed to meet the requirements of the Grand Canal Company. Situated on the western end of the Grand Canal it forms a confluence with the River Shannon and the River Brosna. 
On completion it became a thriving, vital place having a bonded warehouse, a customs and excise post, a large R.I.C. barracks complete with holding cells, a Harbour Masters House, boat and barge repair dockyard with two dry docks, a small school, a smithy and livery. As well as many cottages in the town there was also the Grand Hotel and several taverns. At its peak over 1,000 people lived in Shannon Harbour and its’ hinterland. 







The construction of any canal is a feat of civil engineering. The Grand Canal venture was no less and has to have been a headache at times for the engineers, especially when cutting through the many acres of bog lands between Shannon Harbour and Dublin. The work was all done by hand and over three thousand navvies were on site, for the mechanical digger had yet to be invented. Putting in puddled clay bottoms thirty-six inches deep and up the bank sides to a thickness of ten inches was not always sufficient to prevent seepage through its peat banks and in many areas the fibrous material of peat had to be removed and replaced with other materials, such as stone and clay soils. A spectacular opening ceremony, complete with a military band, was planned for the completion of the Grand Canal however, this had to be cancelled when the bog banks collapsed between Shannon Bridge and Tullamore.

During it’s commercial life over 250,000 people were believed to have used the canal, many of them were on the emigration route to countries such as America, Canada and Australia. 
Today less than 30 people live in the village and the Harbour Masters house is now a well appointed three star B&B 


Now seeing this gave me a surprise!

I wonder how this twinning came about ?

This is the penultimate lock or the second depending on which way you are going.


The house peeping out from behind the trees was the Lock Keepers Cottage


The First or Last Lock of the Grand Canal.

I hope that you have enjoyed the mini tour as much as I have.

Where we go next is in the lap of the Gods!

20 comments:

  1. So interesting Mel, to see how the area was developed. Since we had ancestors from Dublin and ulster.. many of them may have used this canal at one point.

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    1. Thank you for the comment Gwen and you may well be correct, for in most cases we can never know what connections our ancestors had.

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  2. Lovely river with all the boats on it, wish I had one

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    1. You are not the only one making that wish Simon ! Thank you for the comment

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  3. It all looks very peaceful now and just the kind of place for a boating holiday.

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    1. Yes it is Pat and the sort of place where you can hear yourself thinking :-)

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  4. Interesting and great photos. Wonder if my ancestors came through there on their way to America.

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    1. A lot depends on where they lived in Ireland and the year that they departed Janet ?

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  5. Interesting history of the area. It does look nice and peaceful.

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    1. It is Bill and perhaps you and your partner might check into the Harbour Master's House for a night or two :-) ?

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  6. wonderful Pictures.
    best wishes from Bavaria.

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  7. Hi Mel - wonderful photos ... and canals ruled for a short time. Braunston is incredibly famous ... canal wise ... and I'm sure was twinned simply because they were the two major canals at that stage.

    Loved seeing them and the twinning ... thanks - that B&B with the Harbour Master looks to be a good bet .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Well, thank you Hilary. I know absolutely nothing about Braunston Canal - they have only been twinned since the rise of popularity with pleasure craft.
      Am sure a short break in the establishment would be very enjoyable and the air there is very relaxing.

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  8. A very interesting post with lovely photos. Amazing to learn exactly how much goes into the building of a canal. They certainly didn't have it easy in those days. It looks a beautiful place.

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    1. Thank you for your interest Teresa, it is a good place to visit for a quiet time.

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  9. I love canals and Locks. It gives me that inner pictures of vibrant busy days when boats were trafficking the waters and goods were being traded everywhere. You seem to find the sun wherever you go, Mel, the pictures are so bright and colourful that you can walk right into them. Still, this time of year finds the air a bit more crisp than otherwise. Soon all the colours will have changed and the pictures tells a different story alltogether. So be on your way, there are roads to travel !!!!

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    1. FT, I am not sure about finding the sun wherever I go (?) h'm was tempted to say about it 'shines on the righteous' and that wouldn't be right either [smiles !] Perhaps I simply take photo's when the sun is out between the showers. The scene is slowly changing you are right about that. I noticed today that the leaves are leaving the roses. Thank you very much for the lovely comment.

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  10. Absolutely beautiful! Before I leave this mortal coil, I will visit Ireland. I was always envious of my aunt and uncle who took a trip there to study family genealogy. Wonderful pictures, Mel. I felt as if I were there.

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    1. Am sure that you would have a grand time in Ireland Susan, whether you would want to leave is something else because for a lot of people one visit is never enough and some stay on to become part of the scene ;-)

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