The Shannon Navigation
‘A magnificent book; extremely well illustrated and produced. Rush out now and buy a copy.’ – Afloat
The Shannon Navigation traces the history of the River Shannon as a navigation up to the present day from the 1750s when the early works were commenced under the Commissioners of Inland Navigation and subsequently under the Directors General of Inland Navigation from 1800 to 1831. These works, which took many years to complete, were not very successful and were badly maintained. In the 1830s the arrival of steamers focussed attention on the poor state of the navigation, which coincided with the efforts of the government to initiate public works to relieve distress by providing employment. During the 1840s a major scheme was carried out creating the fine navigation that is enjoyed today. The works were designed to address the combined issues of navigation and drainage but only partially improved the extensive problems of flooding. The age of the steamers was cut short by the coming of the railways and a second attempt to provide passenger boats in the early 1900s did not live up to expectations.
The subsequent history of the navigation is traced including the harnessing of the river as a hydro-electric scheme, which had a substantial impact on the navigation. The gradual decline in the use of the river for commercial trade saw it entering a trough until recent years, which have seen the growth in the use of the river for tourism and recreation, with the great works of the mid-nineteenth century utilized to their full potential for the first time.
This magnificent documentary history is illustrated by over two hundred and fifty photographs, engravings, posters, maps and drawings, and contains invaluable appendices detailing the Acts and parliamentary papers, the works, the tonnage carried, and information about steamers and other boats.
RUTH DELANY has been researching the history of the Irish inland waterways for many years. She was a founder member of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland in 1954 when the Shannon Navigation was at a very low ebb. She was president of the IWAI from 1981-84 and edited the Inland Waterway News for many years until 1998. In addition to editing guides to the inland waterways, her publications include Canals of the South of Ireland (1966), The Grand Canal of Ireland (1973), By Shannon Shores (1987), Ireland’s Inland Waterways (1988) and Ireland’s Royal Canal (1992).