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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Images of River Barrow Carlow

The River Barrow

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Image Index 29 30 31

Office of Public Works Plans, for bridge over the River Barrow, Carlow.
Design for a Bridge to be built over the River Barrow
(Source: National Archives  & Supplied by Terry Curran c2008) 
Bailey bridge erected in 191476. Jimmy 'Teraza' Murnane is currently the Chairman of Carlow Urban District Council. On many occasions Jimmy has stated: 'During my tenure on the council I intend to see a second bridge built across the Barrow". Well, if Jimmy had been around in 1914 (and some would say, he just had to be) he would have seen a second bridge. This Bailey bridge was erected in 1914 at the end of Montgomery Street as part of army/civilian manoeuvres. It was possible to drive a light automobile or wagons across it. In this picture we see men, women and soldiers strolling on the bridge, while some boys avail of the opportunity to fish.
75. From Websters Lock in Graiguecullen we get this view of the Carlow side of the river Barrow. Graigue Bridge, the chimney stacks of Corcorans mineral factory, the spire of St. Anne's, the ivy-clad castle and the river barges are all landmarks of some of the areas we have covered in this volume. Outside of a portion of the lighter coloured, pointed buildings, we can see a group of people sitting at the Rowing Club premises; overhead is the flag pole from which the club flag will fly during the annual regatta. Just below the weir we can see the confluence where the river Burrin joins the river Barrow 68. Castle Quay situated at the edge of the town. Early maps show a bridge erected at this point. It is very difficult to trace the development of the town. We know that it was destroyed many times, having suffered at least four major fires. The first recorded fire occurred in June 1577, when Rory Oge O'Moore attacked and burned what was at that time described as the fine and large town of Carlow. During a siege in September 1641 the town was again torched, with the loss of 74 lives. In June 1693 a great fire occurred accidentally, the last recorded great fire broke out in 1698. It should be remembered that most of the houses were thatched and highly flammable. A legacy of those fires is that the old walls which enclosed the town, cannot now be traced with any certainty. From two early maps we can establish that the town developed to its present format from about 1700.
53. A very early picture of the River Barrow. To the left, on the Graiguecullen side of the river, we see the Barrow Navigation Company Stores with two docks for barges. In 1990 all this area was demolished and cleared and is being developed as a community park. 'X' marks the stables belonging to the National Bank, situated in the 'Bank field', where in later years carnivals were held. It is now a car park. The spire of St. Anne's Church on the Athy Road can be seen in the background. 54. Looking in the opposite direction of the previous picture we see the Killeshin hills in the background. A lone figure watches as three men in a boat move down the river. Seemingly Carlow Rowing Club is already established in the light-coloured building on the left. The club purchased the Canal Stores in March 1961 and after extensive refurbishment the new clubhouse opened in 1962. The large building in the background was built in the early nineteenth century as the Flyboat Hotel to cater for boat passengers.
50. A barge being loaded at Shackelton's Mills, pictured from the island at Websters Lock. To the left of the picture we see the lock-keeper, Michael Webster. In 1898 Michael was presented with a purse of sovereigns and a special commendation certificate:
In appreciation of the gallant life-saving services rendered by Michael Webster who, from time to time rescued from drowning, at great personal risk, some 29 lives.
It was signed by seventy-four prominent citizens of Carlow.
29.  At the top left-hand corner we can read the caption 'On The Canal Carlow'. Sitting on the wall we see the lock-keeper Michael Webster. I gave a brief account above of his 1898 award for gallantry in rescuing 29 people from drowning, by 1929 the number of people saved by Michael from the river Barrow increased to 50 rescues. He was recognized as a hero by the Royal Humane Society, and this achievement was reported in the national newspapers in Ireland and Great Britain.
This postcard was posted in October 1908 addressed to Miss Whelan, St. Mary's Convent, London, from a student in St. Mary's College (Knock-beg).
Part of the message reads:
We get to swim almost every day in this river. Referred to here as the canal it is really the wide and deep river barrow and branches off at points to accommodate canal barges and boats.
30. This picture is taken from the Graiguecullen side of the river. The card posted in 1914 to Liverpool simply states: Another view of the Castle. At the right we see a portion of the Bridge shop which is built on an island. The building served for a while as a convent for the enclosed religious order of nuns, the Poor Clares. The chimney stacks belong to Corcoran's mineral water factory. The large five-windowed building on the left is McWey's grain store. 22. An enlarged view from a multi-view postcard. With the Castle in the background the river Barrow looks to be in flood. The caption states: 'Weir and Bridge showing Castle Carlow." In this picture the weir appears to be nearer to the bridge than it actually is. Indeed it would appear that the photographer is standing alongside the gates, but I am sure that this picture has been retouched, as the scene does not conform to other views of the area that I have seen.
64. Below the Haymarket we have this view looking across the river Barrow. On our left a river barge owned by James Ryan of Coalmarket is anchored by the side of the canal store. The store was used by the Barrow Navigation Co. The building was acquired in 1960 by Carlow Rowing Club for use as a club house. The large building in the background was known as the Flyboat Hotel, built in 1805 to cater for boat passengers, it was demolished in 1963. To the rear of the Flyboat we can just about see a portion of Graigue Bridge which links Carlow with the village of Carlow-Graigue, later renamed Graiguecullen. In the centre view the bell tower of the parish church, the chapel of ease can be seen; the large, lighter coloured building to the right is the Parochial house. 65. Looking in the opposite direction of the previous view we can see that the Barrow has flooded Cornwall Quay. On our left we can see 'Grand Canal Company' over the office of the canal store. At the side of the entrance we can read: 'Boats to and from Dublin and Waterford and all intermediate stations.' At the store gate it seems to be business as usual. The big building with tall chimney in the background is 'the leek'; built in 1815 as Farrells malt house, it later became a dispatch office for Milford flour mills. At the time this picture was taken it was Alexanders electricity powerhouse. The row of houses is situated in Ballymanus Terrace. On the right are Joshua Watson's grain stores. The shop front on our immediate right is Farrells licensed premises. For many years this area was subject to flooding, but recent flood control measures undertaken by Carlow County Council seem to have solved the problem.
58. A scene we hope is gone forever. Residents of John Street battle against the river Barrow as the floods rise. Pictured are members of the Dunny family outside of their house, this is the house that later became known to us as Donoghue's. It was in fact part of the property given to the people of Carlow by George Bernard Shaw. Across the road in Ballymanus Terrace we see O'Neill the boatsman with his horse and cart reversed to the front of his house as he prepares to move to higher ground. Note the water pump in the centre of the picture. 58. This scene was photographed in 1963 by Sean Swan, it shows flooding in my home street Coal Market. Later that year following the assassination of President John R Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, Coal Market resident and neighbour John Swan promoted the idea to rename the street Kennedy Street and so it has remained to this day. On our left we see 'Johnny Nails' pub with O'Neill over the door. Up the street with the cafe sign on the wall is 'The Market Cafe'. It was owned by the Shanaghy family. The larger house adjoining is 'The Elite Salon' run by hairdressers Hannah Corcoran and Josie Slater. Carlow County Council along with other groups have taken precautions to ensure that there will be no more flooding in this area.
Most people will have seen ex-Grand Canal trading boats, now converted into spacious pleasure craft, and still making their way around the waterways system. The M-boats, formerly Grand Canal Company (GCC) motor boats, are most common, but B-boats survive too: they were owned by "bye-traders", independent individuals or companies, rather than by the GCC itself. E-boats were run by the GCC Engineering Department. Boats could change categories and sometimes GCC boats were hired out as hack boats, often to their own skippers. But what about G-boats? Well, back in 1939, much of the world was engaged in a spot of bother that became known as the Second World War. Independent Ireland was officially neutral, but was affected by developments elsewhere. Accordingly, on 3 September 1939, the Oireachtas declared a state of emergency. Incidentally, it didn't get around to rescinding that state of emergency until 1976, when it declared another one instead. During the main part of The Emergency, 19391945, fuel was in short supply, so the government sought to have more turf brought to Dublin. As the canals conveniently pass through bogs, the government funded the construction of 29 wooden horse-drawn canal-boats, which were leased to various traders but were marked as G-boats. Matt Thompson remembers them.
G-boat being transported through Barrack Street, Carlow from Thompson Engineering.
Millennium Bridge across the River Barrow in CarlowThe new Millennium Bridge across the River Barrow in Carlow New Barrow bridge opened - 2000

Chairman of the National Millennium Committee Seamus Brennan was in Carlow last week to perform the official opening of the new pedestrian bridge over the River Barrow which will link Carlow town with Graiguecullen. The Millennium Bridge, which has a span of thirty-five metres and cost a total of €1m, begins at a point on the Barrow Track at the western end of Cox's Lane and the Graiguecullen side is located in the new Town Park. The Millennium Bridge has been dedicated to the memory of the former town and county councillor Jimmy "Terazzo" Murnane who died last year.

The Barrow Track

Millennium Bridge across the River Barrow in Carlow
The river Barrow at Bagenalstown, Co Carlow c.1950 Barrow at Bagenalstown
Barrow Canal c.1900
Source: eBay seller
Barrow Canal c.1900
Source: eBay seller
Webster's Lock and the Barrow Mills.c1970
All demolished
Source: Carlman
Source: Section of Canal Boat JCKAS 1922-1928 Vol X P 7 Two men in a boat on the Barrow near Leighlinbridge.
Carlow Weir and showing a canal boat upstream of  Websters Lock from the 1948 edition of Carloviana.
Sent in by Peter Walker 2009
The Weir and Graigue Bridge with the spire of St. Mary's Church on the right.
Sent in by T. Curran c2007.
The Barrow Track near Braganza estate, Carlow
Source: Google Street View
The Barrow taken from the Bridge c.1900
Source: Ebay seller
Weir 1980. Source: Declan Alcock Taken before the foot bridge was installed 1982. Source: Declan Alcock  Taken before the foot bridge was installed 1982. Source: Declan Alcock  The Weir 1980
Source: Declan Alcock
The Barrow taken from upriver.
The Weir and Graigue Bridge with the spire of St. Mary's Church on the right. The Weir From the Bord Failte catalogue early 1960s They named it The Salmon Weir Carlow.
The Weir on the Barrow at Carlow. 1999. Source: Kevin O'Regan
  Rowing on the Barrow in Carlow. Barrow Mills on the right.
Source: ebay seller

Michael Purcell would like to thank Therese Jackman and the Carlow Festival Support Group for deciphering my scribbled notes and typing the manuscript.


Scenes of The River Barrow from 'Carlow in Old Picture Postcards  (1994)', 'Carlow in Old Postcards Vol. 2 1999' & 'Carlow in Old Postcards Vol. 3 2000' by Michael Purcell.
Text by Michael Purcell
Some of the images reproduced by kind permission of Michael Purcell May 2007

The following images were published by The Heritage Boat Association

Barge G.7

Barge G.C.C.

C.I.E 35,M

Paddy McGrath March 1958

Barge 34.M
Graignuenamanagh Bridge
(Photo by Tom LaPorte)

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2001 Ireland Genealogy Projects, IGP TM