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Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

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31M - GCC Canal Boat - Dublin 1925 PDF Print E-mail
13 October 2008



Technical Details

Reg Number:
Built By:
Ringsend Dockyard Company
Riveted Steel
61' 6"
13' 2"
62 tons
4' 5.5"
Killaloe 1926
Engine: Bolinder E Type 15HP
Current Engine:


31M Post Rework at Ladenstown


31M was built in 1925 for the Grand Canal Company (GCC) by the Ringsend Dockyard Company for £1,100. It was the first boat of the new series of purpose built motorised (M) boats that the GCC were about to build.

It was in effect a prototype boat and as with most prototypes it had its failings. Its main one being that it couldn't take a full load of porter in her hold. She had some other distinguishing characteristics. Her bilges were unique in that they weren't rounded like other canal boats but were at an angle. It had portholes for the living quarters located in the front of the hull rather than the normal ones in the house.

Joe Connolly (Shannon Harbour) joined as greaser in July 1939, replacing Ned "Cutler" Connolly. At that time "Red" Mick Donoghue was Skipper, "Porter" Jack Farrell was deckman and Paddy Hoare was engineman. Paddy "Holy Joe" Donoghue also worked on 31M as deckman around that time. When "Red" Mick left, Paddy Hoare took charge and Jim "Twin" Moore from Athy joined as greaser. At another time Tom and Jimmy Doherty with Kieran Phelan worked on her. Other people that worked on her were "Devil" Connolly, Johnny McGrath, Paddy Reilly, Mick Kenny and Tom Doyle.

She was sold off to the Gills in Graiguenamagh at auction in 1960. They didn't do anything with her as her bilges were bad. In the 1970's they swapped 31M with a few pounds and got 78M, their fathers boat, in its place.

A caravan was put in the hold of 31M, she was renamed 93E and brought to Dublin in the early 1980's doing work for the OPW.  Tom and Bill Cox from Ticknevin and Tom Donavan from Pollagh lived in the caravan during the week.  The caravan near the bow can be seen clearly in these photos by Mike Clarke. 

In 1988 Billy Flynn brought her back to Tullamore where she lay unused until 1995.

In 1995 31M was one of the canal boats loaned out as community Fas projects. She was given to the Clondalkin Community College for restoration. The work included the complete replacement of the bottom of the boat including the the bilges (same as originally built) and the decks were cut back to around eight inches from the original 24". The project came to an end before any conversion work took place.

The boat was returned to Waterways Ireland in 2003. She is currently tied to the bank on the canal in Landenstown.


Bow with overplated portholes 31M May 2008


Last Updated ( 09 February 2011 )
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