Noah was a brave man to sail in a wooden boat with two termites. - Unknown

Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

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Fox - Bye Trader - Dublin 1937 PDF Print E-mail
15 October 2008


Fox was built in 1937 by William McMillen of the Ringsend Dockyard Company. She was sold to Thomas Hughes of Athy and is stated to have cost 1,175 pounds. She worked on the Barrow line of the Grand Canal carrying mixed cargo. She was subsequently bought by the OPW and used as a maintenance boat on the Shannon in the early 1950's to replace the original Fox, which Sid Shine had bought.

The Fox is one of the maintenance boats owned by Waterways Ireland. It's basically a floating workshop. Its day to day operations are looking after routine maintenance of markers, locks and bridges on the Upper Shannon. The boat and crew at times are involved in the building of new facilities and upgrading existing ones. It's the oldest working vessel still in operation in the Waterways fleet and has the charm of being a fantastic link to the past.

Her crew in her early days (1950's) when doing maintenance was Dinny Madigan as Foreman, his son Kevin and Jimmy O'Brien as Fitter/Engineman, Mick Clifford of Portroe and Paddy Lynch of Garrykennedy (but lived in Athlone), was the Skipper. When Dinny retired, Kevin took over as Foreman and later Michael McMahon, former Lock Keeper in Limerick, joined the crew. In 1969 when the new purpose-built Shannon Maintenance boat the "Coill-an-Eo" was commissioned Kevin, Timmy, Mick and Michael joined her.

Paddy Lynch was left on the Fox and a fresh crew,Jimmy Conroy of Killaloe and Tommy Ward of Athlone, joined him. Tony Hudson, Lock Keeper in Roosky, worked on her for a while. In the late 70's, Paddy Lynch was still in charge with Anthony Donohue and Tony Hudson. After Tony left to take over the lock another former canal man, Tom Nolan of Killaloe, took his place. Tom Nolan left some time later and Andy Mangan from Daingean joined in his place. Pat got sick and Anthony took over as skipper until he retired in the 1980's. Andy Mangan took over from him until he left. At that time George Herriott moved from the Coill-an-Eo to the Fox.

George is still the Skipper of the Fox with Faughna O'Regan, Tommy Carthy, Liam Sherringham and John Reddy. A nicer and friendlier bunch of lads you couldn't meet on the waterways.


Last Updated ( 11 February 2011 )
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