At work in Waterford harbour during 1950s
118B was the last motor canal boat built by William McMillan of the Ringsend Dockyard Company in 1939. She is of a similar design to those supplied to the Grand Canal Company (GCC) but without the forward cabin roof which was often referred to as the top hat. With the onset of war there were no Bolinder engines available so WP & R Odlums bought her and used her as a horse boat without the engine. The GCC subsequently loaned them a Bolinder until they were able to acquire one after the war.
This boat would have been numbered 80M if the GCC had bought her for their own fleet and the canalmen often referred to her as such. Her maiden voyage was on the 29th of November 1939. During her period with Odlums she was crewed, for almost all her working life, by Jim Kelly from Ballyteague with his son Dan and Johnny "The Rake" Connolly.
With the closure of the canal traffic she was sold by Odlums in the 1950's and ended up in Waterford where she was used by the Harbour Commissioners for the maintenance of channel navigation markers in the river. A large bow roller was fitted to the front deck to accommodate the lifting and deployment of the large steel marker buoys.
Laid-up in Waterford harbour in 2004 (© BJG)
The current owner purchased her in 2004 and immediately set about removing the cumbersome bow roller on the foredeck. She was brought up the Barrow and the Grand Canal to Shannon Harbour where she has received extensive refurbishment after years of loyal service in the salty waters of the Suir estuary.
At Rahan, Co. Offaly, in 2012