A lot of people ask me, if I were shipwrecked, and could only have one book, what would it be? I always say 'How to Build a Boat'. - Stephen Wright

Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

Home arrow Vessels arrow Bye-Trader Boats arrow 31B - Williams & Woods - Bye-Trader - Portadown 1910
31B - Williams & Woods - Bye-Trader - Portadown 1910 PDF Print E-mail
01 May 2008


31B Image Technical Details
Reg No: 31B
Type "B" (Bye Trader or Hack Boat.)
Name: The Williams & Woods
(also known as The Jam Boat)
Built By Either Portadown Foundry or Bright Patent Pulley Lisburn
Built For D.E. Williams, Tullamore
Length : 60 feet
Beam: 12' 9 inches
Material: Riveted steel
Ballast: Concrete 14 Tonnes
Engines: Bolinder 1919-1958
BMC 1978 - 2001
Perkins 6354.4 2002 to date
She also had twin Seagull outboards attached to the rudder in 1978 or 79

31B was built in Northern Ireland, circa 1910, for D. E. Williams Ltd. of Tullamore. She was weighed in Killaloe in 1912 and traded on the Grand Canal and River Barrow carrying grain until 1927.
From 1927 to 1946 she traded on the Grand Canal under two owners, P. Cafferky of Mountmellick and J. Gill. In 1946 she transferred to Williams & Woods Ltd, for whom she’s still named. While with Williams & Woods 31B carried various confectioneries the length and breadth of the navigation, a welcome relief from wartime rationing.
31B on the Circular Line of the Grand Canal, Dublin
In 1958 she was taken over by CIE and her engine was removed. She was later sold to a civil engineering company and was used alongside the "Eclipse Flower", a former Ranks Flour Company barge as a floating platform for a crane during the building of the new bridge in Wexford in 1959. She then lay abandoned, either under the bridge or in the salt marshes beside it until 1978.
31B at Wexford Bridge in 1959
At this point her purchase was negotiated and she was refloated by Pat Benson who after fitting a BMC engine brought her up the coast to Dublin and later down the Grand Canal to Athlone. Her last act as a working boat appears to have been in 1979 when she was used to carry building supplies to one of the islands on Lough Ree for the construction of a house.
She was then brought to Edenderry, where she was converted.
31B photo taken by Mike Clarke in 1980 31B photo taken by Mike Clarke in 1980
31B was sold again in the early nineties to a Mr Ward, but fell into bad repair and after being vandalised it sank in Shannon Harbour around 1997. She was then bought by Michael and Mai Devlin in 2000 who refloated her and after a spell in Shannon Harbour dry dock she was brought north to County Leitrim where she underwent a refit. Over the winter of 2001/2, a Perkins 6354.4 engine was fitted to replace the BMC engine which had "expired" on the way back from the Lough Derg Rally. Hydraulic steering was fitted during the winter of 2002/3.
31B Carrick-on-Shannon 2002 31B & 76M Carrick 2002
The current owner, Mick Farrell, bought her from Mick and Mai in October 2004. Following some hull plating and construction of a superstructure over the bow cabin in Roosky dry dock, he took possession of her in March 2005. Although she has hydraulic steering fitted, her tiller is still attached. Mick Devlin said that he was "loathe to cut it off" and Mick Farrell says that the thought of cutting it off now after 95 years of faithful service didn’t appeal to him either. In 2005 while travelling as part of the HBA fleet 31B got back on the Barrow participating in various events along the navigation and visits, on tidal waters, to New Ross, Inistiogue, Carrick-On-Suir and to Waterford (for the Tall Ships Event), all of this must have reminded her of her days in Wexford Harbour!
31B on Barrow 2005 31B on Barrow 2005
31B Carlow 2005
The summer of 2006 was spent on the Erne system while in 2007 the Williams & Woods was once again back on the Canal.
31B on way to Naas Dec 2009
Williams & Woods
Last Updated ( 04 February 2012 )
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