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Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

Home arrow Vessels arrow Horse Boats arrow 95E - Horse Boat Old Grey - Scotland 1895
95E - Horse Boat Old Grey - Scotland 1895 PDF Print E-mail
08 December 2010

 

95E was built by Cummings and Ellis of Inverkeithing, Scotland in 1895. She was purchased by the Grand Canal Company (GCC) and operated under the name Old Grey. On another GCC list she is listed as SS Jay.
 
In 1912 she was one of nine GCC boats converted to engine power by installing a Bolinder engine. After conversion she was re-numbered 7M. In September 1921 she was weighed at Killaloe and her dimensions were recorded as 62ft long with a beam of 12ft 10ins, a stem height of 6ft 8ins and a stern height of 6ft 6ins.
 
In a 1943 GCC engineer’s survey of boats operating on the Grand Canal, 7M was listed as having being hired out. A later survey in 1945 tells us that 7M was sold into private use to Thomas McCormack of Killina. That 1945 survey notes that she was now 124B.
 
In Portrait of the Grand Canal, Liam Darcy lists 124B’s origin as 19M. Darcy’s source was another GCC list from that era which is contradictory but because 19M was built by the Passage Dock Company and going on the unique structure of 95E we are happy that she was built by Cummings and Ellis.
 
CIE documents from 1956 record that CIE purchased her back in 1952 and gave her back her old number 7M. A CIE Engineering Department memo dated November 20th 1956 relating to the scrapping of 77E (built in 1889 as horse boat No 5, then 26M) states that 7M is to replace 77E. So in 1956, 7M was re-numbered 95E.
 
It is believed that 95E like 77E did not have an engine when operating as a clay boat as Arthur Bell (who worked both 77E and 95E) always had horse drawn boats. Arthur’s nephew Kieran Bell also worked on 95E and after Arthur retired, the Conveys from Rahan worked on her.
 
95E was unique in that to make it easy for the loading and unloading of puddle clay by wheelbarrow the engineering department cut down and lowered her side decks. While that wasn’t all that unusual at the time, it is the only boat remaining in that configuration. It is also interesting to note that her engine room roof was at some late stage significantly lowered to about 8 inches from the deck.
 
95E was retired from maintenance service in the mid 1960’s and lay on the canal around Rahan for a number of years. She was brought to Ballycommon where she remained with a number of other boats before being brought into Tullamore Harbour where she still resides.
 
95E is one of the few remaining timber decked boats. Her bow section is flat rather than a cabin raised off the deck. What is her future? Her condition is fragile, the wooden decks are disappearing and that weakens her structure. So like 92E it is impossible to determine her structural integrity until she is delicately raised.
 
We are hopeful that she can be saved and Old Grey given a new lease of life and once again travel the waterways she first encountered on her arrival from Scotland 115 years ago.
 
Last Updated ( 08 December 2010 )
 
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