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Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

Home arrow Vessels arrow Grand Canal Boats arrow 71M - GCC Canal Boat - Dublin 1936
71M - GCC Canal Boat - Dublin 1936 PDF Print E-mail
25 September 2008
Technical Details
Reg Number:
Built By:
Vickers (Ireland) Ltd
Riveted Steel
61' 6"
13' 1.5"
61 tons
4' 5.25"
Killaloe 1936
Bolinder E Type, 15 HP
Ford Thornycroft 6.251t
Borg Warner Hydraulic 3-1 reduction gearbox
Home Base:

Lough Derg


Built by Vickers 71M was one ofthe last batch of M barges delivered to the Grand Canal Company in 1937. She, like the other M barges, carried general cargo throughout the navigation but had the had the distinction of taking the shortcut over Bestfield Weir on the Barrow when the river was in flood. Tom Connolly was the skipper accompanied by his brother John ("Squaw") and brother in law Dick "Nessan" Redmond.

When the Canal was closed down 71M was sold at auction by CIE to Betty Williams in 1960 for £125. She was brought down the Barrow to Waterford with Hugh Malet ("Voyage in a Bowler Hat") amongst the crew. Hugh was travelling all the waterways of Ireland, researching for his book. The Williams' lived on an island near Waterford and for many years 71M made the trip up to the Mill in Waterford on the rising tide and home again on the ebb, fetching seed and fertiliser and delivering grain after the harvest.

She was sold on in 1966 to Waterford Harbour Commissioners who used her for work on the new bridge. She later sank and was abandoned on a sand bank in the estuary for sometime, before been raised and moved to New Ross where she again ended up on a sand bank in the salt water.

Somehow she made her way to Athy, where she was holed and sank yet again. About Christmas 1971 she was acquired by Liam Covney who set about raising her with the help of Tom Carbery, George Spiers, Donal Murphy, Michael Rowan and the Athy Fire Brigade. Tom and Yvonne Stewart acquired her shortly afterwards and set about converting her to a house boat at the jetty just above Leeson Street Bridge in Dublin. The side decks were removed which gives her a distinctive look outside with a roomier feel inside. Tom used her extensively in the early seventies.

After Tom's death she was sold to her current owners in November 1986 who apart from removing some of the more obvious fire hazards (polystyrene ceiling tiles), made few changes until 2002/3. By 2002 the ravages of her time on the sand banks in salt water were obvious so a major plating job was called for. After that was done she got a complete refit of the interior, including central heating.

Crew included-
Her first skipper was Billy Bulger and he spent a good few years on her. In the early 1940's Willy Dunne, Tosh Cross, Shonie Dunne, Paddy "Waxer" Dunne and at one stage Ned Dunne were on her. Willy, Shonie and "Waxer" stayed on her until they left to take out 62M.

In the late 40's Dick Kearney, Billy Colton and Paddy Kearney were on her. When they were told that they were to be tied up (no work for the boat), they all went their different ways. Dick left the canal altogether and never returned. After that Jack Kearney, Paddy Bagnall and John Coyne were on her. When they left her in, Tom Connolly was in charge of 37M. John "Squaw" Connolly came back from England, Tom left 37M and the two ofthem with their brother in law Dick "Nessan" Redmond took out 71M.

After that were Pat Doyle (Skipper). Mick Tierney (Engineman) and John Doyle (Deckhand). Pat and Mick took retirement, John moved to the 55M for the final year. Then Andy Maloney with his brother Abie Maloney and Tick Tom Donnellan took her out. Andy was in charge and held her for a while until near the end of1959 he went back to 60M.

Other crew members that were supposed to have worked on her were Mick Conroy, Billy Clinton and Joe Connolly. Christy "Gent" McDermott was supposed to have been skipper on her for a while and Paddy McDermott was a greaser at one stage.

70M & 71M at Lowtown 71M in James Street Harbour
Last Updated ( 03 December 2010 )
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