Clare County Library
Clare History
Home | Library Catalogue | Forums | Foto | Maps | Archaeology | Folklore | Genealogy | Museum | Search this Website | Copyright Notice | Visitors' Book | What's New

Kilrush, County Clare: Notes from c 1760 to 1960 by Senan Scanlan

Cargo Services on the Lower Shannon

Cargo on Kilrush Quay, c.1900
Cargo on Kilrush Quay, c.1900.
(Photo: Lawrence)

Messrs M. Glynn & Sons, Kilrush, later Shannon Steamship Company Ltd. operated a cargo service between Kilrush and Limerick and to some of the other ports between Limerick and Loop Head. Some passengers were also carried together with their bicycles. As the roads improved they could cycle from Kilrush to Kilkee. The following are some notes about these services and the ships that were used by Glynn’s and other operators on the Lower Shannon.

1869 13th December (CJ).
The Kilrush Packet Company (Limited).
- Has declared a dividend of 20%, which is to be paid immediately to shareholders. The boats ply between Limerick and Kilrush with goods and the success which has attended this enterprise ought to lead to the establishment of a steamer by the company on the Shannon for conveyance of passengers as well as traffic ---.

1882 22nd July (CA).
-- Most Important to Merchants and Traders.
The large and fast sailing boat, “Mary Blair” 70 tons burthen.
-- will run on the Shannon from this date between Kilrush and Limerick
for general traffic (in goods).
Information From – John McMahon, Custom House Quay, Kilrush.

1885 7th February (CA).
To the inhabitants of Kilrush, Important Notice:
The masters of the traffic boats Mary Blair and Hopewell
Having now agreed to meet in a more particular and efficient manner than heretofore the interests of the Trades of Kilrush by the quicker despatch and transit of their goods. Agree to place one of the boats, each succeeding week without interruption at Limerick, so that all goods on arrival thereon may be forwarded without delay,
On those terms.
The undersigned Residents and Trades of Kilrush agree to give their traffic to the above mentioned boats.

1885 24th March (LR).
Limerick Harbour Board.
The Glynn Shipping Company.
Mr Phillips read a letter from the above company dated the 18th last, in reference to their application requesting the commissioners to appoint two additional pilots for piloting of the company's steamers in and out of the port. -----.

1885 28th March (CA).
-- Public Auction – Vessel “Packet “
At Custom House Quay, Kilrush on the 31st March.
80 tons burthen as she now lies at above quay, well found with sails, running gear, anchors, chains &c.
-- The above “Packet” has been well and favourably known for many years past in the general goods trade between Limerick and Kilrush.
-- Private orders will be received by Garrett Doherty Esq, Moore Street or John C. Mahony, 21 Market Square, Kilrush.

1889 27th May (CJ).
-- Mr. L. McAuliffe, Knock has put a steam launch on the Lower Shannon for the carriage of fish to Limerick.

1893 15th July (KH).
The Leven Services.
---Powerful screw steamer purchased by Messrs M Glynn & Sons---cargo services three trips each week to and from Limerick---.We wish the Leven full freights, favouring gales and prosperous voyages.

1893 9th October (CJ).
New Goods Service on the Shannon:
Messrs. M. Glynn and Son of Kilrush have placed on the Shannon a steamer for the purpose of goods traffic. She will load in the Limerick Docks every Wednesday and Saturday goods of all descriptions to Kilrush which will be discharged on Merchants’ Quay, Kilrush.

1893 18th December (CJ).
Collision in the Shannon:
Some mornings ago the screw steamer Leven belonging to Messrs. M. Glynn and son, Kilrush collided with the steamer Mermaid. – Both vessels sustained severe damage.

1895 25th February (KH).
On Saturday a large and deeply laden Norwegian barque passed in Loop Head, she was unable to weather Kilclogher point and had to let go both anchors in the bay. ---- At three o'clock on Sunday evening the Waterford Steamship Co's tug, Flying Huntsman came to the assistance of the distressed barque and towed her up to Scattery Roadstead’s at six o'clock in the evening. ----.

1896 20th June (KH).
A new steamer for the Shannon:
We are very glad to learn that Messrs M Glynn & Sons have just purchased a splendidly equipped passenger steamer the Eglantine from Lord Ardilaun. The vessel, which cost close to £10,000, will run on the Shannon service-------.

1897 1st May (SR)
The Tourist Scheme in Ireland
The recent visit of Mr Robertson, Chairman of the Board of Works, to West Clare in connection with the development of the Tourist Scheme in the southwest of Ireland has at least been signalled as we have learned that the Government has given the contract for a passenger steamer between Tarbert and Kilrush during the summer months to Messrs Glynn. ----- We have not heard how many tenders were in but we have no doubt but that the competition must have been very keen. We congratulate the Messrs Glynn's as that success which invariably crowns what we may term “go in business” and we trust that the connection--- may prove of much benefit to those both in Kilkee and Killarney to whom a successful tourist season always means so much.

1897 12th June (SR).
Boycotting the New Steamer for the Lower Shannon.
The Waterford, Limerick and Western Railways have boycotted the new tourist steamer, which was to ply from this season from Kilrush to Tarbert------by refusing to issue any tickets in connection with her---.

1898 3rd December (SR).
Collision in the Shannon,
A Steamer sunk-Limerick Saturday.
While proceeding from Limerick to Waterford last night the steamer Mermaid (Captain Cotter) collided with the steamer Premier from Hamburg the latter sustaining such damage that she sank within fifteen minutes afterwards. The collision occurred about 8 o'clock when the two vessels were between Kilcredaun and Scattery near the mouth of the Shannon, the Premier being struck on the port side and having her plates torn open, while the Mermaid's bows were badly damaged.

1899 28th September. (CJ?).
Steamer aground in the Shannon.
The Steamship Kittie, from Philadelphia with 3000 tons of maize for Messrs Bannatyne and Sons, Limerick went ashore at the Cock Rock near Tervoe on Saturday morning. The accident it is said arose through the vessel refusing to steer. She remained fast till Sunday morning when she was taken-off by the Shannon the cargo having been lightened in the meantime. The vessel was docked on Sunday night by the Flying Huntsman. ------.

1905 2nd January (CJ).
The steamer “Start” from Kilrush was due at the Glin Pier at 6 pm but could not leave her moorings at Kilrush till Saturday morning. She arrived safe and discharged part of her cargo at Glin and proceeded to Limerick. The cross channel steamers were delayed in the Shannon.

1907 19th January (CC).
Advertisement: Shannon Steamship Company.
SS “Leven” SS “Start” or other vessels from Limerick for Kilrush, Glin, Tarbert, Ennis &c weather permitting-------.

1910 20th May (KH).
SS Corona purchased by Messrs. M Glynn and Sons arrived at Kilrush from Liverpool.

1911 4th February (IT).
While Messrs. Glynn's steamer Corona was coming up the Shannon from Kilrush, after passing Grass Island, the master Mr. P McMahon, observed a deer swimming from the Clare side of the river to the opposite shore. Mr. McMahon put his vessel about and captured the deer, which he brought on to Limerick.

1913 20th March (CJ).
A plucky little steamer.
In the teeth of a continuous stiff gale, hail and everything of the most unfavourable atmospheric conditions the steamer “Corona” of the Shannon Steamship Company left Limerick docks on Saturday at one o’clock with a full cargo and despite a terrific westerly gale and counter tide reached her berth at Merchant’s Quay at 9 o’clock. In the circumstances it was a marvellous and a plucky feat reflects to the credit of the master of the vessel Mr. Pat McMahon.

1914 17th January (CC).
Advertisement: Shannon Steamship Company Ltd.
SS. Corona, SS Leven, SS Start. or other vessel will sail every
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Limerick for Kilrush direct carrying goods for West Clare including Kilrush, Kilmihil, Miltown Malbay, Ennistymon, Carrigaholt. -----
Telegrams: Glynn Limerick and Glynn Kilrush. Tel. 156-180.

1917 29th January (CJ).
Shannon Steamship Company takes over Kildysart Steam Packet Service.
We are pleased to learn that the Shannon Steamship Company Limited (Messrs. Glynn and Sons, Kilrush) have taken over the carrying service of the Kildysart Steam Packet Company and have purchased the ss “Turk” from Mr. J. Bianconi, J.P., Kildysart and intend trading her along with their own steamers in the Lower Shannon between Kilrush, Kildysart, and Limerick etc. A very fine lorry during last week passed to Kilrush for Messrs. Glynn.

1925 20th June (IT).
Shannon Carrying Service: -
The Shannon Steamship Co. Ltd. (Glynn's Lower Shannon Service), Kilrush, has acquired the carrying service on the River Shannon, recently carried on by the Shannon Express Co., and has purchased the motor vessel, EDJ, and the latter company's sheds at Tarbert, Glin and Ballylongford, together with the goodwill at Limerick and Kilrush.

1929 8th April (II).
--- Dispute at Messrs Glynn and Sons' Mills at Kilrush:
-- Mr. F. Robbins (Organiser for the Irish T. and G. W. U.) claims that since Good Friday the milling side of Messrs. Glynn’s works has been completely idle. Further the crews of the Corona and the EDJ (Steamers belonging to the firm plying between Kilrush and Limerick) supported the mill hands and struck in sympathy. Only the captain was left on the Corona, but the firm succeeded in getting a crew of “free labour” for the vessel.
Stout, merchandise, groceries, etc., for Kilrush and west Clare have been mainly conveyed by these steamers. The interruption of this traffic is causing great inconvenience to Clare traders as well as heavy financial loss, other systems of transport having to be used at much extra cost. A further serious development is now threatened. Each week the Corona used to take to Limerick a cargo of pigs for the bacon factories.
Whilst the Kilrush strike continues these pigs are to be considered “black” and will not be handled in Limerick. --

1945 14th April (CC)
Transfer of Shannon Steamer.
On Sunday a large crowd of people witnessed the departure of the SS Indium from Cappa Quay, Kilrush accompanied by the Directors Messrs Desmond, Harry and Charles Glynn of the firm Messrs M Glynn and Son Millers and Merchants who are managing owners of the Shannon Steamship Co. Ltd. Kilrush. On her way she called at Galway to take a cargo on board for Glasgow and to trade between the English Coast and Dublin in the coal trade temporary duty during the emergency owing to the shortage of shipping. -----.

1945 18th August (CC)
Shannon Streamer, the SS Indium returns to Cappa.

1945-50 August (Limerick Harbour Commissioners: P2/2/44 on-line at Limerick Library).

Register of Vessels Trading on the River Shannon.
Name Tonnage From Cargo
St. Senan 13 Kilrush General
Edgar 42 Ballylongford 60 tons turf
Dingle 86 Kilrush 100 tons turf
Indus 15 Kilrush General
Mary Joseph 12 Kilrush 36 tons turf
Indium 75 Kilrush General
Algina 20 Labasheeda Light
Alita 45 Kilrush General
Eva 29 Ballylongford 38 tons turf.

1947 8th January (Irish Press).
For Sale, SS “Indium”. Gross tonnage 200 draft loaded 10½' aft. Full particulars supplied on request, by the owners: Shannon Steamship Co. Ltd, Kilrush.

1947 21st June (CC).
Old Friend: As well-known as any part of Kilrush the good old ship SS Indium has changed owner and will in future ply from Cardiff. The property of the Shannon Steamship Co. SS Indium plied for years between Kilrush and Limerick and for some time during the fuel emergency she was used to transport last year between the English coastal districts and Dublin. The Shannon Steamship Co. has purchased a new motor vessel Alita in place of the Indium. (In c1948 they also purchased the motor vessel Dingle from the Limerick Steamship Steam-packet Company and both vessels run between Limerick and Kilrush until c1960)

1948 6th November (CC).
Kilrush—Clare's Cosmopolis, busy town is ready for the future. ----. At the Quay where the estuary current seems to run uphill the Alita was moored and a sailor on her well-kept decks was proud of his trim craft The stevedores had discharged her but the golden wheat grains and the brighter yellow of the maize in a thin stream showed that the cargo was destined for the busy mills.

1951 19th February (II).
“Boom” Town during Emergency.
Kilrush was something of a “boom” town during the Emergency, for it was the distribution centre for a huge area of bogland. The Square was often packed with turf-lorries queuing up at the town’s weighbridge. And if the Square has had a hollow echo during the past few years, it will soon be busy enough again with the Government’s turf drive gathering momentum.
Kilrush has one great advantage over most market towns, however, for it has a port that can take ships up to a thousand tons. Many of the ships are local, of course, and the Shannon Steamship Company, which mainly plies between Kilrush and Limerick has its headquarters in the town.
This firm is run by the Glynn family who have taken a leading part in the development of the trade and commerce of Kilrush since 1811. Just over twelve months ago, they extended their interests to acquire control of Irish Marine Products.
Last year this firm paid £2,400 for sea-weed collected along the south-west coast of Clare. –

1956 25th August (IT).
Clare-Kerry ferry service being considered:
The long-awaited commercial ferry service between west Clare and Kerry may be provided as a result of the efforts of a Clare firm.
At a meeting of Kilrush Urban Council a letter was read from the Minister for Industry and Commerce ---- stating that he would welcome any development of such kind by local interests. Information regarding the necessary safety requirements for a vessel for such service had been supplied to the Shannon Steamship Company, which was interested in the provision of a service.
In a letter to the council, the Shannon Steamship Company stated that it had in the past operated a ferry service between Kilrush and Tarbert, but it was confined to the carriage of passengers, motorcars and other such vehicles.

1957 16th September (IT).
Shannon to be used less for transport:
The Dingle, one of two vessels belonging to the Shannon Steamship Co. Ltd., Kilrush, has been sold to an English company. The purchase price has not been disclosed.
The Shannon Steamship Co. is a branch of the milling firm of Messrs. M. Glynn and Sons, Kilrush, which has been trading on the Shannon for over 150 years.
Mr. W. H. Glynn, a director, said that the Dingle, a diesel-propelled vessel has been sold to an English buyer. The firm's second vessel the Alita was still on the Shannon service, he said. But he was not in a position to say at this stage if it would be continued on the service. ----.

Back Arrow
Kilrush Notes