Day trip to 32.M

I took these photos back in October 2014, when one Sunday afternoon I decided to walk the canal from the University of Limerick to the joining with the river. I knew that 32.M had been bought and brought down to Limerick from the Grand Canal with outboard engines, but I expected to find it in the canal, with restoration work well underway. To my surprise I found it still on the river section, where it appeared abandoned and on the bottom. Without even a cover over the hold similar to mine, the hold had half filled with water, the same mechanism which caused 77.M to sink in the first place, so obviously I was shocked to find history almost repeating itself. The boat is of a very similar design to my own, which is very interesting to observer, with the cut down bow, the cage and cabin, and the big open back deck with the tiller for steerage. I recently attended a talk by one of the local men involved in this restoration and was informed that they are waiting there moored up until the lock is opened so that they can moor on the canal stretch and begin their restoration work. The lock appeared fully operational to me, with new lock gates and rams in place, but I also heard there is hassle with getting them opened over political reasons. I hope that they sort this out and that work can start on this barge, not only is it historically significant because of its era, and its unique shaped, known colloquially as the “Diamond Barge”, but if left there much longer unloved, it could degrade even further and I fear be lost forever while finger pointing takes place.

32.M part I, looking down the Abbey River in Background
32.M part I, looking down the Abbey River in Background
32.M part II, showing the main section of the boat.
32.M part II, showing the main section of the boat.
32.M part III, showing the  front section of the boat, the diamond-shaped bow is submerged.
32.M part III, showing the front section of the boat, the diamond-shaped bow is submerged.
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One thought on “Day trip to 32.M

  1. As an update to this, there has been some news on this project. The HBA took a visit to Limerick in August 2015, and I believe there was some talks and plans, hopefully to get the ball moving on this project. I have since come across this article where the barge was covered in the newspaper as part of heritage week 2014. It is great to see the boat in print, and great to hear some of the plans, hopefully it all goes to plan in the future. However I still have some concerns for the wintering position, after seeing the state it was left in for last winter, I fear the same could occur this one, and some serious damage be done to the boat. This is also ignoring the possibility that the boat may be in danger of being vandalized, as it is in a public place littered with empty beer cans, and a quick cutting of ropes could result in it drifting down the abbey river towards a dangerous weir very fast. Hopefully my concerns are shared by the people in charge of this important piece of heritage.

    http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/old-canal-barge-to-be-restored-by-young-offenders-283387.html

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