Irish Ships and Shipping
Drogheda to Liverpool service
BY JIM GARRY
The northside of the River Boyne, from St Mary's Bridge to the Boyne Viaduct, has the North
Quay, the Mall, Merchant's Quay, Steam packet Quay, Ballast Quay and Deep Water-Berth, ending just under the Viaduct.
The last three mentioned quays are now owned by a busy shipping company and are not open to the public.
There was a time when Steam packet Quay was one of the earliest cross channel packet services to be operated out of Ireland, when the Drogheda Steam packet Company, maintained a service, both passenger and livestock, between Drogheda and Liverpool for 76 years.
The company started as early as 1826 when it acquired the old Gas Works, when the latter moved across 'the river to the Marsh Road, and was known as the Drogheda Paddle Steamship Co, and during its long years was always to the fore at introducing new developments to their vessels and was the first shipping
firm to have installed electric light, steam steering gear and compound engines.
Listed here are some of the ships and their year of introduction: 'Town of Drogheda* 1826; 'Fair Trader' 1829; 'Green Isle' 1833; 'Irishman' 1834; 'Granua Uile' 1835; 'Faugh a Ballagh' 1844 (First Iron Paddle Steamer), 'Brian Boroimhe' 1846; •St Patrick' 1846, and 'Leinster Lass' 1849.
'Colleen Bawn' 1862, was one of the best which operated on the sea and served her owners for over 40 years. She was 697 tons gross, and had an overall length of 220 feet. She was fitted with 400 hp engines and was under the command of Captain Branigan.
Other captains at that time included Edward Toker, Philip Heaney, James Fay and Peter Owens.
Later additions to the fleet included 'Lord Athlmnney' 1871, 'Tredagh' 1876; 'North Creina' 1878.
'Tredagh' stayed with the company until it was liquidated in 1902, and was broken up several years later, whilst 'Norah Creina'was broken up in 1912.
'Kathleen Mavoureen' the largest steamer to be built for the company, arrived at her homeport on September 12, 1885. As she came up the river her general appearance was commented on by a large crowd of people who thronged the quay and all the shipping in the river displayed a profusion of bunting from mast to head to taffrail.
She was 260 feet long with a 30 ft beam, a dept of 15.5 ft and a gross tonnage of 988. Shortly
after the company closed she was sold to continental owners.
'Iverna' the last vessel to join the fleet in 1895, was a steel vessel of just 100 tonnes.
She was one of the very few cross-channel steamers to be built with a diagonal triple-expansion engine. She was also the last paddle steamer to enter the Drogheda-Liverpool route.
Like all the Drogheda steamers, she could carry about 500 cattle in well ventilated cattle decks, but
the feature that interested the newspaper the most was the fact she had a 'steam radiator' in the ladies cabin.
In 1901, the 'Colleen Bawn', after many years of splendid service was withdrawn and broken up in Preston.
She was the best remembered of all the company's ships. The following year the Drogheda Steampacket Co was bought out by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, and this was taken over by the British and Irish Steampacket Company (B&I), which used the quay until its closure in the early 1960s.
©JIM GARRY / DROGHEDA INDEPENDENT
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