Corrib Connect


The Amo II

The property of the late Hon. Ernest Guinness of Ashford Castle [image shown on page 58 in Semple's book (1988) Where the River Corrib Flows].

In 1954, The last boat to sail through Galway's Eglinton Canal was the Amo II. Built in 1917 in Quebec as an anti-submarine boat (ML 482) and was converted in 1928 by A.E. Guinness and brought to Cong as a pleasure boat (yacht).

It eventually fell into disuse and was scrapped in 1954. It is thought that a different Amo was used for spare parts and could lie submerged at Cong, Co. Mayo. Interestingly, the boat was given the name Amo, which in Latin means 'I love' and is taken from the initials of his daughters, Aileen, Maureen and Oonagh. To view further information on this and on other crafts belonging to the Guinness family, go to ‘relevant links’ and read the National Maritime Museum of Ireland website.

In 1954 Frank Bailey bought the Amo II, a 90′ motor yacht, from the Guinness trustees: it had been part of the family’s fleet at Ashford Castle. Bailey wanted to take it to the sea but, when the authorities examined the bridges, they found that, though they could be opened, they could not be closed again safely. Accordingly, even as Amo II passed down the Eglinton Canal, the swivelling bridges were being removed; they were replaced by fixed bridges that are still there today, and Amo II was the last large vessel to use the Eglinton Canal.

Frank Curran (Dublin) put up an interesting and humorous story relating to the Amo II on the Irish Waterways History website (see ‘relevant links’) on which he wrote the following:

 "My Mother, Eileen Curran of Vesey Lodge, Oranmore. Bought the “Ships Piano” from the Amo II at auction in Bailey’s Hotel, Eyre Square for £15. My Father, Paddy Curran and I took it home on our donkey and cart and we must surely hold the record for the fastest time from Galway to Oranmore by ass and cart because each time the cart went over one of the many potholes on the way the piano jangled and the donkeys ears went further back and he put on another spurt until we reached the safety of our back yard.The piano is a “J.B.Cramer Model No.1? and is in the attic of my home here in Dublin. It is my intention to restore it to it’s former glory but as the years advance I am comming to realise that the road to God knows where is paved with good intentions."

Amo II was auctioned At Sweeneys Auction in Dun Laoghaire, details


The stermer Enterprise owned by a man called Hodgson carried passengers and cargo between Galway and Oughterard in 1853. This was facilitated by the constructinof the Oughterard pied in 1852. The Kilbeg pier was also constructed in 1852.

Father Daly

Built at a cost of £1,500 the Father Daly navigated the Eglinto canal in November 1859. The steamer made its first trip to Cong on 6th December 1859 ub three hours. She made two trips per week. It proved inadequate to for the increased goods traffic and arrangements were made to put another steamer (The Lady Eglinton) on the lake.

The Lady Eglinton

The Lady Eglinton was a paddle steamer of 94 gross tone, 115 feet long and 16 feet beam and had a draft of 7 feet 6 inches. She was built in Liverpool and was registered at Lloyds under No. 21481.  She was the largest steamer ever to ply the lake. She would not be able to travel from Galway to Cong today due to her draft and the various Corrib drainage schemes. Boats of 3 feet draft now regularly hit rocks in the navigation challel.

In summer, the Eglinton did a daily service between Galway and Cong in each direction while in winter it made three round trips per week.

It plied the Corrib for 30 years until May 1896 when it moved to the Shannon.

The Lady Eglinton was used to transport two 36 pounder Russian cannons which were captured during the Crimean War of 1854-6. They were presented to Galway by the British War Department for its support during the Crimean War to acknowledge the contribution made by the Connaught Rangers of which Galwegians were well represented in its ranks (Henry,W. 2011). These guns are now located outside City Hall on College Road.

The S.S. “Countess Cadogan”

According to Maurice Semple’s ‘Where the River Corrib Flows’ book, the S.S. “Countess Cadogan” was a 55 ft. Long, beam 14 ft. Boat with a draft of 7.5 ft. It weighed 55 tons and an image of this vessel is shown in Semple’s book. In the image, the boat is being used to bring the Annual Commercial Boat Club excursion to Cong in 1915. In 1917, the boat left the Corrib and went to Scotland.

The “Lady Olive”

According to Maurice Semple’s ‘Where the River Corrib Flows’ book, the ‘Lady Olive’ was owned by Sir Arthur Guiness and is depicted on page 11 of the book as it is moored in the Claddagh Basin ‘prior to her trip to Cong’.

Saint Patrick (Cliodhna)

The Saint Patrick arrived in 1903 and was renamed Cliodhna. It ran between Galway and Maam and also called at Oughterard and Coal Quay. It did not call to Cong. It left Galway at 7 a.m. arriving in Maam at noon, calling at Doon on the way. It left Maam at 2 p.m. Abd arrived in Galway at 7 p.m. On Fridays, visited Coal Quay. The times for this call in Semple’s book do not seem achievable to the writer! This steamer left Lough Corrib in 1908.

Other cargo vessels

Many other cargo boats plied the Corrib carrrying bricks from Annaghdown, black marble from Angliham Quarry, iron ore from the Maam river and lead from Glann. In addition a large number of sailing boats, colloquially called ‘sack boats’ carried timber, limestone, turf and animals up and down the Corrib.

Comment by the writer

The traffic on the Corrib in the second half of the 19th century is impressive as is the size of the vessels involved. It highlights the folly of Galway Corporation probably assisted by the Corrib Navigation Trustees, in closing the Eglinton Canal to Navigation. They can never be pardoned.

Relevant Links

Sources - Books