Categories of Special Interest
Ballybranigan Harbour Stores
1810 - 1820
Detached three-bay three-storey former harbour stores associated with the Royal Canal, built c. 1815, now disused. Possibly also formerly in use as a ticket house with associated waiting room(s). Pitched natural slate roof with cut limestone eaves course. Roughcast rendered finish over roughly coursed limestone walls with flush dressed limestone quoins to the corners. Square-headed window openings with cut limestone sills and red brick block-and-start surrounds. Wrought-iron security bars to as number of window openings. Central shallow segmental-headed door opening to front elevation (northwest) having red brick voussoirs and block-and-start surround, dressed limestone plinth blocks to base. Set adjacent to Royal Canal, to the southeast of Chaigneau Bridge (13402349), and to the north of Ballymahon. Canal widens to the southwest of bridge to form canal harbour (Ballybranigan Harbour). Dressed limestone coping to canal bank to southwest bank of canal and adjacent to former stores.
This robust functional structure was originally constructed as a store/warehouse associated with the Royal Canal. Although now derelict and out of use, the scale of this former warehouse/store still impresses and provides an interesting historical insight into the scale of trade along the canal at the time of construction. It survives in good condition, which is testament to the quality of the materials used in its construction. Although never a great financial success, the Royal Canal was carrying 40,000 passengers and 80,000 tonnes of freight annually c. 1830. This figure declined to c. 30,000 tonnes annually during the late-nineteenth century due to competition from the more efficient railway network (The Midland and Great Western Railway Company bought the Royal Canal c. 1845). The canal and this store was still in use until 1961, when the canal was closed to commercial traffic. The location of this building, which is sited at the closest point at which the Royal Canal passes the town of Ballymahon, suggests that it may also have been in use as a canal ticket office and waiting rooms for canal passenger traffic. The utilitarian structure forms part of a group of related structures along with Ballybranigan Harbour, Chaigneau Bridge (13402349), the towpath and the Royal Canal itself. Sensitively restored, this building would add considerably to the built heritage of the local area. There was formerly a ‘bell house and waiting room’ at Ballybranigan Harbour, now demolished.