AN IRISH SHIP CANAL.
The suggestion of constructing a ship canal across Ireland, from Dublin to Galway, or Dublin to the Shannon, has been warmly taken up by eminent and competent men in London. Elaborate plans and surveys have been made at considerable expense, which have been submitted by Captain Eades, the great American engineer. The plans for the Irish Canal have been prepared by Mr. T. A. Walker, Great George-street, Westminster, who recently bored a tunnel under the Severn, the largest undertaking of the kind in the country.
Silently but steadily a staff of engineers have levelled the country between Galway and Dublin Bays, and the plan, although carefully prepared, is largely tentative, its object being to show the practicability of a project of the kind. The proposed canal would be 127 miles in length and would contain upwards of 30 locks. The estimated cost is, of course, ruled by the tonnage of the ships it is intended to accommodate. Thus if for ships of 1,500 tons the cost would be eight millions, for ships of 2,500 twelve millions, and for ships of 5,000 and upwards twenty millions sterling. If built on this scale, and it is considered that anything smaller would be a mistake, the canal would be 200 feet wide on the surface and 100 feet at the bottom.In considering these dimensions it must be remembered that the Suez Canal except at its mouth is not 80 feet wide. The depth would be from 30 to 35 feet, and the locks would be fitted with the newest hydraulic apparatus so as to make the process of lockage as simple and expeditious as possible. The passage through the canal would be effected through, a system of towage, although it is somewhat of an open question whether this would be preferable to permitting the steamers to work through.
It is estimated that the passage of a ship from Galway Bay to Kingstown would occupy between 24 and 36 hours. An alternative scheme of a ship railway, in which the ships would be carried in cradles, which, he says, could be constructed for ten millions by his plan, the duration of the passage through the island would, he declared, be reduced to 12 hours.
The proposed course of this great work will be of considerable interest.
The canal starts from Doores Strait (sic.), south of Islandeaddy, in Galway Bay, where the shallowness of the water necessitates the dredging of a channel for a considerable distance out. This proposed canal would give a depth of thirty feet at low water, and would be protected from the silting up of the sand by suitable works. The entrance to the canal would be by a sea lock 600 feet in length, capable of taking ships of 5000 tons. From this lock entrance would be gained to a dock of 29 acres in extent, constructed on an arm of the sea, known as present as Brandy Harbour. The first inland lock would be less than a mile up at Killemaran, (sic.) from whence the canal would pass close to Drumacoo, then turning slightly to the north by Kilcolgan on to Rahasane, and passing about five miles to the south of Athenry, and crossing the Athenry and Ennis Railway at Craughwell, where the fifth lock would be situated. The sixteenth mile of the canal brings it about one mile to the north of Loughrea, from which town there will be a feeder to supply fresh water from the lake which is ten feet above the level of the canal, the latter being 260 feet above sea level. From this point there is; a long straight line of canal without locks until it roaches Eyrecourt, whence an immense aqueduct is to be constructed to carry the canal over the Shannon