While checking on visitors to the Blog in my absence I noticed one from Hong Kong who was looking for information about "The Lady Gwendolen Law". Those of you used to keeping a good lookout on watch know this is one of the ships in the photo below "All Three In". As the result of a collision between MV "The Lady Gwendolen" and the coastal tanker MV "Freshfield" in the River Mersey in fog in November 1961 things ended up in Admiralty Court. During the application to 'Limit Liability' under British Admiralty Law the owner-managers, Guinness Brewery, ran into legal problems. Without wallowing in the details, Limitation was denied and this in turn set a standard for future management of vessels. All very interesting but so what, - well my father was Assistant Traffic Manager of Guinness at that time and part of their vessels management team. It happened that I was studying for Master's at Warsash during the Appeal Court hearing so he and I spent time at the Admiralty Court on The Strand, London. For a future Master it was a 'teaching moment' to be remembered.
Also at that time the casks of Guinness stout were taken by barge from the Brewery berth on the Liffey downriver an Irish mile to the vessels berthed at Dublins Custom House Quay. The casks also travelled by lorries, through Dublin's crowded city streets, to the vessel's in addition to the barge traffic.
To quote the Irish writer Tim Magennis, who wrote an interesting article about the barges, 'Sic transit gloria' and the barge traffic which operated from 1873 to 1961 is now long gone, which is sad. No more do we hear those Dubliners leaning over the bridges as the barges passed underneath calling "Hey Mister, bring us back a parrot". Those of you who read James Joyce know of the wit and repartee of Dubliners, and yes both he and I are alumni (jesuit victims?) of Clongowes Wood College, Naas, Co. Kildare. Again I was, thanks to my Dad, able to make a couple of river trips on the barges in the 1950's. The last barge to go was "Clonsilla" and her barge bell was presented to my Dad. My sister, Trich Boucher Street, has the bell now in her house at Glandore, Co. Cork so it is in good hands - but no parrot!!