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Meelick Back Cut

Posted by Colin Becker 
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Meelick Back Cut
21 April, 2009 16:08

I'm wondering can anyone help me with a small but important gap in my
knowledge of the Shannon system. (There's lots of other gaps but this is
one I need to fill just now)

At Meelick, Omer originally built the navigation in the old canal through
what became Hamilton Lock. And then in the 1840s Rhodes moved the
navigation into a new cut and built Victoria lock and installed the weir
that is now south of Meelick Quay.

And then sometime in the 1880s as far as I can figure out, under the Allport
Commission they opened up the "back channel" between Omers cut and the
current navigation channel. Thats the one with the narrow bridge over it
to get to Victoria Lock. At the same time I think they installed the
sluices at Meelick Weir.

What I'm trying to find out is whether they also installed a weir and
sluices somewhere in the back channel and if so are they still there and can
you get at them by road.

I'm guessing if they were there they would have to be somewhere near
Marlborough Bridge. If I can get at them I'll go up and take a photo at
the weekend.

Best Wishes,

Colin Becker
GMY Chang Sha
Re: Meelick Back Cut
21 April, 2009 16:48
Hi Colin,
Yes, there is a weir, but I think it is quite a distance north of the
bridge, closer to the start of
Omer's canal. I don't know how accessible it is by road or water. I think
there's an aerial
photo of the area in Kevin Dwyer's book. Let us know if you manage to reach

RE: Meelick Back Cut
21 April, 2009 17:09

I traveled most of the way up this cut by small boat years ago, From memory
there was long rapids rather than a weir under the sluices with a narrow
bridge crossing it.

Hope this helps

Ken Murphy
Re: RE: Meelick Back Cut
21 April, 2009 17:19
Hi Colin,
Can't provide much info myself I am afraid, but I do know that the Derg branch did a mini-CIC last year to Meelick and quite a few travelled up that cut by Dingy so they might be able to cast some light on it for you.
Amongs others I know that Andy, Gerry and Fergal made the journey, so hopefully some of these may be in a position to assist.
I was in "Dry CIC" mode at the time and found that travelling across the narrow road bridge by car provided quiet enough exitement for one weekend..........!

Richard Ellis

Virginia Lady
Re: Meelick Back Cut
21 April, 2009 17:58
Yes, yes, I see it ! Great. Never thought to look there.
I probably can get close to it by road.

Thank you Conor.

Re: Re: RE: Meelick Back Cut
21 April, 2009 18:13
Seems unlikely that even G (I'll get that barge in there if it kills me)
Burke could have gotten a barge up there. Mind you I was there when he got
the boat into Hamilton lock. Nearly didn't get it out again mind you.
That bridge can be a bit scary. Specially in the dark !

Re: Meelick Back Cut
21 April, 2009 18:03
Conor has revealed all. If I'm reading the map and picture right, where the
sluices are is probably part of the old river channel around Inchekery
island. I think that channel originally went into the main river again just
north of the new navigation cut and that was blocked off at some point and
then they diverted it down the new cut east of the current navigation
channel to take some of the pressure of Meelick Weir.

Re: Re: RE: Meelick Back Cut
21 April, 2009 21:49
colin_becker1 Wrote:
> Seems unlikely that even G (I'll get that barge in
> there if it kills me)
> Burke could have gotten a barge up there.
> dark !
> Colin

I did say "dingy" trip ! ! ! !

I am sure G would not like to think that 68M could be mistaken for a Dingy ! ! !


Richard Ellis

Virginia Lady
Re: Meelick Back Cut
21 April, 2009 22:10
Hi Colin. Don't know if these are any use

OceanFroggie Noel Griffin
Re: Re: Meelick Back Cut
21 April, 2009 22:18
Thanks Froggie,

I think we've got it sussed. The sluices appear to be at the feature
referred to as Marlborough Bridge on the OS map Sheet 53 GR 962 144 or about
1.5km east and a smidgen north of Meelick Quay as the crow flies.

The next mystery was when they were built but I think reading between the
lines in Auntie Ruth's book we can conclude they date from the time of the
Allport Commission in the 1880s.

I will investigate at the weekend and report back.

Re: Meelick Back Cut
27 April, 2009 16:50
Here is a website we set up in our office while preparing a survey. (jcost were our IT consultants)

It wasn't designed for mass consumption so may not react well if you all log on together. You can search by county, type, townland or name. If you leave all boxes blank you willl get all records. If you press google earth you will get a flag for each record, but that will take about a minute. Reports of errors or omissions gratefully received, preferably in private, to

Re: Meelick Back Cut
27 April, 2009 17:45
Hi Colin,

I believe Donal Boland is an authority on the Meelick area.


Re: Meelick Back Cut
27 April, 2009 18:38
Hi Jimmy, yes, the oracle has been consulted.
Went there on Saturday and took this photo of the sluices. They went in in the 1880s at the same time as the sluices on the main weir. They were modified again in the late 1920s to improve throughput in flood conditions. Technically the main weir (i.e. the one you see from the navigation) is called "Keelogue" and the weir on the back channel about 2km away is called "Meelick". But thats just by the way !

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