Don't pay the ferryman...

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Where: Ulster, Cavan, Ireland

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When: Unknown

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Staying in Cavan and this time in Virginia, the town called after Elizabeth I, though a beautiful town unlike the Queen. Set on the shores of Lough Ramor in a very rural area, one wonders who were the users of the ferry? And where did it deliver its patrons on the other side?

Photographer: Robert French

Collection: Lawrence Photograph Collection

Date: Circa 1865-1914

NLI Ref: L_ROY_10392

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

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Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 5077
robertfrench williamlawrence lawrencecollection lawrencephotographicstudio thelawrencephotographcollection glassnegative nationallibraryofireland virginia cocavan ulster ferry loughramor boat sails ferryman ketch escort

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  • profile

    Rory_Sherlock

    • 04/Jun/2021 08:16:44

    Ordnance Survey 6" and 25" maps show a ferry running across the lake from the mouth of the river just downstream from Virginia: 25" map: arcg.is/qL58D0 Lots of info in a Facebook post here: www.facebook.com/Muntcomm/posts/information-on-the-lough-...

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    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Jun/2021 08:18:10

    I see the Landing Stage on the 25", but can't get there with streetview. Here is a Bing aerial view. The 25" marks the ferry route, North-South across Lough Ramor. Streetview not great from the Southern side either. There's feck all on the southern shore, I can't imagine this was a commercial ferry, maybe for tourists?

  • profile

    John Spooner

    • 04/Jun/2021 08:18:11

    Some history and a map of Lough Ramor ferry. www.facebook.com/Muntcomm/posts/information-on-the-lough-... It also includes names of ferrymen.

  • profile

    suckindeesel

    • 04/Jun/2021 08:26:16

    arcg.is/nmCXv on the 25"

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Jun/2021 08:32:03

    From a random cached Facebook page (large grain of salt needed): However, in the 1821 Census, Michael Flinn from Coronagh, Munterconnaught was listed as the “ferryman of Lough Ramor”.​ ... We do know that when the land on which the town of Virginia is built was assigned to Captain John Ridgeway as part of the Plantation of Ulster in the early 17th century, there were conditions attached to the grant for the founding of a town, to include a school, a church, a market-place, and in addition, the establishment of a ferry service. The ferry service would connect Munterconnaught to Virginia.​ It was proposed that the town of Virginia be built at Ballaghanea but it was decided that it should be built at the narrowest point of the lake and therefore the shortest way to cross by boat. The ferry was an important amenity for the people of Munterconnaught for shopping or socialising in the local town of Virginia. It was a thriving ferry service where farmers took their goods to the market in Virginia and returned home with their groceries. On the Virginia side, the locals could enjoy the woods on the southern side of the lake by making the short boat trip there. The round trip was 2d. Two cottages, one on each side of Lough Ramor, were built around the middle of the 19th century. The cottage on the Munterconnaught side was for a gamekeeper while the Gate lodge along the Virginia lake shore and close to the ferry landing area was for a boatman or ferryman that operated the service. Many ferrymen names are remembered like an Englishman called Stephens, John Sweeney from Cork; a local man named Preston; John O’Boyle from Donegal, Peter Carrol and Jack Delaney from Mountnugent. The last man to operate the ferry crossing was a man called Matt Donohoe from Belturbet. According to Cavan County Council archives, a notice on the 21 May 1940 was made to the fact that Lord Headfort had sold Virginia lodge and demesne and had no further use for the Lough Ramor Ferry. However, he would not like to discontinue the Ferry without giving interested parties an opportunity to form a committee to operate it. The ferry service came to an end in the late 1950s. The road leading to Lough Ramor on the southern side is still known as the Boat Road.

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Jun/2021 08:39:51

    Ferry House near todays shot, in Streetview.

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    CASSIDY PHOTOGRAPHY

    • 04/Jun/2021 08:42:46

    What a beautiful and nostalgic photo.

  • profile

    John Spooner

    • 04/Jun/2021 09:05:42

    Drogheda Conservative - Saturday 08 April 1905 in a fishery inspector's report. "WIlliam Stephens, of Virginia, who is in charge of the ferry boats on the Lough, can prove that Lough Ramor is frequented by trout" 1901 census - there's a RIchard (not WIlliam) Stephens, born in England, 53 years old, living in Virginia, occupation "boatman". 1911 census - same (although he's aged a decade or so)

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    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Jun/2021 09:10:38

    Some corroboration for the above ramble: Richard Stephens, boatman, Virginia, originally from England, still a boatman at 64 in 1911.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Jun/2021 09:12:19

    That is very possibly him in today's photo.

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    John Spooner

    • 04/Jun/2021 09:15:50

    Belfast Telegraph - Wednesday 19 April 1939. The local council discussed taking over the ferry from the owner, the Marquis of Headfort. It appears that the ferry had been out of action for three years, and people living to the south of the Lough "had been suffering a very serious grievance". One man had had to travel 7½ miles for public health services. There were four boats and the toll was one penny.

  • profile

    John Spooner

    • 04/Jun/2021 09:33:30

    Belfast Telegraph - Thursday 19 October 1933

    CAVAN BOATING ACCIDENT. RESCUE ON LOUGH RAMOR. While returning from Virginia, Co. Cavan. in the ferry boat across Lough Ramor, Co. Cavan. Mr. Patrick Smith, Munterconnaught, tumbled from the craft into the water when he attempted to recover an oar which had slipped from the hands of the rower. He was a non-swimmer. and sank immediately. Mr. Laurence Masterson, Munterconnaught. a passenger in the boat, pluckily dived to the rescue and succeeded in bringing the man to the surface. and they were both pulled back into the boat by Mr. Thomas O'Ferrell. Mr. Smith was unconscious, but artificial respiration was applied and he recovered in a short time.

  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 04/Jun/2021 09:51:46

    Ketch or yawl ?

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    O Mac

    • 04/Jun/2021 09:58:38

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ Ketch. Yawl has mizzin aft of rudder.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 04/Jun/2021 10:18:10

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Oarsome!

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 04/Jun/2021 10:30:48

    The ketch was called 'ESCORT'. See the reverse view with a couple of impatient-looking passengers - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000330990

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Jun/2021 10:46:01

    There is a sequence of L_ROY plates all in Virginia. Can't be sure they are the same visit, but it seems possible, Virginia is annoyingly old and untouched, so not much dating evidence from the church etc, but here is the Main Street in L_ROY_10383. This features an RIC man in a forage cap (after 1900), and D. McGovern's Harness shop. Daniel McGovern is 54 in 1901, still there in 1911.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Jun/2021 10:47:30

    If we are after 1900, I think it is increasingly likely that the ferryman shown is Richard Stephens.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Jun/2021 11:00:18

    L_ROY_10382 in catalogue includes McNam... on a baker/grocer/hotel - presumably Matthew McNamee in the 1911, but not 1901 census.

  • profile

    John Spooner

    • 04/Jun/2021 11:12:03

    Richard Stephens, died 2/11/1925 aged 79 at Virginia. Occupation: Sailor. civilrecords.irishgenealogy.ie/churchrecords/images/death...

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    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Jun/2021 11:18:22

    In L_ROY_10381 we see the premises of J McGarvey, Postmaster in 1901 and 1911. catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000317759 shows B. Logan nearby (Bridget has a drapery in 1911) and more interestingly B. Matthews. In 1901, mother Margeret is a Tea and Spirit merchant. James is 18 and Bernard is 10. In 1911, James is 28, head of family, farmer and publicam, and Bernard is a farmer. So are we after 1911 and Bernard has taken over the pub?

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    John Spooner

    • 04/Jun/2021 11:21:10

    Nearly all the RIchard Stephens born in England in 1847/48 were born in Cornwall, The rest were from Devon, except one from the Welsh/English border (Presteigne).

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    CASSIDY PHOTOGRAPHY

    • 04/Jun/2021 11:38:19

    Sent you an email.

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    derangedlemur

    • 04/Jun/2021 12:02:13

    I have only just discovered that you can stick additional parameters into the census search in the address bar. There were 1186 boatmen in ireland in 1901: www.census.nationalarchives.ie/search/results.jsp?census_...

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    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Jun/2021 12:07:04

    There are a couple of shots with Smiths Cycle depot, can't find a Smith dealing in cycles in either census.

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    derangedlemur

    • 04/Jun/2021 14:24:36

    There's a Cornelius Smyth, Cycle mechanic in 1911

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 04/Jun/2021 16:52:56

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] I cant believe your admission about the Census!!

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    derangedlemur

    • 04/Jun/2021 16:59:52

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland Bah! I don't see you searching for occupation=bicycle all over the shop!

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 04/Jun/2021 17:12:53

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] fair point!

  • profile

    derangedlemur

    • 04/Jun/2021 17:42:26

    😄

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    suckindeesel

    • 06/Jun/2021 13:39:40

    Lodge on Boat Rd leading to landing stage on south shore of lake Google Earth Link earth.app.goo.gl/1rN4i7 #googleearth

  • profile

    sharon.corbet

    • 09/Jun/2021 19:42:11

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] You don’t need to mess around in the address bar for occupations - you can do it directly in the “more search options” page. However, it may be handy for birthplace or religion, where you can only filter rather than search.

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    jamica1

    • 26/Jun/2021 17:07:18

    Great title