Taking a gondola to Portobello
Sir, – Frank McNally writes, “A spur line of the Grand Canal used to run through the suburb [of Rialto], to St James’s Gate. It carried Guinness barges, not gondolas” (An Irishman’s Diary, June 23rd).
That was the main line of the canal: the spur was the Circular Line, still extant, leading around the south side of the city to Ringsend. And, if Saunders’s News-Letter (April 23rd, 1795) is to be believed, the canal did carry an “elegant gondola” built “to carry passengers from and to Portobello, to and from the first lock to meet the passage-boats (as lately advertised) and to gratify with a short voyage on the Canal, from Portobello to James’s-Street Harbour, such persons as, having no call of business or pleasure towards the county of Kildare, have not otherwise an opportunity of enjoying that gratification, which latter use of the boat is now making by many persons every fine day.” – Yours, etc,
BRIAN J GOGGIN,
Castleconnell, Co Limerick.