Waterways Ireland | The 45M

The 45M

​Discover the story of the 45M through our Oral History Collection

On Sunday morning December 1st, 45M travelled down the lake from Portumna heading for Killaloe. Opposite Parkers Point 45M was struck by a gale that passed over the lake. The high winds caused the cargo to shift. The tow rope, connected to the St. James snapped as large waves swept across the deck and the barge heeled over and sank. When she went down “Red” Ned Boland, Jack Boland and Jimmy McGrath (who was Webbing) all died. Tony Brien swam to safety and was the only survivor. 45M lay at rest for the next 29 years at the bottom of Lough Derg.

In 1975 after buying it from CIE for £20 Donnacha Kennedy salvaged 45M from where she rested in 80ft of water. When she was brought up from the bottom the general condition of the hull was beyond their dreams as a thin crust of lime formed over everything and when that was knocked off the original paint showed underneath.

Over the years the 45M has touched many lives, you can hear about these stories first hand by listening to the clippings below. 

1. Jim Gill

Jim Gill is a former River Barrow bargeman from Graiguenamanagh who worked on the boats from the age of 17

  • Recording  - Jim recalled a ceremony on Lough Derg in 1992 for 45M

2. Donnacha Kennedy

Donnacha Kennedy bought the 45M in 1975 and spent 3 months on the rescue operation. There is more information available on the Heritage Boat Association website here.

  • Recording 1- Donnacha explains how he used electronic equipment to locate the 45M in 1974
  • Recording 2-  Donnacha outlines some of the practical issues involved in raising the 45M

3. Christy Bolger

A former River Barrow bargeman Christy worked on the canal boats under the Grand Company and Coras Iompar Éireann (CIÉ)

  • Recording - Christy recalls being on Lough Derg during a storm close to where 45M went down in 1946
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