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08 Oct 2022

Suir towpath stone artefact found by Carrick-on-Suir fisherman is to be donated to local museum

Suir towpath stone artifact found by Carrick-on-Suir fisherman is to be donated to local museum

Photo caption: Ralph O’Callaghan pictured on the quay in Carrick-on-Suir with the towpath hauling stone he found at Cur na Brathair Weir in the river near thea Friar’s Rock. In the background is the fire he and other local fishermen lit on Kenny’s Rock in the Suir when it was visible at low tide on September 1 during the recent dry spell. Picture: Anne Marie Magorrian

A stone that played a vital role in the Suir’s commercial past when cargo barges were towed along it by horse was found in a weir near Carrick-on-Suir by a fisherman, who plans to donate it to a local museum.

Ralph O’Callaghan discovered the hauling stone at Cur na Brathair Weir on the south shore of the River Suir near Friar’s Rock last month.

He said the hauling stone was used to help check or slow down a cargo barge being towed by horse along the river towpath.

There are indent marks etched into the stone by the pulling of barge ropes along it for generations. It would have originally been situated along the river towpath between Carrick and Clonmel that is now the Suir Blueway.

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Ralph, who lives close to the river at Churchtown, Carrick-on-Suir, said he found the stone in the river while pulling out weeds from the weir. Similar hauling stones can still be seen along the Blueway at Churchtown and in Clonmel.

“This one just due to some mishap ended up in the river.

“I was thrilled to find the stone, especially during Heritage Week. How many horses and barges went through the stone over the years,” he wondered.

The transport of cargo by horse-pulled barge between Carrick and Clonmel began in the mid-18th century and continued until the 1920s.

Phil Hennessy and Dan Callaghan were the last to tow a river barge along the towpath between Carrick-on-Suir and Clonmel in 1927.

Ralph said he plans to donate the hauling stone to either Carrick-on-Suir Heritage Centre or the Tipperary Museum of Hidden History in Clonmel.

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