Public Lecture on the History of Bohernabreena Reservoir

The Heritage Society of Engineers Ireland in association with the ICE ROI Branch present:
History of Bohernabreena Reservoirs and their Relevance to Milling on the Dodder and Poddle
by Don McEntee
Monday, 6th March 2017 at 6.30pm

At Engineers Ireland, 22 Clyde Road, Dublin 4

Although little is known of the remote history of the Dodder, some sadly incomplete records survive of mills that worked in the thirteenth century. Considerably more is known about the industrial development of the river and its tributaries that began in the late seventeenth century. Until the late 1800s water, where available, was the preferred power source for most mills and factories.

In the Dodder catchment the Bohernabreena Reservoirs, more properly known as the Glenasmole Reservoirs, were completed in1886 and they had an unique role in water supply to Rathmines and the millers’ compensation water to keep mills working during periods of drought.

In the catchment sources of clear water were used for drinking and the coloured bog water for the compensation supply. In the nineteenth century the technology did not exist to remove colour from bog water. Therefore, the principle of construction adopted at Bohernabreena was the method known as the separation principle.

Don McEntee will describe the events leading up to and including the construction of the reservoirs. A short history of the various types of watermills on the Dodder and Poddle will be given.

Don McEntee, now retired, was a Senior Engineer in the Design Section (water and drainage) of the Engineering Department of Dublin City Council. During his involvement in charge of upgrading of the spillways to the two reservoirs in Bohernabreena he researched the original design of the waterworks with his co-author Michael Corcoran he published a book in 2016 titled The Rivers Dodder & Poddle Mills, Storms, Droughts and The Public Water Supply

For Details please go to:
Or contact Con Kehely:
All Welcome
Admission Free
No booking required
This event will be webcast and can be viewed here:

Today in 1918, and a notorious railcar.

Today in 1918, the Armistice that ended World War 1 was signed by representatives of Germany and the Allied Powers in a railway carriage in the forest of Compiègne in France. It has been a cause of controversy over the years that, although the Armistice was signed at approximately 5.20 in the morning, the war was allowed to continue until 11.00 that day – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – the time chosen to officially end hostilities. During this time there were thousands of needless casualties. The official explanation for the delay was the need to communicate the message to all of the areas in which fighting was taking place.

The railway carriage in which the Armistice was signed had an interesting and chequered history. It was built in 1914 and served as a regular dining car until 1918, after which it was converted to an office for Marshall Ferdinand Foch. After it had been used as the location of the signing the armistice, Foch continued to use it until 1919.


The original preserved railcar in Compiegne Museum


In 1921 it was moved to Paris and exhibited in the Cour des Invalides until 1927, after which it was moved back to a specially built commemorative museum near the Armistice site in Compiegne Forest.


The rail car displayed in Paris












There it remained until 1940. When France surrendered to Germany, in an ultimate act of humiliation for France, Hitler demanded that the carriage be removed from the museum and placed in the same spot as the 1918 Armistice had been signed. On the 21st of June 1940, the preamble of the French Armistice was read out by Generaloberst Wilhelm Keitel and Hitler immediately left the carriage to leave the surrender formalities to his staff – another carefully calculated insult.


Keitel reads the Armistice to the assembled French delegation in the carriage


Three days later, Hitler ordered the site to be destroyed, and the carriage to be removed to Berlin. It was displayed as a War Trophy in the Lustgarten outside the city’s cathedral.


The carriage is paraded under the Brandenburg Gate on the way to the Berliner Dom


The piece of historic rolling stock had a sad end. As the war’s end neared and the bombing of Berlin increased, it was decided to move the carriage to a safe location in Thuringia where it was guarded by Hitler’s elite SS. As the allied invasion of Germany progressed, the SS guards followed their orders and burned the carriage in case it fell into enemy hands. The remains were buried.

After the war, the location at Compiegne was restored, the museum rebuilt and a replica carriage from the same year of manufacture was procured and re-numbered as 2419D – the same number as the original. It was filled with memorabilia and fittings from the original carriage. These had been removed to safety on the outbreak of the Second World War.

The Armistice Clearing in Compiegne was re-dedicated on 11th November, 1950

Tallaght Historical Society Talks 2016/17

Tallaght Historical Society’s Lectures for the 2016/17 season have commenced. All lectures take place at 7:00 p.m. in the County Library, Tallaght, and all are welcome. No booking required.


October 11th – Life after the Twelve Locks by Mick KinehanTaylors Map of Tallaght 1816 showing the many mills in the area

November 8th – Dublin from Old Photographs by Cormac Lowth

November 22nd – The Shape we’re in: the history of the map of Ireland by Michael Keyes

December 13th – Leo Swan Memorial Lecture – Archaeologist Neil Jackman will give a talk on his recent findings at the Hell Fire Club.

Round Tower_small


January 10th – History of the Garda Siochána by Gerry Lovett

February 14th – A History of the GAA by David Griffith

March 14th – Edward Trevor, beast of Kilmainham by Michael Ó Doibhilín

April 11th – If those Trees Could Speak: the Massys of Killakee by Frank Tracy

May 9th – History of Ireland’s Round Towers by John Dolan

May 23rd – The Collection of the Irish Air Corps Museum by Michael Whelan

June 13th – Dublin Housing in the 1800s by Seán Bagnall

The Somme. 1st July 1916

100 years ago today, a week long artillery bombardment of German positions between the French villages of Gommecourt and Montauban (a front of about 18 miles) came to an end.

Nearly two million British artillery shells had been fired at the German lines to crush morale and make it easier to advance towards the enemy positions. The bombardment was also planned to have the effect of destroying barbed wire entanglements in front of the German positions.

At 7.30 in the morning, masses of British soldiers, including many Irishmen, were led by their officers “over the top”, carrying their rifles with fixed bayonets. They were ordered to walk towards the Germans, whose numbers were assumed to have been decimated by the week-long attack.

To their horror, the attacking British troops realised that the Germans were ready and waiting, and the barbed wire was intact. They walked into a hail of machine gun and rifle fire. By the end of the day 19,000 British soldiers lay dead, with  38,000 reported wounded or missing

One of the dead is recorded as being from South Dublin County – Thomas Cleary of Cooldrinagh in Lucan.

27 years old and the son of a farm labourer, he had enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in 1908, and saw service in India. He was sent with his battalion to Gallipoli where he managed to survive the disastrous landings at Cape Helles and the subsequent fighting. He was then sent to France where the Inniskillings were part of the 29th Division at Beaumont Hamel.


Men from the 29th Division advance along the horizon towards the German lines near Beaumont Hamel, 1st July 1916 Photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum


Their objective was the taking of Y Ravine – an old quarry that was being used as a German stronghold. The Division’s approach was abruptly halted by German barbed wire, which had resisted the week-long artillery barrage and was intact.  568 men of the 29th division, including Thomas Cleary, lost their lives in the attack.


Trench map showing Y Ravine in green, British lines in blue and the German trench network in red.


Pte. Cleary is buried in Y Ravine Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel.


Y Ravine Cemetery. It lies within Newfoundland Park, an area containing many preserved trenches including Y Ravine. Photo: David Power


The Battle of the Somme lasted four months in total, only grinding to a halt on the 18th of November 1916 due to bad weather – rain, snow and the constant pounding of artillery had made the area a sea of mud. By its end, the Somme had cost the lives of one million men.


Remnants of British trenches. Newfoundland Park. Photo: David Power




Y Ravine Trench today. After the failed attempt to capture this stronghold on the 1st of July, it was finally captured four months later on the 13th of November 1916. Photo: David Power