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

bohernabreena-walk
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: http://www.engineersireland.ie
Or contact Con Kehely:
con.kehely@nationaltransport.ie
All Welcome
Admission Free
No booking required
This event will be webcast and can be viewed here: http://www.engineersireland.ie/Events/Live.aspx

Bohernabreena Waterworks, then and now

Bohernabreena Waterworks circa 1900

Bohernabreena Waterworks circa 1900

The reservoirs at Bohernabreena were constructed between 1883 and 1887 for the dual purpose of supplying Rathmines with drinking water and of ensuring a constant supply of water to the many mills along the River Dodder. There were, at the time, forty-five mills served by the Dodder, of which fifteen were flour mills. The rest consisted of paper, paint, cardboard, cotton, saw, glue and dye mills, as well as distilleries, breweries, malt houses, foundries, tanneries and a bacon curing factory.

The waterworks consisted of two impounding reservoirs, the upper or clear water reservoir and the lower or mill owners’ compensatory reservoir. The gathering ground consisted partly of bog land which comprised the mountainous area around Castlekelly and stony land free from peat which lay on both sides of the glen. It was from the latter area that clear water was collected into the upper reservoir for drinking purposes. The peaty water off the bogs bypassed the upper reservoir in an artificially constructed channel. At the upper end of the mill owners’ reservoir there was a guage which allowed 1500 cubic feet of water per minute to pass into a pipeline through which it was conveyed into the natural river channel below the dam. The surplus water was diverted into the lower lake where it could be held until it was needed.

Bohernabreena Waterworks 2012

Bohernabreena Waterworks 2012

Today, Bohernabreena Waterworks is still vital to Dublin’s water supply. Water is pumped from here to Ballyboden Treatment Works and it supplies millions of litres to the city every day. The Waterworks are also a popular spot for walkers and are the start of the Dublin Mountains Way. The shores of the reservoirs are clothed in a mixture of trees and shrubs and bird species present in the area include gulls, kingfisher, dipper, grey wagtail, heron and moorhen.

For further information see http://source.southdublinlibraries.ie and http://www.dublinmountains.ie