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British Industrial History

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Shannon Foundry

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Shannon Foundry of Limerick.

1857 Advert in the Glasgow Herald: Shannon Foundry, Limerick to be sold. Area 5000 sq yds; 140 ft frontage on River Shannon; 1, 2 & 3 storey buildings. Apply to William Burgess & Sons, Shannon Foundry [1]

In 1884 a new Limerick iron foundry was listed in the pages of Bassets Limerick City and County Directory - W. F. McNamara’s Shannon Foundry, Dock Road.103. Firm of Thomas McNamara & Son is listed as plumbers, brass founders and gas fitters, with an address at Nos. 46-47 Thomas Street and at the Shannon Foundry, Dock Road.[2]

In 1885 Shannon Foundry was producing a range of iron products that included labourers’ cottage windows, columns for hay sheds, and farmyard pumps. In addition, the foundry had the machinery capable of carrying out work such as turning, boring and fitting.[3]

1930 Shannon Foundry is the only iron foundry in Limerick at the time. They cast metal work for the new grain silos built by Ranks Flour Mills on the Dock Road and provided iron castings used in the construction of the Cement Factory near Castlemungret.[4]

1938 Expanded site on the Dock Road.[5]

1955 Letterhead dated 1955 shows the proprietor to be W. F. McNamara Ltd, Engineers & Iron founders [6]

The foundry appears to have ceased production c.1984

1984 Operation of the foundry taken over by Dover Engineering Works Ltd., and a new company Shannon Foundry (D.E.W.) Ltd. was formed.

1989 October. Company had finally come to an end when it was voluntarily wound up.

1990 James J O’Donnell General Engineering Works Ltd. purchased the property in 1990 from the liquidator and moved their operation from Ellen Street to the Dock Road location.[7]


Examples of their products can still be found in situ, including manhole covers, grids, hand pumps, and mooring bollards (e.g. by the River Shannon at Ardnacrusha).

  • Note: Original Victorian pump house, and the machinery manufactured by Shannon Foundry, are still preserved in situ at Clareville Water Works.[8]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] Glasgow Herald, 25th September 1857
  2. Limerick Iron Foundries 1806-1989 (Unpublished article) by Patrick McDonnell Nov 2008 – May 2010
  3. Limerick Iron Foundries 1806-1989 (Unpublished article) by Patrick McDonnell Nov 2008 – May 2010
  4. Kemmy, Jim, ‘A Mixture in Cement’ (editorial), Old Limerick Journal, No 26, 1989.
  5. Limerick Official Guide Irish and Overseas Publishing Ltd., Dublin c.1950.
  6. [2] Limerick.ie website
  7. Limerick Iron Foundries 1806-1989 (Unpublished article) by Patrick McDonnell Nov 2008 – May 2010
  8. Limerick Iron Foundries 1806-1989 (Unpublished article) by Patrick McDonnell Nov 2008 – May 2010