The Barge 76M was built for the Grand Canal Company in 1937 at the Ringsend Dockyard Company in Dublin. She is one of the last Barges built in the M series which stopped at 79M. From records available it appears she was half an inch wider than all earlier barges, at 13 feet 2 inches, in an effort to increase cargo space. Subsequently the last 3 Barges were a further inch wider allowing an extra row of Guinness Kegs to be stored.
In the early 1940's the Barge was worked by the Cross-Family from Robertstown. Other Bargemen who worked her at that time included Tommy Bowers and Jack Connolly from Derrymullen. Towards the end of her working life she seemed to have spent time on the Barrow in the hands of the Bolger Family from Graiguenamanagh. The crew then included Jim, John, Lawlor and Seamus Bolger. At one point in the tenure of the Bolger's it seemed that the Barge might be passed on to Matt Smullen and his father, but this never happened.
The Grand Canal's fate as a transport route was sealed in November 1959 with the announcement from CIE of its withdrawal from trading. It closed to trade on 1 January 1960 and according to Canal Records 76M was the last cargo boat to leave Edenderry Harbour.
The Barge was purchased in the early 1980's by the previous owner Captain Jack Bagnall who very carefully converted her over a 14-year period to a beautiful cruising home. Our Family purchased the Barge in 1997 and have travelled as far as Belleek, Killaloe and Edenderry over those years.
For those technically minded the vital statistics are:
Baker June 2001