Quays & Trade

Evidence of trade around the Lough is indicated by the number of well built stone quays dotted around the shores often in areas which now appear remote.  Most of these pre-date the 1st edition Ordnance Survey maps which were undertaken between the mid 1820’ and 1830’s. The Ordnance Survey Memoirs, which are contemporary with the 1st edition maps, records that the quay at Blackrock, Gortgharn townland (north shore), and those along the shore in Camlin parish (east shore) had gone out of use by the late 1830’s and were only used by the fishermen. Previously these quays saw a vibrant trade as lime, cob, turf, and Coalisland coal were frequently landed. Presumably corn, fish and cloth were being exported by the farmers, fishermen and weavers living in these areas. Who built the quays is unknown but it is estimated that they would have cost £300 in old money.  Quays were also to be found at Milltown, near Maghery, and Ballyronan. The quay at Milltown is c. 0.5 miles to the northwest of a distillery but it is not known if it was constructed for this purpose of industry. (Image: Old quay at Milltown.) (Image: Old quay at Ballyronan.)

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The quay at Ballyronan was built by Messrs Gaussen in 1788. They also built a goods store on the quay, a distillery and a brewery in close proximity. Imports of timber, coal iron and slates from Belfast (via the Lagan Navigation) were procured at Ballyronan and sold at market in Magherfelt and Castledawson. Exports to Belfast and Newry included pork from Magherfelt, spirits and beer, and vast quantities of grain (wheat and oats). In 1836, flax was shipped to Dundee from Ballyronan. At Coalisland finished goods such as pottery and earthenware, spades, lime, cloth and coal were exported via the Coalisland canal while raw goods such as timber, iron and slates were imported. However it was not always goods that were transported. From c. 1820 until 1859 a steamboat service was operated from Kinnegoe to Ballyronan and Newport Trench (the Battery) allowing same day travel to Belfast via the Lagan Canal. (Image: Lady of the Lake steamboat.)