2009 is the 200 year anniversary of the setting up of the Commission for the Bogs of Ireland. The Commission was arguably the first attempt by the government of the United Kingdom after the Union to address the infrastructural deficit of Ireland. The Commission brought to Ireland Alexander Nimmo, friend of Thomas Telford and until then rector of Inverness Academy. Nimmo spent the rest of his life in his adopted country. His influence on it was profound, not only in the civil engineering structures he left behind, but in his seminal role in the emergence of the Irish Ordnance Survey, the Office of Public Works, the Hydrographic Survey of Ireland and the Fisheries Commission.
This is the first book to tell the life story of this unique and important character and his role in events in early nineteenth century Ireland. It gives new insights into events and persons of the time never previously covered and questions some long-held beliefs regarding them and the pre-famine period. Based on four years of research in archives and libraries all over Ireland and Britain, it reveals and explains for the first time, the motivation and full range of his activities in Ireland and Britain.
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgements
Foreword by Peter B. Heffernan
1. A Young Man of Considerable Genius and Erudition
2. The Inverness Perambulation and the Edinburgh Encyclopedia
3. The Bogs Commission, 1809-1813
4. A Kerry Apprenticeship
5. First Foray into Connemara
6. Major Harbour Engineering: Dunmore and Cork Harbours
7. Grand Juries, Nimmo and the Emergence of the Ordnanace Survey of Ireland
8. A Labyrinth of Legislation: Famine, Relief Work and the Emergence of the Office of Public Works
9. The Fisheries Commission and Nimmo’s Coastal Survey
10. Master of all he Surveyed? Nimmo in Connaught
11. Nimmo’s Irish Bridges
12. Private Commissions in Ireland
13. The Wallasey Pool Plan and other Works in Britain
14. Making the Way Permanent: Nimmo and Railways
15. A Most Humane and Cultivated Man
Appendix 1. A Gazetteer of Nimmo’s Piers and Harbours.
Appendix 2. A Listing of Nimmo’s Reports, Maps, Plans and Writings and their Locations.
Appendix 3. Account of all the structural works, and their state of completion, carried on by Nimmo in the western district as listed by him in June 1830.
Appendix 4. Statement of the Commissioners for Auditing the Public Accounts in Ireland regarding the Accounts of Alexander Nimmo.
Sources and Select Bibliography
About the Author
Noël P. Wilkins is Professor of Zoology at the National University of Ireland, Galway.