Killaly, John

John Killaly (1766-1832)

John A Killaly, surveyor and canal engineer, was born in Ireland.

In 1794, he joined the Grand Canal Company as an assistant engineer, becoming in 1798 the company's chief engineer. In 1799, Killaly married Alicia Hamilton, a daughter of George Hamilton, the owner of the principal flour mill in Tullamore, Co.Offaly.

The originators of the proposal to make the Grand Canal of Ireland through the great Bog of Allen undertook a task for which there was no precedent. Killaly supervised the construction of a section of the Grand Canal near Edenderry. This was probably the most difficult part of the route of the canal, crossing as it does extensive deep bogs to the west of the 20th lock at Ticknevin. Killaly completed the line of the Grand Canal from Tullamore to the River Shannon at Shannon Harbour in County Offaly, the navigation being officially declared open on 25th October, 1803.

Around 1803, with John Brownrigg, he became an engineer to the Directors-General of Inland Navigation. In 1810, Killaly resigned from the Grand Canal company to devote more time to his professional duties as an engineer to the Directors-General of Inland Navigation. In 1811, he compiled a comprehensive report for the Commissioners on the state of the inland navigations of Ireland and laid down a number of proposals for action. He advised on the Corrib, Lagan, Newry and Suir Navigations, and on the Royal Canal. More specifically, he reported on the Upper Shannon Navigation, the Lough Allen Canal, and the Erne Navigation. Two years later, he turned his attention to Belfast where he made proposals for a dock and short ship canal.

Killaly acted as consulting engineer for the extension of the Grand Canal to Ballinasloe in County Galway, a project which was supervised by his son, Hamilton Hartley, and in 1825 John surveyed a route for the Ulster Canal.

John Killaly was one of the government engineers appointed to carry out road works in the western counties at a period of distress as a means of affording relief by the employment of the peasantry in improving the road communications of the country. His main appointed district was County Clare, with smaller areas of South County Galway and North County Tipperary.

He died at Tullamore on 6th April, 1832.

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