|Cassell's New Penny Magazine 1899|
This map shows the distance between Ireland and Scotland, only 12.5 miles at the narrowest point, and a 'Proposed Land Junction of Great Britain and Ireland'. According to the accompanying article, this was the idea of one J Charles King, who had been promoting it for forty years. He had spent a great deal of his own time and money on surveying the two coastlines from Morecambe to Ayr and Oban, and from Dublin to Ballycastle. He proposed the reclamation of the land at this narrow point, adding nearly a quarter of a million acres to Ireland, stopping the inflow of the Gulf Stream, 'making the Irish Sea an island-studded lake.' Vessels would get in an out of this 'lake' by means of two new sea-level canals through the Cantyre (Kintyre) peninsula, and the existing Crinan Canal, a safer passage than the rocks and strong currents of the existing route.
There are no engineering difficulties. For the labour requisite for the undertaking, if carried out by the Government, the work of convicts could be well utilised here, aided by the labour of break-water builders.
The force of the current is so great here as to be sufficient to supply electric power for the work, and light up those parts of Antrim and Cantyre, the coal there giving subsidiary means of power for working machinery.
For finance - if kept out of the hands of private speculators - Government paper money would pay all costs, to be liquidated from rentals of the reclaimed land, no charge or toll to be levied for passage-way along the Causeway.
With judicious supervision, the work could be completed in three years, the projector, Mr J Charles King, undertaking to give his services free, if entrusted with the work to be done.Simple!
An intriguing notion for anyone with ancestors from Northern Ireland or south-west Scotland (like most of mine), and who moved between those two places (quite a lot of mine).