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Royal Canal

The Royal Canal is a canal built for freight and passenger transportation from the River Liffey in Dublin to Longford in Ireland. The canal fell into disrepair in the late 20th century, but much of the canal has since been restored for navigation; the length of the canal to the River Shannon was reopened on 1 October 2010, but the final spur branch of the canal to Longford Town remains closed. In 1755, Thomas Williams and John Cooley made a survey to find a suitable route for a man-made waterway across north Leinster from Dublin to the Shannon, they planned to use a series of rivers and lakes, including the Boyne, Deel, Yellow and Inny and Lough Derravaragh. A disgruntled director of the Grand Canal Company sought support to build a canal from Dublin to Cloondara, on the Shannon in West County Longford. Work on this massive project commenced in 1790 and lasted 27 years before reaching the Shannon in 1817, at a total cost of £1,421,954. Building was unexpectedly expensive and the project was riven with problems.

The Duke of Leinster, a board member, insisted that the new waterway take in his local town of Maynooth. The builders had to deviate from the planned route and necessitated the construction of a'deep sinking' between Blanchardstown and Clonsilla; the diversion called for the building of the Ryewater Aqueduct, at Leixlip. The original 1796 fare from Dublin to Kilcock was 1/1, much cheaper than the stagecoach; the canal passes through Maynooth, Enfield and Ballymahon has a spur to Longford. The total length of the main navigation is 145 kilometres, the system has 46 locks. There is one main feeder. In 200 years it has been maintained by eight successive agencies: the Royal Canal Company, the Commissioners of Inland Navigation, the New Royal Canal Company, Midland Great Western Railway Company, Great Southern Railways, CIÉ, the Office of Public Works. During the Famine, “the missing 1,490” starving tenants of Denis Mahon in Strokestown House, set out on foot from the estate in May 1847. Major Mahon had offered them the choice of emigration through “assisted passage”, starvation on their blighted potato patch farms or a place in the terrifying local workhouse.

These families weakened by starvation walked for days along the towpaths of the Royal Canal to Dublin, where they were put on boats to Liverpool, from there to Quebec aboard four “coffin ships” – cargo ships loaded with grain from Ireland, unsuitable for passengers. It is estimated, it was the largest single disposal of inconvenient tenants during the Famine. Major Mahon was shot dead that November after news had got back to Roscommon about the fate of his former tenants. An annual walk on the canal banks commemorates the events. By the 1830s the canal carried 40,000 passengers a year. In 1843, while walking with his wife along the Royal Canal, Sir William Rowan Hamilton realised the formula for quaternions and carved his initial thoughts into a stone on the Broom Bridge over the canal; the annual Hamilton Walk commemorates this event. In 1845 the canal was bought by the Midland Great Western Railway Company, they considered draining the canal and building a new railway along its bed but decided instead to build the railway beside the canal.

The two run side by side from Dublin to Mullingar. Competition from the railways eroded the canal's business and by the 1880s annual tonnage was down to about 30,000 and the passenger traffic had all but disappeared, it had a brief resurgence during World War II, when barges returned to the canal. CIÉ took over the canal in 1944; as rail and road traffic increased, the canal fell into disuse. In 1974, volunteers from the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland formed the Royal Canal Amenity Group to save the canal. By 1990 they had 74 kilometres of canal, from the 12th lock in Blanchardstown to Mullingar, open again for navigation. In 2000, the canal was taken over by Waterways Ireland, a cross-border body charged with administering Ireland's inland navigations. On 1 October 2010, the whole length of the canal was formally reopened; the Royal Canal was planned to terminate in Dublin at Broadstone, to serve the fashionable area of residence, as well as King's Inns and the nearby markets, but it was extended so that now, at the Dublin end, the canal reaches the Liffey through a wide sequence of dock and locks at Spencer Dock, with a final sea lock to manage access to the river and sea.

The Dublin – Mullingar railway line was built alongside the canal for much of its length. The meandering route of the canal resulted in many speed-limiting curves on the railway; the canal was bought by the Midland Great Western Railway to provide a route to the West of Ireland, the original plan being to close the canal and build the railway along its bed. The canal travels across one of the major junctions on the M50/N3 in a specially constructed aqueduct. Today Waterways Ireland is responsible for the canal, it was under their stewardship, in association with the Royal Canal Amenity Group, that the Royal Canal was reopened from Dublin to the Shannon on 2 October 2010. Access points exist near Leixlip and at Maynooth, Thomastown, Ballinea Bridge and Ballynacargy. In 2006, a commemoration marker was erected at Piper's Boreen, Mullingar, to mark the 200 years since the canal reached Mullingar in 1806; the Royal Canal Way is a 144-kilometre long-distance trail that follows the towpath of the canal from Ashtown, Dublin to Cloondara, County Longford.

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Sheriff officer

A sheriff officer is an officer of the Scottish sheriff court, responsible for serving documents and enforcing court orders. The jurisdiction of a sheriff officer is limited to the area of their commission, unlike messengers-at-arms. Both messengers-at-arms and sheriff officers are employed by private businesses and charge fees that are set by Act of Sederunt. Sheriff officers have been under the control of the local Sheriff for centuries; the office of sheriff officer is thought to be one of the oldest in the Scottish legal system, may derive from the pre-feudal office of mair. Section 60 of the Bankruptcy and Diligence etc. Act 2007 would have abolished the offices of messenger-at-arms and sheriff officer and replaced them by a new office of "judicial officer". Judicial officers would have held a commission from the Lord President of the Court of Session under section 57 of the Act, granted on the recommendation of a Scottish Civil Enforcement Commission. However, on 30 January 2008 the Scottish Government announced as part of a package of public service reform that the Scottish Civil Enforcement Commission would not be established and that its functions would be discharged by existing organisations.

The provisions of the 2007 Act were not brought into force, are to be repealed by the Public Services Reform Act 2010. In November 2010, the Scottish Government issued a consultation on the designation of a professional organisation for officers of court. Society of messengers-at-arms and sheriff officers I blocked a bailiff - and paid the price Bankruptcy and Diligence etc. Act 2007

Roscoea purpurea

Roscoea purpurea is a perennial herbaceous plant occurring in the Himalayas Nepal. Most members of the ginger family, to which it belongs, are tropical, but species of Roscoea grow in much colder mountainous regions, it is sometimes grown as an ornamental plant in gardens. Roscoea purpurea is a perennial herbaceous plant. Like all members of the genus Roscoea, it dies back each year to a short vertical rhizome, to which are attached the tuberous roots; when growth begins again, "pseudostems" are produced: structures which resemble stems but are formed from the wrapped bases of its leaves. R. purpurea can grow to over 50 cm tall, with wide leaves and a stout pseudostem, although the height varies. The leaf sheaths are pale green or may have a dark reddish-purple tinge; the stem of the flower spike is hidden by the leaf sheaths. The flowers are the largest of any species in the genus, they are purple to mauve in colour, although white- and red-flowered forms have been found in Nepal. Each flower has the typical structure for Roscoea.

There is a tube-shaped outer calyx. Next the three petals form a tube longer than the calyx, terminating in three lobes, an upright hooded central lobe and two smaller side lobes. Inside the petals are structures formed from four sterile stamens: two lateral staminodes form what appear to be small upright petals. Roscoea purpurea was named by the English botanist James Edward Smith in 1806; the generic name honours the founder of the Liverpool Botanic Garden. The specific epithet refers to the colour of the flowers; the Zingiberaceae family is tropical in distribution. The unusual mountainous distribution of Roscoea may have evolved recently and be a response to the uplift taking place in the region in the last 50 million years or so due to the collision of the Indian and Asian tectonic plates. Species of Roscoea divide into a Himalayan clade and a "Chinese" clade; the two clades correspond to a geographical separation, their main distributions being divided by the Brahmaputra River as it flows south at the end of the Himalayan mountain chain.

It has been suggested that the genus may have originated in this area and spread westwards along the Himalayas and eastwards into the mountains of China and its southern neighbours. R. purpurea falls into the Himalayan clade. Roscoea purpurea is native to the Himalayas, in particular Nepal, it occurs in a range of habitats, both dry. It has been found in alpine grassland, rock faces, terraced walls and woodland edges. Roscoea purpurea is pollinated by the long tongue fly, an obligate pollinator for R. purpurea. Philoliche longirostris is the only species of long-tongued fly distributed in the Himalayas and has the longest proboscis among all members of the Tabanidae; the seasonal prevalence of this fly synchronizes with the peak blooming period of R. purpurea. Pollen transfer occurs when a fly pushes against the staminal appendages that extend from the base of the stamen at the entrance of the corolla tube; this action causes the style and stigma to descend and touch the fly's back. Jill Cowley notes that "for many years" a different species, R. auriculata, was grown in gardens under the name R. purpurea.

She provides a number of distinguishing features, which include the auriculate nature of the leaves of R. auriculata, the bright purple colour of its flowers rather than the paler colours of typical R. purpurea, the shorter white lateral staminodes of R. auriculata, the latter's deflexed labellum. R. Purpurea like other Roscoea species and cultivars, is grown in rock gardens. Plants require a sunny position with moisture-retaining but well-drained soil; as they do not appear above ground until late spring or early summer, they escape frost damage in regions where subzero temperatures occur. When grown at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, R. purpurea emerges from the ground only in June, flowering from late July to early September. It requires shade for part of the day. R. Purpurea was included in a trial of Roscoea held by the Royal Horticultural Society from 2009 to 2011, it proved hardy. One form and three cultivars were given the Award of Garden Merit: R. purpurea f. rubra – red-orange flowers R. purpurea'Dalai Lama' – flowers have pale violet labellums with deeper violet throats with white markings.

A red-flowered form found in Nepal was named R. purpurea'Red Gurkha'. However, plants in cultivation vary in the colour of the leaf sheaths, which may be plain green or marked with red, so that the RHS considered that a form name was more appropriate, the AGM was given to R. purpurea f. rubra. Red is a flower colour not otherwise found in the genus. For propagation, see Roscoea: Cultivation; some cultivars Cowley, Jill & Baker, William, "247. Roscoea purpurea'Red Gurkha'", Curtis's Botanical Magazine, 11: 104–109, doi:10.1111/j.1467-8748.1994.tb00419.x Cowley