The Grand Canal
This section of the website is devoted to the part of the Grand
Canal from the 12th Lock, Lucan to the River Liffey,
The general navigation information on the Grand Canal can be found
on the main IWAI website
on the Grand Canal:
Peniche Restaurant cruises on the MV RIASC from Mespil Rd.
Tours offer a tour of Dublin in a D.U.K.W., a 2nd world war-vintage amphibious craft.
Each tour lasts around 75 minutes (55 minutes on land and 20 minutes in
Grand Canal Basin).
Dublin-area Navigation Notices
Notice to Boats travelling the Grand Canal through Dublin
MARINE NOTICE No 23 of 2014 (28/02/2014)
BOAT PASSAGE IN / OUT OF DUBLIN
GRAND CANAL 2014
Waterways Ireland wishes to advise masters and owners that boat
passages in or out of Dublin on the Grand Canal Main Line between
Locks 1 & 12 should generally be undertaken as a single movement
in one day.
A minimum of two working days' prior notice of intended travel is
requested to be given to the Waterways Ireland Eastern Regional
Office, to facilitate the necessary staffing assistance
arrangements. To allow time for passage boats will only be
permitted entry before 9:00am at either the Lock 1 or Lock 12
depending on direction of travel. This may be earlier depending
on the number of boats making passage.
Please also ensure you have the following before making passage:
-adequate fuel on board
-competent and adequate crew to operate the boat and locks
(minimum crew of 3)
-a lock key on board your boat
-mooring lines of adequate length to handle vessel through a lock
(approx 15m length)
-no known mechanical problems with your boat
Boats will not be permitted to travel the system if their passage
considered to be unsafe by Waterways Ireland and / or if they do
the appropriate permit.
Relevant Contact Details for Waterways Ireland, Grand Canal,
Waterways Ireland Eastern Regional Office (M-F 9.30am-4.30pm)
Dock Superintendent, Ringsend
Mark Clarke 087-2584713
Lock-keeper, Locks C1 to C7, Circular Line
Stephen Brierley 086-3805657
Lock-keeper, Locks 1 - 6, Main Line
Ray Moore 086-8278025
Lock-keeper, Locks 7 - 11, Main Line
John O'Brien 087-2683723
Lock-keeper, Locks 12 - 13, Main Line
Ray Moore As above
Inspector of Navigation
28 February 2014
Tel: 353 90 6494232
Fax: 353 90 6494147
A Virtual Tour of the City section from the River Liffey to Mespil Road
If approaching from the sea remember to call Dublin Port radio on channel 12 to
inform them of your proposed passage and arrange an opening time with the
lifting Toll Bridge.
If you have made the crossing from the Royal canal above the toll bridge it is
worth taking time to head towards the city and view Liberty Hall, the Financial
Services Centre and the Custom House.
The entrance to the Grand Canal is on the south side of the River Liffey though
the Sea Lock and the upstream Quay with the red block house is the usual mooring
with steps to reach the lock-keepers house.
There are fine views of the Point
Depot, now a concert venue, across the river from the Lock.|
Though the restored main lock
is hydraulically operated the original windlasses can still be seen.
Once through the lock you enter into the calm waters of the Grand Canal Basin.
You can moor to one of these
cheerful fellows on the campshire or proceed to the new pontoons round past the
high rise flats.
The next step is to head for the bridge and through to the upper Basin and
possibly visit the Box in the Docks. This is a Waterways Museum run by Waterways
Ireland and full of interest.
Heading west the canal then passes under the railway into the city leaving the
On then to one of the most beautiful urban sections of the canal as it runs
parallel to the Mespil Road. Here you will often find a Riasc a Restaurant Barge
and may see a passing Garvey
and his passengers.
Once beyond the City the Grand canal reverts to its rural nature and heads
The area surrounding the Basin begins to look more and more like a building
site. This panoramic shot shows only some of the area under development and even
the house on the left in the corner of the Upper Basin has been sold to be
replaced by new buildings.
LUAS Bridges over the Grand
The main supports and beams for the bridge to carry the LUAS line over the Grand
Canal at Charlemont Street are now in place and secondary steelwork is being
fixed. As you will see from the photographs headroom for boats seems unlikely to
be a problem.
(Click to enlarge images)
The LUAS bridge at Suir Road is well on the way to completion. It's beginning to
look a rather elegant structure and is a significant contrast with the existing
bridges. A photograph from under Suir Road bridge is shown on the left with a
closer view on the right.
The Grand Canal Bridges
General MacMahon Bridge is a new fixed bridge opened in 2008, replacing a 1950's steel lifting bridge. Its predecessor was an iron swing bridge built in 1857 which in turn replaced a wooden drawbridge built in the 1790's.
Victoria Bridge carries CIE's southbound services and the DART rapid transit system which runs around Dublin Bay.
From the basin it looks more like a tunnel. It lies at the end of the upper basin beyond the Waterways Visitor Centre.
Maquay Bridge was named after George Maquay a director of the Grand Canal Company in the 1790's.
When the bridge was rebuilt and the road widened the balance beams of the lower gates were removed and winches substituted.
McKenny Bridge carries Lower Mount Street across the canal and was originally called Conyngham Bridge. Thomas McKenny was chairman of the canal board on five occasions and knighted in the 1890's while he was Lord Mayor of Dublin.
Huband Bridge is more ornate than the the other canal bridges because Joseph Huband paid for them himself.
A barrister and director of the company he remained on the board almost continuously until his death in 1835.
Baggot Street Bridge's official name is Macartney Bridge after the John Macartney who was knighted at the opening of Ringsend Docks in 1796. A short distance away is a bronze statue of Patrick Kavanagh, the poet, sitting on a canalside seat.
Leeson Street's Eustace Bridge was named after Colonel Charles Eustace MP another director of the company.
Moorings convenient for visiting the City Centre are provided along this stretch of the canal at Mespil Road.
Charlmont Bridge was called after Charlmont Street which in turn was named after the Earl of Charlmont.
The Earl was the General of the Irish Volunteers and a friend of Henry Gratton.|
This is probably one of the ugliest examples of the consequences of road widening.
Portobello Bridge is also known as La Touch Bridge.
It crosses the canal by the Portobello Hotel which used to be a major staging post in the city where travellers boarded for the trip west.
Clanbrassil Bridge was rebuilt in 1935-36 and renamed Emmet Bridge in honour of Robert Emmet, the leader of the ill fated 1803 rebellion. A bronze commemorating this event is set in stone on the bridge itself.
Parnell Bridge is named after the great-great-grandfather of Charles Stewart Parnell. Sir John Parnell was Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1787 and a director of the company.
Camac Bridge, the bridge at Dolphins Barn, is not named after the nearby river but after another director of the Canal company Turner Camac.
Harberton Bridge carries Herberton Road over the canal. The bridge originally a wooden one was replaced by a concrete structure in 1938.was called after Lord Harberton yet another Director. The road was called after Herberton House which was in fact called after the canal bridge but misspelt!
Griffith Bridge (called after another director) is now cut off from the main road network but until the building of Suir Road Bridge in 1938 carried all the traffic on what was even then a busy road.
A new bridge is in the process of construction to carry the LUAS light railway system into the city. The unusual angle at this point is due to the fact that this was the junction at which the Old Main Line carried straight on to James Street Harbour.
Suir Road Bridge is the point at which the boats on the famous Rally that came by Road were lifted back into the canal on thier way into Dublin for the 1998 Rally.
Dublin County Council has prepared a Plan for the development of
the lands at Clonburris near Clondalkin. The proposed Plan comprises both a
Strategic Development Zone Planning Scheme and a Local Area Plan.
There is a dedicated
Website. What is particularly encouraging is the emphasis on the
Grand Canal as an important amenity. For example, one of the
submissions in the Pre-Plan Consultation Report is
that a new canal quarter is created between the
canal and the railway line by forming a new canal ‘loop’ between the 11th
locks. Others seek to address the
lack of boat activity between the 9th and 12th locks. The master plan
The parks will be complemented by the creation of a
new canal basin in the south-eastern area of the plan area which will
establish as a focus for canal boating activity,
of the proposed Grand Canal Park include "To
enhance the existing character and ecological value of the canal through
selective management and appropriate new landscape interventions. To
strengthen the amenity and function of the Grand Canal as a strategic
east-west link . It is proposed that Southern edge to canal to
be laid out as formal linear path as part of the Green Routes project;
Northern side of canal to retain a more ecological character, to enhance the
quality of the proposed natural Heritage Area; Omer’s Lock house will be
refurbished as a cultural asset set within an appropriate landscape context;
and The Outer Ring Road bridge over the canal provides an opportunity for
innovative public art and lighting, and innovative landscape to the banks of
Grand Canal Basin should "... form a district scale mixed use
public space surrounding a navigable canal basin with associated canal based
activities. To provide the setting for the establishment of a major leisure
or cultural landmark building, and establish this part of Clonburris as a
cultural quarter. To form a key element of the image and legibility of the
urban structure of the Clonburris District. The Canal basin will be
located adjacent to the Grand Canal Park and will connect to a new
neighbourhood public square to the north west to form a key sequence of
urban spaces; The canal basin shall be lined with a mix of speciality
retail, leisure and canal workshop facilities, with adequate space for cafes
and bars to spill out onto the street; The edges of the canal basin shall be
hard landscaped, with wide pavements provided to capture the sunny southern
aspect. A clear reservation of at least 3m shall be provided around the
perimeter of the basin. .... The basin access is between 10th and
The Clonburris website
also features a promotional video.
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