IWAI - Dublin Branch - News & Past Events, 1964 - 2008

Dublin Waterways News and Dublin Branch news - click here for the full calendar of events

Click here for current News

2008 Submissions

The Dublin Branch of IWAI has made submissions in respect of ...

Copies are available to members - please contact the branch committee.


The Dublin Branch of IWAI endorses and supports the ambitions of Docksports. The vision outlined at www.docksports.org is to provide young people with an outlet in the city for water-based recreation.  They point out that ...

... the waters of the Docklands [are] the largest area of public space in the city. Despite being the largest areas of public space they are amongst the most vacant and underutilised spaces we have. For most of us the waters of the Docklands are pleasant places to walk or sit beside but very few of us ever get the opportunity to step off the quay wall.  Docklands Water Sports would provide young people with an exceptional new outlet for outdoor adventure recreation and adults with a fantastic new way of relaxing and socializing in the city.  By putting boats on the water we will provide thousands of people who live and work in the area with the chance to take up sports like sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and rowing.

A formal proposal can be found on their website.

Recent Talks organised by Dublin Branch of IWAI - 2008

The ARC experience - speaker Dave McCabe

On May 20th, Dave McCabe gave a fantastic presentation on his trans Atlantic sail across the ocean with the ARC 2007.  His presentation included photos, diagrams and video from the trip across the Atlantic. It was highly entertaining as well as informative. Very interesting to hear some of the important details and practicalities of preparing for and then undertaking an Atlantic crossing. A most enjoyable evening was had by all. The presentation was hosted by the IWAI Dublin Branch in Poolbeg YC.

Architectural Walk & Talk - speaker Paul Quilligan

On May 13th, 25 or so people participated in a very interesting architectural walk traversing the Liffey Bridges from Heuston Station and ending up at the Ocean Bar @ Grand Canal Basin. Our thanks to Paul, who led the walk and informed us of the fascinating history behind many of the buildings and bridges we pass every day without a second glance.  You can find and download a podcast of this talk here.

The "Lough Derg Branch of IWAI's cruise from Killaloe, Lough Derg to Dingle/An Daingean/Daingean Uí Chúis (and back)"  - speaker Noel Griffin

On March 10th, Noel Griffin entertained a large group gathered at Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club with a fascinating and beautifully illustrated talk on the trip.  The Dingle cruise is documented here and here ..  While naturally Noel focused on the wonderful time that people had and covered the planning and organising of the trip, the audience were enthralled and horrified in equal measure at the speed of the fire on Regina IV. The talk was much appreciated.  Noel also covered this somewhat serendipitous trip from Killaloe to Dún Laoghaire and back - this trip is documented here.

The Bridges of the River Liffey - speaker Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips is Dublin City Engineer and Director of Traffic. He has a special interest in bridge design and construction and were privileged to hear the story of Dublin's Liffey bridges from him.  The talk was much appreciated by the 20 or so members in attendance on October 20th and a lively Q&A session followed the very well illustrated presentation.  For further reading see Project history of Dublin’s River Liffey bridges , a paper by Michael Phillips and A. Hamilton from the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Bridge Engineering 156, December 2003.

The Green Fuel Enhancer

Also on October 20th, Tom Byrne presented the "Green Fuel Enhancer" (GFE), a gadget that improves fuel combustion   The GFE reduces emissions by improving fuel combustion. The unit, developed by E. Fox (Engineers) Ltd. is passive and un-powered and has a lifetime in excess of 20 years.  It is inserted into the fuel line between the fuel filter and fuel injector pump/carburettor.  Dublin Branch committee member Mick Kinahan reported very positive results form his own trial of the device on his 4WD.  More information here.

Rally Photo Gallery

Dublin Rally 2008 report

Overall, this year's rally was a great success - we had 19 large boats in all.  There was a nice mix of events both on and off the water.  We had the usual plethora of mishaps on the way into and out of Dublin, but only of a mechanical nature.  The divers were needed a few times to clear rubbish off props. 

On May 17th we had an early start to the morning.  First lock down from the Grand Canal Dock into the Liffey was scheduled for 07:00 followed by 2 more to cater for the 12 out of 19 Rally members.  A colourful flotilla comprising cruisers, barges both broad and narrow, displaying Budweiser bunting headed up the Liffey to the oasis of peace and tranquillity that is Islandbridge weir.  The main Rally was accompanied by members of the Small Boat Rally comprising 6 boats which launched in the Basin and the Poolbeg Yacht Club slip. 

The BBQ was held at Poolbeg Yacht Club with steaks prepared, cooked and presented as to your desired taste by Gersha & Mick despite the cold easterly. The Budweiser reps were in attendance and promoting their products FOC to the Rally members. A very good end to a very successful day.

Our first small boat on the Liffey above Islandbridge weir was also a success with ~7 boats participating - see the photos on our Rally Gallery.

Both talks were a great success - our thanks to Paul Quilligan and Dave McCabe - a brief synopsis of the talks is below.

Finally, the branch Endeavour trophy was awarded to Jim Gorman and the crew of "Jomani" from Carrick-on-Shannon.

The Royal

Dublin branch is pleased to learn of WI’s intention to open the Royal canal in 2009.  However, it should be noted that the official launch/re-opening of the Canal is scheduled to be held in Richmond Harbour, mid summer, and access/transit to the venue via Spencer Dock is subject to ongoing works.  We would like to be able to welcome boats from both canals to our 2009 Rally but we’ll see how the difficulties at the Dublin end are resolved - we understand that access may not be permitted or possible at the Dublin end until 2010.

The new sea locks at Spencer Dock are shown in situ 16/08/08 - more information here.

above - work in progress ...

the new bridge and tower

MacMahon Bridge replacement

On 19/04/05, Dublin City Council issued a tender notice to  "Removal of an existing steel single leaf bascule of the scherzer type lifting bridge and replacement with a fixed bridge at Grand Canal Dock, Pearse Street/Ringsend Road, Dublin 2."  Although nominally a lifting bridge, it has been welded shut for quite a while.  It is believed that one of the drivers for a fixed bridge are the (new) residents complaints about noise of the old lifting bridge.

Update: the new bridge was completed in September 2007 at a cost of €4m.  The 2007 MacMahon Bridge consists of a cantilevered structure over existing Quay Walls, for the full 90-metre length of causeway in order to provide adequate width for two traffic lanes and two bus lanes.  Headroom has been improved for boats.

The bridge was formally opened on May 30th, 2008. 

"The 2007 MacMahon bridge is the 5th bridge to be constructed over the Grand Canal Dock at this site.  Early records indicate that a wooden bascule bridge, the Brunswick Bascule, was constructed at the site in 1791 and was replaced in 1857 by the Victoria Bridge.  A new one with the same name in the early 1900s then replaced this bridge.  The 4th bridge opened in 1963 was named MacMahon Bridge after General Seán MacMahon who fought with Eamon deValera at Bolands Mills in 1916 and later became Chief of Staff of the Irish Army.  President Eamon deValera unveiled the original plaque on the bridge in 1963. This plaque has been refurbished and reinstalled on the bridge. 

Wrecks removed from Grand Canal Dock (March '08)

Marine Notice # 9 of 2008 from Waterways Ireland advised that "a salvage diving contractor will be operating in Grand Canal Dock, Ringsend for a period of 2 weeks from March 18th in order to remove a number of wrecks from the dock."  We've a few photos of the procedings.

Dublin Branch AGM, Talk and Boat Launch (08 Dec '07)

(more information on L.E. Dubhlinn here)

On a day that usually heralds the arrival of our rural cousins to the "Big Smoke", the faithful gathered at Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club for a combined end-of-year event.  The day started with a fascinating, informative and exceptionally well illustrated talk by Waterways Ireland Eastern Regional Manager, John McKeown on the restoration of the Royal Canal.  More details below

The Annual General Meeting of the Dublin Branch of IWAI followed.  The agenda was as published.  The report of the year can be summarised as per the "Dublin Dribbles" that appeared in the Winter edition of IWN.  A new committee was elected, all unopposed. We ended the AGM on a sad and happy note.  We remembered past members, particularly 2007 committee member Brian Dwyer whose death occurred in the week preceding the AGM and we looked forward to realising some of his enthusiasm through the launch of the latest Branch Boat.

The early morning news on the 8th December 2007 highlighted gale-force winds and extensive flooding throughout the country - not an ideal day on which to launch a boat!  Safety concerns and common sense dictated that she be "launched" where she sat on her trailer.  Following a quick bowl of hot soup (with thanks to Peter Johnson), the esteemed Ruth Delany ably assisted by branch chair, Gerry O'Hara performed the launching ceremony and our shiny blue boat became the L.E. Dubhlinn and a little bit less shiny!.  The boat was then blessed by Fr. Derek Harris who reminded us that familiarity and complacency is the enemy of all sailors whether on the ocean or the calmer waters of the Grand Canal. 
(more information on L.E. Dubhlinn here)

Work starts at Spencer Dock (Nov 2007)

In November 2007, work has finally begun on the flood defences for Spencer Dock, with work due to start on the restoring the actual sea lock shortly.  Work has also begun on re-excavating Spencer Dock to its original dimensions.

The picture at right (taken 10/02/08) shows where a section of the channel just north of the Scherzer bridges on the quay has been cut away to allow for placement of the swing locks. The beautifully curved stonework of the channel is also apparent from the photo

Background can be found here - more photos here

Samuel Beckett Bridge (formerly Macken St. Bridge)

Dublin Corporation commissioned Santiago Calatrava Valla, the world's leading bridge designer, to design a new Liffey crossing at Macken Street - halfway between the Matt Talbot bridge and the East Link bridge. The brief called for a landmark structure of unmistakable modernity and with a unique character that would provide a symbol at the maritime gateway of Dublin, similar to the manner in which the Ha'penny Bridge has become an icon for the city.  

The bridge is cable stayed with a curved inclined steel pylon. The bridge shall be capable of opening by way of a rotation mechanism housed in the base of the pylon.
(From June 2007)The Samuel Beckett Bridge (Macken St bridge) will be constructed by Graham Hollandia Joint Venture. The total cost of the project is estimated at ?47 million, which will also include a major upgrade of the approach roads. The bridge will have four traffic lanes with cycle tracks and footpaths on either side of the bridge, while being capable of opening to accommodate maritime traffic. The bridge is expected to be completed by 2009.Preparatory work has started on what will become the Samuel Beckett bridge - the photo at right was taken November 2007.  The bridge was designed by Santiago Calatrava Valla, who also designed the James Joyce bridge opened in 2003.  It is being constructed by Graham Hollandia Joint Venture with costs estimated at €47 million, which also includes a major upgrade of the approach roads. The bridge will have four traffic lanes with cycle tracks and footpaths on either side of the bridge, while being capable of swinging open to accommodate maritime traffic. The bridge is expected to be completed by 2009. 

The picture below shows the pivot in situ, March 2009.

See photographs of the bridge being built in Holland at on archiseek.
See the Dublin Port Marine Notice with Map

This bridge is generally referred to as the Macken St. bridge.  However, it no longer connects to Macken St./Cardiff Lane.  Compare the original proposal below with what's being constructed (below that again). 

( Original proposal, from Docklands North Lotts Area Planning Scheme, Transportation Part 2)

Current plan (from here) is shown below which does not link Macken St. to Guild St. 

Another bridge for pedestrians and cyclists further downstream is also proposed (Forbes St. Bridge), And a public transport bridge is proposed to cross the mouth of the Dodder river/entrance to the Grand Canal Docks.

The Cill Airne granted 7-day license (22nd Nov. 2007)

The Cill Airne, moored on the North Wall in front of the Irish Rail offices (the former London & North Western Hotel), was granted a seven-day license on 21/11/07 to trade as a pub & restaurant according to a report in the Irish Times.  According to the DDDA website, the ship houses two new restaurants, Quay 16 and Blue River Bistro. The Blue River Bistro offers casual dining with a capacity of 120. In the New Year, Quay 16, which is located below deck, will offer fine dining for up to 60 guests.  The ship was the second last ship to be built at the Liffey Dockyards in 1962.  She one of the very last riveted ships to be built in Europe and is 150ft long, 40ft beam.  The ship was bought back in September 2005 for €40,000 from the Cork Institute of Technology where she had been used as a training vessel. Prior to that, she had spent time as a tender vessel fro the White Star Line, bringing passengers out to waiting liners such as the QE2 until 1970  An estimated €4m has been spent on refurbishment of the vessel. She arrived on the North Wall in May 2007 following refurbishment at Hegarty's Boatyard Oldcourt in 2006, and the DDDA granted the vessel a 10-year berth license in June '07.  She currently is engineless.  More reading here, photos here,

Sad Farewell to Leisureways (Nov '07)

We're sad to see the closure of Leisureways. Leisureways started hiring boats at Thomastown Harbour in 1997 when their first barge "Kingfisher" was launched with a navigation of 80 kms long from Dublin to Mullingar. By 2001 they had grown to a fleet of 6 barges and the navigation had grown to over 110 kms.  Its sad to see the largest rental company on the Royal close just as the completion of the restoration is finally in sight.  Derek Whelan's barges were a familiar sight on the Royal and of course on the Dublin Rallies until the closure of the canal at Spencer Dock in 2004.  We wish Derek well and look forward to his continued involvement with the Dublin Branch of IWAI.

New Liffey Ferry (Oct '07)

And its back to the future on Dublin's waterways - 20 years after the last cross-river ferry ceased operating, October saw the launch of the Liffey Ferry which takes passengers across the Liffey from Sir John Rogerson’s Quay to North Wall Quay fro the not unreasonable charge of €2. (see www.liffeyferry.com) - attached photo is by Tom Nolan.

Recent Talks organised by Dublin IWAI in 2007

All events were held at at Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club and we thank them most sincerely for their hospitality.

"The Restoration of the Royal Canal" - speaker John McKeown, Waterways Ireland Eastern Regional Manager.

The 6th and final talk of 2007 was held just prior to the 2007 AGM on December 8th.   This was a  fascinating, informative and exceptionally well illustrated talk on the restoration of the Royal Canal.  John covered work done in the '80s and '90s and of course the work currently in progress at both eastern and western ends.  Naturally the question on everyone's minds and lips was "when will the Royal be fully open for navigation?"  Between the jigs and the reels, a date of 2nd quarter 2009 was postulated.  John also had some interesting observations vis-à-vis live-aboards.  We thank John for making the time and effort to prepare and present the information to us in a very enthusiastic and engaging manner.

"The Trams of Dublin" - speaker Michael Corcoran

This 5th talk of the year was held on Thursday October 18th.  Mr. Corcoran is a well known and respected historian. He is a founder member of the Howth Transport Museum and the foremost expert on the Dublin Trams and systems.  See www.nationaltransportmuseum.org  for more information.

"Lough Ree in Detail" - speaker Dave McCabe

May 17th saw ~45 members hear a very informative illustrated talk by Dave McCabe on the hidden joys to be found on Lough Ree.  Dave is the man who, in a moment of madness in early 2004, decided to undertake a private electronic charting project of the Shannon - these charts is now available on www.shannoncharts.com.

Dave presented some of the history of the lake and highlighted some islands with particularly interesting histories and structures of archaeological interest.  This talk was aimed squarely at boaters and Dave presented a number of hidden treasures and quiet corners to be found on the lake, pointing out the best approaches, suitability for anchoring and hidden dangers.  The talk was very well received by an appreciative audience.

Dave's presentation can be downloaded at www.shannoncharts.com

"History of Dublin's water and drainage and the canals and basins" - speaker Michael Corcoran

This 3rd and most recent talk of the year was held on Thursday April 26th.  Michael gave us a truely wonderful insight into the ins and outs of Dublin's water system.  Michael covered the mains supplies, the drainage system and sewage systems.  The use of the canals for supplying water to the city was also covered.  Michael was still there an hour after he'd finished the formal talk, answering questions from a small but very attentive audience.  Copies of his book "Our Good Health - a history and drainage" sold out on the night.

"The Northabout Expedition" - speaker Paddy Barry

March 22nd saw our 2nd talk, given by Paddy Barry who outlined the incredible experience of the Northabout Expedition.  This group travelled from Clew Bay to Greenland, taking the Northwest passage to Alaska, then over another two years, completing the journey via Siberia, Norway and home. Paddy's presentation was both entertaining and very informative and illustrated by some fantastic photography. The evening concluded with a presentation by the Poolbeg Commodore, Tom McCann, to Paddy of a beautiful ship's decanter and an Honorary life Membership of the Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club in recognition of his achievements. This was a truly superb talk and enjoyed by all. We also learned that Northabout was the first boat to circumnavigate the earth from East to West following this route. Full information on the Northwest passage is found here, while the Northeast phase is covered here.  One of our members expressed our feelings on the night very well by email when he wrote: "The venue is terrific and the presentation was one of the best and most enjoyable I have attended for many a year. A truly great adventure and I could have listened to Paddy Barry all night. And to quote that great adventurer may we always be fortunate to have the company of those of 'robust conviviality'". 

"Restoration activities on the Boyne Navigation"

February 22nd saw a very informative, passionate and very well illustrated talk presented by Tommy McLoughlin and Derek Whelan.  Topics covered included the history of the Boyne Navigation, earlier attempts to restore the navigation,  recent initiatives. progress and plans.  You can read more on the Boyne Navigation Branch Website.

New Liffey Book (Oct '07)

Members of Dublin Branch of IWAI were invited to a Book Launch & Exhibition of Paintings to celebrate the launch of Dick Warner and Rosemary Burns's new book "The Liffey - portrait of a river" and to view Rosemary's original paintings from the book at: The Long Room, Custom House, Custom House Quay, Dublin 1

Clonburris scheme - closing date for submissions 15/10/07

South 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 and 12th locks.  Others seek to address the lack of boat activity between the 9th and 12th locks.  The master plan indicates that 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,

Objectives 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 the bridge.

The 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 11th locks.

The Clonburris website also features a promotional video - for details on the basin area download this 20MB document

The Vikings are back! (Aug '07)

Tuesday 14th August 2007 saw the arrival of the Viking longship  Sea Stallion from Glendalough (Havhingsten fra Glendalough) to Dublin.  Lots of people lined the quaysides and official boats led by the Irish Naval Service and Dublin Port tugs led the flotilla of welcome. The Bells of Christ Church Cathedral and other churches rang in welcome and the ships horns of visiting ships in the Port joined the fanfare.  The Sea Stallion is on display at the National Museum, Collins Barracks until the end of May 2008.  More information here and here

Click for larger version2007 Dublin Rally, 12th-20th May &
River Liffey Small Boat Rally - Sat. 19th May 2007

This year's rally has passed with a disappointing number of boats turning up - we had just three from the Grand Canal (the Royal being closed at Spencer Dock).  We had 8 boats on the small boat rally on Saturday 19th.  Our thanks to Waterways Ireland who shepherded our small flotilla into the city.
See photos from the Rally or

The 2007 Rally timetable is here

Reports from many previous rallies are here

New Luas Bridge Design unveiled for the Royal - (2 April '07)

The Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority appointed London based architects, Future Systems and Arup Engineers to design the bridge. The resulting structure is almost as wide as it is long to accommodate the Luas tram lines and traffic lanes. It broadens and dips down in the middle with curved walkways and cycle paths on either side to take pedestrians and cyclists close to the water. Specially designed lighting will emphasise its unusual, floating structural quality.  Architect Amanda Levete describes the Luas Bridge as “incredibly slender, soft and languid. It curves up at the edges like a manta ray. We wanted it appear as a piece of land art that relates to the park”.  Headroom should be 3m with the Basin operating at 1.6m OD Malin although final level is stated to be 1.99m giving a headroom of 2.7m.  Press release is here.

Introduction to Canal Locks

Dublin Branch held our very popular workshop on how to operate canal locks. This workshop took place on Sunday 23rd April, 2006 at the Twelfth Lock on the Royal Canal at Blanchardstown, with two sessions, one at 11 a.m. and one at 2.30 p.m.
Derek Whelan of Leisureways kindly lent us a barge for demonstrations.

2005 AGM

The minutes of the AGM that took place in the Poolbeg Yacht Boat Club & Marina on 8th December 2005 are available here.

Royal Canal to get new marina

A large development on the Royal Canal, Royal Canal Park, includes a "narrowboat marina".  We welcome this.  The entire Royal Canal Park scheme will eventually have >1,200 residential units.  Royal Canal Park is four miles north of the city centre and is bordered by the Tolka river and the Royal Canal.  Click here to see a google map

Royal Canal Linear Park - winning design selected 22 Nov. 2005

In March 2005, The Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) organised a landscape design competition (promoted by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority) for a one kilometre linear public park on the banks of the Royal Canal in Dublin’s Docklands. The park should "be suitable for active and passive recreation, incorporating cycle and pedestrian routes along the Royal Canal."  Candidates entering the competition were asked to assume a construction budget in the region of €15 million

The competition objectives included the provision of public amenity green space and facilities for youth recreation, both of which are currently in short supply in the area. It is also envisaged that the linear park will provide an appropriate environment for boating activities and develop a strategic route through the north Docklands along the canal.  For more information, see here.

Liffey Voyage Tour launched, September 2005

The Liffey Voyage tour service was launched on Monday, 26th September 2005. The tour departs from a landing station at Bachelor's Walk, passing under O'Connell Bridge downstream past the Custom House in Dublin's Docklands. It reaches the East Link Toll Bridge and the Grand Canal Basin before travelling back past the IFSC and returning to Bachelor's Walk.  The Spirit of Docklands was built in Sweden.  It is a 50-passenger low profile boat, 23 metres long and capable of travelling at 9.5 knots.  More information from www.liffeyvoyage.ie (Tel. 01 4734082)

Previous IWAI Dublin Rallies and similar

Links to reports of previous Dublin Rallies has moved to here.

If you have views on Dublin Waterways you are welcome to express them to Dublin Branch, IWAI.

Back to the Top


This page was last modified .