IWAI - Dublin Branch - News of 2009

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

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December 11th 2009 sees the end of the Liffey Ferry

The opening of the Samuel Beckett Bridge on Friday 11th Dec. 2009 brought the operation of the Liffey Ferry to an end.  The service stopped on the evening of Friday 11th.  The service was launched in October 2007, 20 years after the end of the last ferry service on the Liffey.  The Liffey Ferry which took passengers across the Liffey from Sir John Rogerson’s Quay to North Wall Quay for the not unreasonable charge of €2

Shipment of Locke's "Grand Crew" Whiskey Casks from Kilbeggan to Dublin (5th October 2009)

On October 5th, 2009, two whiskey casks arrived into Dublin from Locke's Distillery, Kilbeggan aboard heritage boat "107B".  The casks were welcomed on the 6th by the Lord Mayor, Emer Costello.  The casks were shipped to mark the 50th anniversary of the announcement by CIE of its intention to withdraw the commercial boats from the Grand Canal at the end of 1959.  Read all about the cask's journey here , a journey which also involved vintage trucks, bikes, and horse and cart.  It is believed to be the first such shipment in about 60 years.

29/08/09: Two casks of Locke's Grand Crew whiskey await delivery.
Click on the photo below for a higher resolution image.29/08/09: Ballycommon:  Brian Quinn gets ready to roll the two Locke's Grand Crew whiskey casks onto heritage boat 107B.
Click on the photo below for a higher resolution image.05/10/09: 107B in the lower chamber of the 9th Lock, Clondalkin.
05/10/09: 17:45 -  Its getting late now - 107B at the 1st lock, Suir Road.06/10/09: Job done! John Dolan, Greg Whelan, Michael Slevin, Mick Kinahan and Gary Mongey with Dublin's Lord Mayor, Emer Costello at PortobelloDublin's Lord Mayor, Emer Costello learn's more than she ever wanted to know about our Grand Crew project as she welcomes the casks to Dublin.

Dublin Rally 2009

The annual Dublin Rally which seeks to raise the profile of boating within the city area and to draw attention to the Capitals waterways is held this year between May 9th and 23rd. There was a large increase in entries this year with 23 entries from both the Shannon and Grand Canal – our sincere thanks to all who made the trip. Some people had a very smooth run into the city from Lucan, but queues formed a few times as problems built up. The divers were needed a few times to clear rubbish off props and more than once to clear obstructions in locks. Both Waterways Ireland and our volunteer lock operators had to contend with a lot of water. While most boats made the run from Lucan to Grand Canal Dock in under the 12 hours, two boats took 15. However, with the exception of one downpour early in the morning, the weather held up. Our thanks to Waterways Ireland staff and the diving contractors for their assistance.

Although the new Sea Lock at Spencer Dock is now completed no entries were possible from the Royal Canal for the 4th consecutive year. Hopefully we will get a chance next year to enter Spencer Dock (if not to progress further into the Royal).

A full programme of events took place including the trip to the “head of the river” at Islandbridge and a Small Boat Rally on the upper reaches at Chapelizod which was graced by IWAI President Paul Garland with the new Nissan Pathfinder. On Tuesday 12th, Noel Griffin gave a very informative and well-received talk to an attentive audience at Poolbeg.

The weir at Islandbridge continues to enchant with its remarkable scenery and birdlife; all within 3 miles of O Connell Bridge. Although the weather this year was anything but kind, we were rewarded with a few bright spots interspersed with squally showers. The remarkable thing about this year’s trip up the Liffey is that it actually happened.

The saga of the new Samuel Beckett Bridge threatened to scupper plans for the trip and it was not until 2 days before the scheduled date that we received confirmation that the river would be “open”. However, we did get an opportunity to get up “close and personal” with the new structure and we must admit it is a thing of beauty and something which does our river (and our city) proud. Given the forecast of gale-force winds and thunder storms, safety concerns dictated that the narrow boats and barges stayed on the moorings while the “DubhLinn” and 4 cruisers went upriver to the traditional mooring point at Islandbridge.

Beth O'Loughlin of Aqualegia took home the Dublin Branch's Endeavour Cup - a very well-deserved award and a small recognition of her tireless crusading on the waterways.

Anyone who has a chance to voyage on the Liffey now will concede that Dublin’s quayside has improved dramatically over recent years and although there may be a temporary blip at present, there are many fine plans to further improve the city’s waterside. Hopefully, when the HBA boats visit us later in the year we will get another chance to revisit the Liffey and sample its wonders.

Spencer Dock Sea Lock Flood Defences declared complete

May 12th 2009 saw the great and the good of Dublin turn up to declare the Flood Works completed. You may recall that the works on the Sea Lock at Spencer Dock (Royal Canal) was initiated both to improve the navigability of the Royal Canal and to improve the flood defences of the area. The new flood gates complete a programme of flood protection which were started following the unprecedented tidal flooding in February 2002. The flooding followed the highest tide then, or yet, recorded (since 1923). The East Wall Area was one area which was badly affected by the February 2002 floods and the Spencer Dock measures have been designed to provide flood protection to nationally recognised standards and include provision for foreseeable climate changes in sea level. The works at the Sea Lock have involved Dublin City Council, OPW, DDDA and Waterways Ireland. In addition to installing flood defences and restoring the Sea Lock, water, electrical and telecom utilities have all been re-routed. A plaque was unveiled by Lord Mayor, Eibhlin Byrne, and Minister Martin Mansergh. However you can see from the accompanying photos that we were well represented too. Three boats from the Dublin Rally fleet motored from Grand Canal Dock to tie-up beside the Sea Lock entrance for the opening ceremony. While it wasn’t the formal opening of the Sea Lock to navigation, the end of the long wait is in sight and our boats are ready for the off.

Recent Talks organised by Dublin Branch of IWAI - 2009

GPS on the Inland Waterways, speaker Noel Griffin

On Tuesday 12th of May, a large crowd from many branches of IWAI assembled at Poole Yacht & Boat Club to hear a very informative talk from Noel Griffin.  Noel brought along a few sample GPS units so people could see hands-on what all the fuss was about. 

The Grand Canal, Past, Present and Future- speakers John McKeown (Waterways Ireland)

On 20/04/09, John McKeown of Waterways Ireland presented a profusely illustrated slideshow on the history of the Grand Canal, its engineering, economics etc.  The restoration and engineering works of the 1980's through to today was well covered. This well attended event was followed by a good Q&A session covering many topics including the contentious issues of the navigability of the canal, the future use of the Grand Canal Dock, the future of the Waterways Visitor Centre and the associated jetties and the opening of the Royal.

Around the World for fun  - speakers Geraldine Foley and Peter Maxwell

On 24/03/09, Geraldine Foley and Peter Maxwell shared their experiences of more than 10 years of cruising the world on a shoestring.  They've been sailing the world since 1996 in a home-built 50' yacht, Mithril.  A very entertaining talk/slideshow was followed by some very probing questions from Dublin IWAI and Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club members where we learned much about budgeting, welding, boat design, shopping, fishing and a little too much information about Peter's dentistry skills.

Details of their last voyage are at http://sailmithril.tripod.com/thevoyages. Their last voyage was from Ireland to the Southern Ocean and back to Ireland. From Kerguelen in the French Antarctic Territories to Atlantic Canada by way of Australia and islands in the Indian Ocean. They were the first Irish yacht ever to visit Kerguelen. Their most recent micro trip (I think) was an ice-breaking run on the Newry Ship Canal.  Peter and Geraldine were nominated for the 2008 sailor of the year award.  See here a short 7 minute RTE report from 2003 on an earlier voyage to South Georgia.

Fingal Council to include Royal Canal strategy in its next development plan 2010-2015

(as reported in Community Voice 16-29/01/2009) Plans to enhance and protect the Royal Canal in Dublin 15 drawn up by Fingal County Council planners have been approved by councillors and will now form part of the Council's development plan review scheduled to take place later this year. The report "Royal Canal planning and development strategy for Fingal" ... recommends that "the Royal Canal corridor should be a high quality vibrant and attractive linear greenway recognised and protected as a recreational, historic and natural resource."  It proposes a number of necessary works within that corridor including resurfacing tow-paths, management of vegetation, removal of graffiti, creation of boat mooring facilities, picnic areas, improved pedestrian access, the appointment of a canal warden and the erection of information panels. ...

An official of the planning department is quoted as saying that "the County Development Plan review will propose new zoning and new objectives to enhance and protect the canal side amenities of the canal. This will determine how new development along the canal corridor can contribute to the amenity of the canal side by promoting design features at appropriate locations along the canal bank. These may include enhanced footpaths, fishing, boat mooring, viewing platforms for wild life observation, decorative lighting, interpretative information panels, signposts or small restaurant services. Council planners will then work with developers to promote the added value the canal can bring to any new development."

The report "Royal Canal planning and development strategy for Fingal" was drawn up by Martha Gouldsbury.

Dublin Branch of IWAI launches new small-boat register

Dublin is blessed with three navigable waterways, the Grand Canal, the Royal Canal and the River Liffey.  All three are completely underutilised.  We appreciate that not everyone has a barge, cruiser or similar that is (1) suitable for the canals and (2) is convenient to Dublin.  To that end, Dublin branch has organised a number of Small Boat Rallies on the Dublin waterways - by small boats, we mean tenders, RIBS, canoes, steam launches and similar.  We ask you to register your interest in joining us on one of these events by filling out our short web form.  We'll get back to you with information about any planned small boat events in the Dublin area. 

We held TWO small boat rallies in May 2008.  Our 3rd Small Boat Rally of the year was held on 12th July 2008 - some photographs of the day are here.  Our 4th, also on the Royal Canal was held on August 30th.  Both were held in conjunction with the RCAG.  A 5th was held on November 9th to Shandon Gardens, Phibsborough.  See the short video here.

We held three in 2009 on the canals with a third on the Liffey.  See photographs here.

We've 4 organised for 2010 - if interested, please register your interest in joining us on one of these events by filling out our short web form.


Dublin Canals Initiative

The intention of the Dublin Canals initiative is to develop a management and maintenance framework for both the Grand and Royal Canals in consultation with the respective partners, Waterways Ireland, IWAI Dublin Branch, Dublin City Council respective Departments and others. Our focus is to ensure that both waterways are dredged where required to upgrade the navigation and for our part we will promote and encourage use of the canals. This in our opinion will be a long term process as it is totally subject to adequate funding. However, we recognise that the initiative is under the direct control and auspices of Dublin City Council and we will support the strategy in whatever way we can to achieve our goals and objectives. The Branch is actively participating in this initiative.

As a result of our involvement with Dublin City Council and Waterways Ireland in this forum some progress has been made in the area of Litter control and planning issues along both canal corridors within the city area.

A web-based survey was conducted (closed 06/Feb/09)  into the use of Dublin's Canals and associated docks - its sponsored by Waterways Ireland, Dublin City Council, Failte Ireland and Dublin Docklands Development Authority.  We've no results, but the questions were:

1. Are you completing this survey as an individual or as a representative of a particular group?
2. Do you live near the canal, work near the canal or use the canal?
3. Who do you think is responsible for the upkeep of the canals?
4. To which canal do your comments apply?
5. How frequently do you use or visit the canal or associated dock?
6. What particular activities, on or beside the canal (or dock), do you or your group participate in? (please tick all that apply)
7. In what section of the canals do your activities principally relate to?
8. If you are a user, what attracts you to the canal or dock?
9. What problems do you encounter when undertaking these activities?
10. If you use the canal as a means of access to other locations or activities, what are they?
11. If you do not use the canals or docks for recreational purposes, what has been the main reason?
12. What management measures would you like to see introduced on the canals and docks, and their environs?
13. What do you feel generally are the constraints on the greater use or increased attractiveness of the canals or docks?
14. What opportunities do you believe there are for making greater use and improving the attractivness of the canals and docks, for the benefit of the city; the residents; the visitors; and local businesses?
15. Do you have any further comments?

Earlier NEWS items can be found here covering the period to the end of 2008

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

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