IWAI - Dublin Branch - News & Past Events of 2010

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

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Dublin Branch of IWAI to launch "Green & Silver" route at AGM

October 1st, 2010 saw the official re-opening of the Royal Canal at Richmond Harbour, Clondra. This was a truly welcome development and long awaited by those interested in the Irish Waterways – the 36-year restoration campaign is very well documented in Ruth Delany and Ian Bath’s Ireland's Royal Canal, 1789-2009 published late last year. With the opening of the Royal Canal, it now becomes possible to retrace Rolt’s journey in full and complete the circular route formed by the Royal Canal, River Liffey, Grand Canal, River Shannon and Camlin River.

In an effort to encourage people to make the circular journey, the Dublin Branch has commissioned certificates & commemorative plaques to be awarded to vessels completing the route. We’ve taken the liberty of naming the route the Green & Silver route. It seems fitting - he was the first to document a successful transit of the route and his book had such a positive influence on the development of the Irish waterways. The name also echoes the mixed urban & rural nature of the route. If you intend making the journey, you'll find more details here.

On the 6th November, 2010, The Dublin Branch boat "L.E. Dubhlinn" became the 3rd boat to complete the circuit - see photos and explanatory text here.

Official opening of the Royal Canal at Richmond Harbour (1st October 2010)

The branch workboat, the LE Dubhlinn, attended the official opening of the Royal Canal, at Richmond Harbour on October 1st, 2010.  See the IWAI forum thread here for some more photographs.  The photos below show the Dubhlinn at the 4th lock, Phibsborough, 12/09/10 and some en-route to Richmond Harbour which it entered on 01/10/2010.

Plurabelle Paddlers

The Plurabelle Paddlers is a breast cancer support group with a difference! They are a group of women in the Greater Dublin area who have or have been through breast cancer. They have set up a dragon boat team and have been testing their new boats at Grand Canal Dock.  We wish them well.

Waterways Ireland commences the first Phase of a Consultation programme on
proposed new Bye-laws

Waterways Ireland has commenced the first Phase of a Public Consultation programme on proposed new Bye-laws for all seven waterways under its remit. An initial consultation phase is currently underway with stakeholders being invited to comment on initial draft proposals. The IWAI is one such stakeholder, and as a member, you are invited to give your input at a Special Meeting to discuss the Draft Bye-Laws (Waterways Ireland Draft Bye-laws including Construction Vessels). 

Dublin City Canals report published & Box in the Docks reopens

20/07/2010 saw the official launch of the Dublin Canals Study and formal re-opening of the Waterways Visitor Centre (the box in the docks). Waterways Ireland chief exec. John Martin, Dublin's Lord Mayor, Cllr, Gerry Breen and the Minister for Community, Equality & Gaeltacht Affairs, Pat Carey are in attendance.

Dublin City Canals - Recreational Tourism & Commercial Product Identification Study and Development of an Investment and Maintenance Framework. written by Scott Wilson & Countryside Consultancy on behalf of Waterways Ireland, Failte Ireland, Dublin Docklands Development Authority and Dublin City Council. This document is also referred to as the Dublin Canals Study. It is dated January 2010 but last updated 30/06/2010.

Read our review of the Canals Report here.

Grand Canal (green route) opens

18/06/2010: The Green Route along the Grand Canal from the 12th Lock Lucan into the 3rd Lock at Blackhorse bridge, Inchicore has opened.  This is an 8.5km pedestrian and cycle path.  The project was carried out by ESB Networks, South Dublin County Council, Dublin City Council, and Waterways Ireland.
More info from the Irish Times, Waterways Ireland

2010 Dublin Rally - a truly enjoyable series of events

Dublin Rally got under way on May 8th in glorious weather. 12 boats descended from Lucan to join the HBA boats already in the basin.  We also made the RTE news [www.rte.ie].

The combined fleets in the Grand Canal Dock attracted large crowds of admiring onlookers including the Lord Mayor of Dublin, councillor Emer Costello, who paid us a visit. The HBA fleet claimed dibs on Hanover Quay, in front of the newly complete Grand Canal Theatre. This is a fantastic new public space in Dublin and it attracts large numbers of people out for an afternoon stroll. Many expressed the hope that the sight of boats moored to the quay would become a regular feature.

A large number of events were held during the fortnight including:

  • 2 small boat rallies held on the Liffey;
  • A number of boats under the auspices of the RCAG and the HBA entered Spencer Dock on Friday 14th led by the former Royal Canal trading boat The Rambler.
  • Approximately 10 boats made the annual trip up the Liffey to Islandbridge on Saturday May 15th, many for the first time and again the sun shone down on us.
  • The engine of 51M was started for the first time in maybe 10years and it left the city carrying a few old wooden Guinness casks (see the following story).

A large set of photographs of the occasion can be found on the branch website (here) and on the HBA website or

The Dublin Branch Endeavour Cup was awarded to the branch’s own Mick Kinahan for his dynamism, energy and whole-hearted commitment to the cause.

Many thanks to all owners and crew who took their boats into Dublin.  Thanks too to Waterways Ireland, the Dublin Branch, HBA and volunteers from DCC and others (not least the divers) who made today such a success. We really had a huge turnout of volunteers to lock the boats in and out. Many thanks to all.

50th anniversary of The Last Trade Boat, 1960 - journey to be recreated.

With increasing competition from the road and rail network, CIE announced the closure of the Grand Canal to commercial traffic in December 1959 (an anniversary marked last year).  However, a few boats continued to transport Guinness into 1960 while a new store in Limerick was being completed.

On a quiet afternoon on 27 May 1960, there was only one barge loading in the Grand Canal Harbour, James Street. It was the 51M, which was being loaded with a large cargo of Guinness to go to Limerick. Around tea-time, the loading was completed, and the 51M, heavily laden and very deep in the water, started its Bollinder engine. Slowly, the boat was untied, and glided slowly but noisily out of the harbour. This would never happen again. The 51M was the last trade boat to leave Dublin.

Fifty years after Canal Boat 51M carried the last commercial cargo from Dublin outbound to Limerick along the Grand Canal and River Shannon, the Heritage Boat Association (HBA) will re-create her historic voyage.

51M will depart from the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre in Grand Canal Basin on Wednesday 19th May at 2pm.

The pictures show 51M on the moorings at the Box in the Docks on 8th May 2010 and on its final delivery run in May 1960.

see here for more details.  Read more about 51M on the Heritage Boat Association website.

Heritage Boats come to Dublin (April 2010)

A large fleet of Heritage Boats flying the blue flag of the Heritage Boat Association descended into Dublin over the weekend of April 17th. Links and photos can be found here.

New arrival on the Grand Canal, "MV Cadhla"

April saw the welcome arrival of the electric barge MV Cadhla on the Grand Canal.  The boat offers pre-theatre cruises to the newly opened Grand Canal Theatre.  The boat is purpose built and had many many boat lovers drooling during the Dublin Rally.  We wish operator Sam Corbett the best of luck with this venture.  More information from www.citycanalcruises.ie  or 087 6778140

Joint Small Boat Rally to Pollardstown Fen (11/04/2010)

On a sunny Sunday morning in April a large collection of small boats made their way to Milltown Village in Kildare to explore the “source” of the Grand Canal i.e. the Milltown Feeder. There were boats from Wexford, Waterford, Offaly, Kildare and Dublin, (23 in total) in what was one of the most successful inter branch ventures ever mounted in the Eastern Region.

The more adventurous launched at the Robertstown slip and had cruised over 5 miles before the “laggards” joined-in from the “Hanged Man Pub” and covered the final 3 miles to the Seven Springs. There was little obstruction (less than on some of our canal system) and the few spots of floating weed were soon cut through by the flotilla of outboards so that the return journey was a carefree one.

In fine weather, this is a great venue for a small boat Rally and the “Hanged Man” terminus is one of our least know but most hospitable “watering holes”, and worth visiting even if you don’t have a boat.

Grand Canal Theatre opens (18th March 2010)

Members of the Dublin Branch of IWAI attended the opening of the grand Canal Theatre at Grand Canal Dock, with the three boats intriguing many attendees of the opening.  The theatre was fabulously lit for the occasion.  We wish it great success in the future.

Draft Dublin City Development Plan 2011-2017

The Dublin Branch of IWAI has made a submission in respect of ...

Dublin City Canals report

While it has not yet been published, the Dublin City Canals report was presented by Waterways Ireland's Martin Dennany and Gordon Clarke of Scott Wilson to Dublin City Council.  A Video of the proceedings can be viewed here.  The presentation on the Canals runs from 00:53:00 to 01:44:00. 

Dublin IWAI branch commission a plaque to be awarded to vessels completing the Auld Triangle route.

Now that the re-opening of the Royal Canal is in sight, the branch has commissioned a limited edition, numbered commemorative plaque to be awarded to each IWAI-crewed vessel that completes the circular route, Shannon, Royal Canal, Liffey and Grand Canal, either clockwise or anticlockwise.  Should this be called the Auld Triangle route? 

Recent Talks organised by Dublin Branch of IWAI - 2010

The Waterways of Northern France - speakers Peter & Mary Hanna

On Tuesday 15th March 2010, approximately 35 people gathered at Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club to hear a very informative talk by Peter & Mary Hanna.  They talked of their wonderful experiences of the past three years in France with Paris being the natural highlight.  The talk was profusely illustrated with photographs and has no doubt given more than a few something to ponder for the years ahead.

Dublin Branch workparty at Spencer Dock (20 February 2010)

A small but enthusiastic group of Dublin branch members visited Spencer Dock on an icy Saturday 20th February 2010.  Armed with litter pickers, the team filled a small dinghy and the Dubhlinn with assorted rubbish and litter.  Have a look at the photographs of the visit here. It will sadly be apparent that we barely skimmed the surface of the litter problem there.  However, we learned a lot and have formulated a plan of attack for the next visit.  We also took measurements of available headroom at Sheriff St. bridge.

This was the Dubhlinn's first visit to the Sea Lock in Spencer Dock.  Our thanks to the volunteers and of course to Dock Superintendent, Mark Clarke for seeing us safely through Buckingham Lock at Grand Canal Dock and the Spencer Dock sea lock. 

See the short 5-minute video here:


Dredging of the Grand and Royal Canals

Waterways Ireland have commenced dredging the Main Line of the Grand Canal ( Lock 1 to Suir Road).  The work started in November 2009.  The first part should be complete by March 2010 - see Invitation to Tender

They are also planning to do similar on the Royal between Lock 1 (North Strand Road) and Lock 8 (Reilly’s Bridge, South Finglas) -see Invitation to Tender

Dublin of the IWAI strongly welcomes this initiative which will make passage to and from Dublin much easier.  We are particularly pleased that the dredging calls for the canal to be restored to its original dimensions.  The photos below were taken on January 31st, 2010.

The freeze of January 2010

The cold weather at the start of 2010 saw the Grand Canal Dock freeze over.  Oran Murphy captured the frozen Grand Canal Dock in this beautiful photo at left (more photos are in the Grand Canal Dock Gallery).

Earlier NEWS items can be found

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

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