IWAI - Dublin Branch

The Royal Canal

This section of the website is devoted to the part of the Royal Canal from the 12th Lock, Blanchardstown to the River Liffey,

Boating on the Royal Canal:

Guide to the Royal Canal -
Clickable Map of The Royal Canal;

Tips on Travelling the Royal Canal

Books, Navigation Guides etc. (all-Ireland guides);

Lock-Keepers on the Royal Canal;;

Charges and Fees - also where to get smartcards;

Known Snags on the Royal Canal (Security, Safety, Navigation difficulties etc.);

Rent a Barge on the Royal Canal;

Dublin-area Navigation Notices

Planned Bridge Lifts - BOAT PASSAGE IN / OUT OF DUBLIN (2013)

MARINE NOTICE No 22 of 2014 (28/02/2014)

Waterways Ireland wishes to advise masters and owners that boat passages in or out of Dublin on the Royal Canal between Spencer Dock & Lock 12 should generally only be undertaken by pre-arrangement with Waterways Ireland Eastern Regional Office to facilitate the necessary staffing assistance arrangements.

If intending to pass the Irish Rail Newcomen Lifting Bridge a minimum of 2 weeks' notice to the Eastern Regional Office for the scheduled dates is required.  There is also a restriction on the numbers of boats that can pass for each lift so this will be operated on a 'first come first served' basis.
At time of making contact, boaters should have available the length, beam, water and air drafts of their craft, plus phone / email contact details for purpose of making the necessary arrangements.  The schedule dates and further details are given below.

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 is considered to be unsafe by Waterways Ireland and / or if they do not have the appropriate permit.

Relevant Contact Details for Waterways Ireland, Royal Canal, Dublin:

Waterways Ireland Eastern Regional Office (M-F 9.30am-4.30pm)

Dock Superintendent, Spencer Dock
Mark Clarke 087-2584713

Water Controller, Locks 1 - 12
Des Phillips 087-2485754

Newcomen Bridge Lift Dates 2014
Thursday 24th April                              11am - 1pm
Sunday 4th May                                   9am - 1pm
Saturday 31st May                               9am - 1pm
Monday 9th June                                  11am - 1pm
Monday 7th July                                   11am - 1pm
Monday 21st July                                 11am - 1pm
Monday 18th August                            11am - 1pm
Thurs 18th September                          11am - 1pm

Arrangements have been made for Irish Rail to open the bridge on the above dates / times, if there is demand.

Waterways Ireland Eastern Regional Office requires 2 weeks' notice from boaters for use of these lifts; should there not be demand for a particular date, Irish Rail will be notified by WI that this lift is cancelled.

A maximum number of boats passing will be implemented to keep to the times given above for the planned lifts (16 no. for the Sat / Sun lifts & 8 no. for the weekday lifts)

On day of lift, boaters and passengers must follow guidance from Waterways Ireland staff about sequence of passage under bridge & through Lock 1, and must remain within signed and designated areas.

Lt Cdr (rtd)
Inspector of Navigation
28 February 2014
Tel:  353 90 6494232
Fax: 353 90 6494147

Hours of Attendance, Summer 2011

The following Waterways Ireland Marine Notice gives the hours of attendance for Summer 2011 for locks 1-17:

Planned Works

Waterways Ireland are planning to Dredge the Royal between Lock 1 (North Strand Road) and Lock 8 (Reilly’s Bridge, South Fingals) - see Invitation to Tender

A Virtual Tour of the City section from the River Liffey to The M50 Aquaduct
Royal Canal, Liffey Entrance Swing Bridge At its Dublin end the Royal Canal is entered from the River Liffey. A new sea lock opened in 2010 (replacing an original constructed in 1873).  Our branch boat was the first boat into the lock in February 2010.
There are obstructions to navigation as follows - for more see the short video and photos here:
  1. Sheriff St. Bridge (clearance is 88" or 2.2m)
    The basin can be lowered to facilitate navigating craft.

  2. An Irish Rail bridge is lying in the canal and needs to be manually lifted.  See above for the planned lift times in 2011.

    The photo above shows the bridge in the closed position - the one below shows it open during the 2004 Dublin Rally.

Note that an E.S.B. High Tension cable is no longer an obstruction - former clearance was 54"-63" or 1.37m to 1.6m.


Low TideTraffic JamHigh water Croke Park During the 2000 Dublin Rally we had an interesting traffic jam - the railway bridge was removed to allow the boats to pass. This has now been replaced with a lifting structure. Just beyond the new 1st lock the canal passes Croke Park, with its new stadium.
Wooded Section Eleventh Lock The final section of the Royal Canal inside the Dublin area is significant for the radical change of character it undergoes within a remarkably short distance. Between the 10th and 11th lock there is a beautifully wooded section where one might be in the heart of rural Ireland an peace and tranquillity reign supreme until....
Grand Canal and the M50 Aquaduct ... the canal makes a spectacular exit from the city when it leaps across the M50 motorway which rings Dublin on its North, West and Eastern edges in a recently constructed aqueduct.
Commitee Boat, 1994 Rally Twelfth Lock The final lock (the 12th) in the Dublin area is at Blanchardstown and incorporates what remains of Talbot Bridge. The road has been substantially widened but has now been overtaken by the M50 interchange and become a dead end leading to a pedestrian bridge over the motorway. It does however give access to the towpath and to the aqueduct carrying the canal across the motorway affording spectacular views of the whole interchange.
Once beyond the City the Royal canal, like the Grand, reverts to its rural nature and heads peacefully West.
Back to the Top


This page was last modified .