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President Michael D. Higgins To Commemorate Royal Canal's 200th Anniversary

19th May 2017
The Royal Canal's 200th anniversary will be celebrated at Clondra, County Longford on May 27th The Royal Canal's 200th anniversary will be celebrated at Clondra, County Longford on May 27th

The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, will commemorate the Royal Canal's 200th Anniversary in the presence of Waterways Ireland, the Royal Canal Amenity Group and invited guests in Clondra, Co Longford on the 27th May 2017. The event takes place on the anniversary of the day when the canal was completed all the way to the Shannon in 1817.

The Royal Canal closed in 1950 and remained closed for 50 years. The extensive lobbying and volunteer work of the Royal Canal Amenity Group and the work of Waterways Ireland staff and their predecessors in OPW was rewarded in 2010 when the Canal was reopened to navigation.

President Higgins has been a significant supporter of the Royal Canal and the inland waterways for many years. As Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, the President drove the re-vitalisation of the canal networks, including the redevelopment of the Royal Canal.

Now a vibrant recreational location, investment by Waterways Ireland and Longford County Council in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland has revitalised Richmond Harbour, Clondra, now a Blueway hub. Additional investment by local authority partners along the length of the Royal Canal has seen the upgrade of the towpath to international trails standard. Only a short section in Co Longford remains to be upgraded before the entire 144km towpath can be promoted internationally.

Dawn Livingstone Waterways Ireland Chief Executive spoke saying "I am delighted that the Royal Canal Commemorations will be honoured by the presence of President Higgins. The volunteers and staff worked so hard to reopen this navigation. They have provided a valuable service to the people of Ireland by their fight to keep this wonderful recreational amenity in public hands. As a result it is here providing opportunities for every community to freely use for work, visit, play and thrive"

Should people wish to attend the commemorations on the 27th May, they are welcome to come to the harbour. The village will be closed to traffic from early on the day and so invited guests should park in Tarmonbarry where a small coach will bring them to and from the harbour.

Attendees can expect to see the unveiling of commemorative plaques, traditional crafts and special arrivals by boat and horse & cart. Following the speeches, walkers from Irish Famine Trust at Strokestown House will set off to walk to Dublin in the steps of the 1490 people who left the Mahon Estate to walk to Dublin and the boat to America 175 years ago this week. Music will be provided by the Garda Band who will perform on the quayside.

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