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Irish Boating Updates on Inland Waterways, Rivers, Canals and Holidays

Waterways Ireland intends to dispose, by public tender, of a number of vessels removed from the Grand Canal at Shannon Harbour, Tullamore, Barrow Navigation, Killaloe Canal and Shannon Bridge.

Twelve vessels are presently stored on the South Bank of the Grand Canal adjacent to the Transit Shed in Shannon Harbour. One vessel is stored in Fenniscourt on the Barrow Navigation and other vessels are stored in Ballyleague and Munster Harbour, Portumna.

All vessels may be inspected (externally only) by local arrangement. Tender and relevant documentation is available from the Assistant Inspector of Navigation at +353 87 286 5726 or [email protected] Alternatively you can download the tender documentation from the Waterways Ireland website.

Sealed tenders should reach the Assistant Inspector of Navigation at the above address not later than noon on Monday 18 March.

A condition of sale is that vessels be removed from the canal property once purchased. Removal details will be notified to successful purchasers once transactions are finalised.

Published in Inland Waterways

#RoyalCanal - Waterways Ireland is advising masters and users of the Royal Canal that due to unprecedented dry weather conditions and low rainfall levels and subsequent low levels in Lough Owel, navigation water levels cannot be guaranteed on certain sections of the canal, particularly the summit level and adjacent levels.

Masters should contact the local water patroller prior to any planned journey along this inland waterway.

Published in Inland Waterways

Athletics Ireland and Waterways Ireland have announced a new strategic partnership which will seek to promote physical activity on the more than 1,000km of trails and facilities across the Waterways Ireland system.

The partnership will see a range of Athletics Ireland programmes, including Fit4Life and The Daily Mile, avail of Waterways Ireland facilities to help promote improved levels of fitness, health and wellness across all ages in a fun and sociable environment.

Speaking at the launch, Athletics Ireland chief executive Hamish Adams said: “I have personally run several of the canal systems and the towpath facilities are second to none.

“Athletics Ireland shares a vision with Waterways Ireland to get people moving and we want to encourage the nation to utilise the incredible facilities on offer across the Waterways Ireland system.”

Waterways Ireland manages, maintains, develops and promotes more than 1,000km of navigable inland waterways, principally for recreational purposes.

The cross-border body says one of its key focuses is inspiring more people to discover and enjoy recreational activities on the inland waterways, and to explore these rich environment and heritage attractions.

“Waterways Ireland has seen a huge increase in the number of recreational and tourist users on and along all our waterways in recent years and with the provision of our Blueway and Greenway trails, we have now created even more opportunities for people to try new recreational activities,” said Sharon Lavin, Waterways Ireland’s head of marketing and communications.

“This partnership allows Waterways Ireland and Athletics Ireland to join forces in promoting the health and well-being and social opportunities that are available in the great outdoors. We look forward to growing this partnership.”

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland and Leave No Trace Ireland are working in partnership again to deliver their River Explorers programme.

River Explorers engages local primary school children to take pride in their local river, lake or canal.

Funding was successfully secured during 2018 to run the programme from a number of local authorities including Cavan, Longford, Fingal, Kilkenny, Limerick and Clare.

The programme runs throughout February and March, and for 2019 increases from 17 to 20 days given the additional level of funding secured.

The programme will be taking place at the 12th Lock in Castleknock and Richmond Harbour, Clondra on the Royal Canal; Twomilegate on the Shannon; Ballyconnell on the Shannon-Erne Waterway; and Graiguenamanagh on the Barrow.

Waterways Ireland says schools have been “very eager” to participate in the programme, with all available sessions now fully booked.

River Explorers is a one-day programme which aims to enable participants to become aware of the geographical location, leisure potential and biodiversity value of their local river, lake or canal through outdoor and hands-on learning, skills training, resource development and raising public awareness.

“Creating positive memories, healthy lifestyles, and physical wellbeing as well as paving the way for creating opportunities for caring for our natural heritage are all integral facets of a project that has sustainability at its core,” says Waterways Ireland.

“This project will empower primary school students to connect with their natural environment and enjoy their natural heritage responsibly and ethically.”

Each participating school group will take part in classroom-based sessions in the morning followed by outdoor sessions in the afternoon at their local waterway.

“The idea in the morning session is to impart the knowledge and skills the participants need to understand how to identify the wealth of biodiversity on the local rivers and canals, be able to anticipate how their use of these waterways impacts on this and the measures they can take to minimise this impact,” the organisers explain.

“The afternoon session is about putting the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom into practice. Students will have the opportunity to discover the vast array of wildlife that calls the inland waterways their home.

“Each group will learn how to identify some of the plants and trees along canal and river banks and even come face to face with some mini-beasts living in these ecosystems.

“Leave No Trace Ireland and Waterways Ireland are delighted to partner in the delivery of what promises to be an excellent education programme.”

Published in Inland Waterways

A series of consultative workshops on the feasibility of an iconic Pilgrim Way between the Shannon Navigation and Erne System took place earlier this month.

In late 2018, West Limerick Resources in partnership with Waterways Ireland and 13 local development companies (LDCs) and associated local authorities commissioned SLR Consulting and Alan Hill Tourism Development to investigate the feasibility of developing a 350km cross-border Pilgrim Way along the inland waterways.

The area under consideration is a 20km-wide corridor which uncovers a unique and vast pilgrim heritage on and along the inland waterways, from the Shannon estuary in Co Kerry northwards through the Shannon Navigation, Shannon-Erne Waterway, and Erne System in Co Fermanagh to Co Donegal.

The aim is to develop an iconic international ‘Pilgrim Way’ based on the rich early Christian and Viking heritage of the Early Medieval period in Ireland.

Well known ecclesiastical sites include Scattery Island, Iniscealtra (Holy Island, Clare), Clonmacnoise (Offaly), Quaker Island (Lough Ree), Boyle Abbey (Roscommon), Devenish Island (Lough Erne) and the iconic pilgrimage site at Lough Derg (St Patrick’s) in Donegal, among others.

Many more, lesser known sites are included in the overall analysis for a total of more than 100 sites in total. Waterways Ireland has more information about the project.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Combined mooring and passage permits and extended mooring permits for the Grand Canal, Royal Canal and Barrow Navigation for the 2019 season are now available online from Waterways Ireland.

All permits will run until Thursday 31 October, with annual renewal on 1 November each year. Applications require a photo of the vessel and a copy of its insurance (third party minimum).

Applicants can decide to print their own permit or have a hard copy sent by post. Submitted applications will receive an acknowledgement email, and once approved, an online link will be emailed for payment.

Questions regarding the application process can be forwarded to the inspectorate at [email protected] or by phone to 09064 35690 (9am-12pm Monday to Friday).

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Funding for Waterways Ireland is on the rise, and particularly for projects in the Dublin region, according to Heritage Minister Josepha Madigan.

Responding last week to a Dáil question from Cavan-Monaghan TD Brendan Smith, Minister Madigan outlined that estimates for 2019 provide for an allocation of €25,117,000 for Waterways Ireland, representing an overall increase of €1 million on last year’s original allocation.

Within this figure, capital funding for Waterways Ireland has been increased by €800,000 from €3,580,00 to €4,380,000 in 2019.

In response to Dublin West TD Joan Burton, through whose constituency the Royal Canal flows, Minister Madigan provided a breakdown of Waterways Ireland’s Exchequer (current and capital) funding allocation from 2016 to present.

The level of funding provided for maintenance and upgrade of waterways, canals and rivers in Co Dublin specifically as been forecast at €3,153,665 for 2019 — compared to €1,158,136 in 2018.

Responding to a follow-up question from Deputy Smith regarding specific capital funding for maintenance and improvement works on the Shannon-Erne Waterway, Minister Madigan outlined that Waterways Ireland plans to complete 10.4km of Greenway enhancement towpath as well as advance plans for a full-scale Greenway along the 64km route.

Capital funding allocated for Shannon-Erne works is €125,000 for 2019, and Waterways Ireland is partnered with local authorities for three projects to the tuned of €311,500:

  • Development of a Blueway trail between Leitrim Village and Kilclare with Leitrim County Council (€162,000 WI contribution).
  • Development of a Blueway trail between Ballyconnell and Bellaheady Bridge with Cavan County Council (€124,500).
  • Development of forward planning for a trail extension from Aghalane to Lock 1 at Corraquill with Cavan County Council (€25,000).

The minister underlined that any requests for additional funding from Waterways Ireland in 2019 “can only be considered on their merits, taking into account the organisation’s strategic business objectives for the waterways network and the estimates and annual budgetary processes.”

Previously, Kildare South TD Fiona O’Loughlin asked the minister the extent to which she expects an amicable resolution to issues between Waterways Ireland and traditional dwellers and recreational users of the Grand Canal in Co Kildare.

Minister Madigan replied that Waterways Ireland “continues to concentrate on boats which consistently remain in breach of the bye-laws”, and that the cross-border body “will consult with its stakeholders in the drafting of additional bye-laws to ensure proper regulation of craft on the waterways” following the signing into law last summer of the Heritage Act 2018.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - The proposed Blueway route between Toome and Coleraine along the Lower Bann corridor as moved a step closer to fruition as work was recently completed on Phase One of the project at Glenone.

In the joint venture between Mid Ulster District Council and Waterways Ireland, supported by Angling NI, Honourable Irish Society, National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland and local landowner William Chesney, a new multi-use public path along the riverbank was developed.

This accesses an additional 25 coarse angling stands installed as part of the phased works that complement the existing 89 angling stands and associated facilities already at the site, known locally as Molloy’s Ford.​

The work, delivered by Mid Ulster District Council, completed by IL Contracting and project managed by Robinsons & Sons, Ballymoney, was made possible by funding from Waterways Ireland and is part of a proposal to develop a Blueway route from the town of Portglenone to Newferry West, a length of approximately 7km.

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Sean McPeake, welcomed the development, saying: “The council recognises the importance of sensitively and appropriately maximising the potential of our natural attractions, such as the Lower Bann flowing through our district, and this project is an example where building collaborative partnerships has resulted in an improved river corridor that will generate and sustain a vibrant and healthy community and economy.

“As well as providing recreational walking, cycling, running and angling opportunities to local people, the site will see international visitors in June when it hosts the 2019 FIPSed 25th European Coarse Angling Championship.”

Waterways Ireland’s Stephen Douglas said of this first phase: “It has brought together a wide range of stakeholder partners in delivering what is the first phase of establishing a Blueway path between Portglenone and Newferry and provision of infrastructure to host the 2019 European Coarse Angling Championship. Our vision is to develop Blueway infrastructure, where possible, along the full length of the Lower Bann River.

“To this end we hope to continue working with our partner organisations to develop the product, gain statutory approvals and pursue funding. Blueways developed to date along our navigations have proven to engage local communities and visitors alike and have contributed significantly in economic and social regeneration of towns and communities along our waterways”.

Blueways are a network of multi-activity recreational trails, based on or alongside idyllic inland waterways, which provide scenic routes into the heart of the countryside traversed by canoe, bike or on foot. Their value lies not only in the recreational opportunities that they offer residents and visitors, but also in their potential to stimulate local businesses and regenerate local areas.

For more information on the project, see www.midulstercouncil.org

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland has issued a notice for masters and owners of vessels that the Department of Finance intends changing the law regarding the use of marked gas oil, or MGO, in private pleasure craft from 1 January 2020.

The change follows the recent EU ruling against Ireland regarding the use of MGO — colloquially 'green diesel' — on pleasure craft.

The Department of Finance will propose an amendment to the Finance Act 2019, and once the amendment is enacted, the use of MGO as a propellant by private pleasure craft will be illegal. The practical repercussions of this are that private pleasure craft will need to use standard auto diesel as a propellant.

EU Directive 2003/96 defines “private pleasure craft” as “any craft used by its owner or the natural or legal person who enjoys its use either through hire or through any other means, for other than commercial purposes and in particular other than for the carriage of passengers or goods or for the supply of services for consideration or for the purposes of public authorities.”

In simple terms, the change to the law means that private and hired pleasure craft operating in the Republic of Ireland must use auto diesel from 1 January 2020. Commercial and public authority craft are exempt from the requirement.

Waterways Ireland says further information can be obtained from the Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - The Waterways Ireland Events Programme is now open for 2019 and welcomes applications from inland waterways and waterside communities seeking support to start and grow sustainable events.

Taking place annually for the past 13 years, the programme has supported competitions, learning experiences, community, historical and educational events for people with and without disabilities across thousands of communities nationwide.

Involving angling, canoeing, rowing, sailing and power sports, arts, history, drama and learning new skills, these events have most importantly been about having fun on the waterways under the auspices of Waterways Ireland, the recreation and navigation authority for the Barrow Navigation, Erne System, Grand Canal, Lower Bann Navigation, Royal Canal, Shannon-Erne Waterway and the Shannon Navigation.

“The new vision for the event programme will activate event organisers to consider how they can build in ongoing activity and sustained use of the waterways corridors into their event,” says Sharon Lavin, head of marketing and communications with Waterways Ireland.

“Tourism and participation in recreation has a social and economic impact in waterfront communities, and events are a great way to engage communities with previously under-utilised waterways.”

The application form and guidance notes can be viewed and completed online. Terms and conditions apply. The closing date the receipt of completed applications is Wednesday 16 January.

Published in Inland Waterways
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