#SaveHistoricDocks - A Dublin docklands business group and waterways enthusiasts have called on Minister for Heritage Heather Humphreys to save a key piece of the Grand Canal basin’s Georgian architecture.
As The Irish Times writes The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) and the Docklands Business Forum (see related story) have initiated a petition this week which asks Ms Humphreys to ensure the basin’s lock gates and graving docks for ships are “restored, preserved and reused” for community gain.
The two groups believes Waterways Ireland wants to sell the graving docks site for further high rise development on the Liffey mouth.
The cross-Border agency is primarily responsible for the Grand Canal Basin and for the surrounding area where the three graving docks were constructed for vessel repair, while Nama also has a lease interest.
The graving docks and lock gates are as important to the heritage of the area as Battery Park is to New York, according to Docklands Business Forum’s chief executive Alan Robinson.
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Jehan Ashmore of Afloat adds that recently in an 'Aran Islands Snapshot' was featured the former ferry, Naomh Eanna which has been berthed in Grand Canal Dock for more than a quarter century.
The basin itself is considerably older having opened in 1796 for use of ships entering three docks to and from the River Liffey.
Only in recent years due to the threat of scrapping by Waterways Ireland that the historic Irish built ship was saved by campaigners. Among the reasons cited was due to possible sinking of the veteran vessel which led to the ship shifted from Charlotte Quay to a nearby disused graving dock dating to 1850's.
There have been plans by maritime heritge enthusiasts to restore the 1958 Liffey Dockyard built Naomh Eanna that ran for CIE between Galway City and Aran Islands. The project involved relocating to her former homeport in the mid-west city as a floating museum amongst other functions. The proposed visitor attraction was welcomed by Galway Port with a dedicated berth.
Grand Canal Basin was last used by commercial shipping until the 1960's. The three graving docks (the largest infilled) were used for repairs of small ships and canal barges.