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Displaying items by tag: Royal Canal

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on the Royal Canal that due to persisting mechanical issues with Begnagh Bridge that necessitate repairs, the lift bridge can only be operated manually on a limited fixed schedule until mid-June.

The dates of operation are approximately every two weeks apart, as follows:

  • Friday 15 April at 10am
  • Thursday 28 April at 10am
  • Friday 13 May at 10am
  • Friday 27 May at 10am
  • Friday 10 June at 10am
  • Friday 24 June at 10am

Prior notice must be given two days in advance to the water patroller in Clondra on 087 915 1400.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland wishes to notify users of the Royal Canal that leakage repair works are ongoing at The Downs, outside Mullingar in Co Westmeath, and will continue until Thursday 28 April. The inland waterway will remain closed to navigation at this location until that date.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters and owners of vessels of issues affecting navigation on the Shannon-Erne Waterway this week.

Following Storm Franklin, the Woodford River was completely blocked to navigation by two partially submerged fallen trees immediately upstream of Old Aghalane Bridge.

In addition, there are high-water levels in all areas of the waterway. Masters should consult with the water patrollers prior to undertaking a passage.

The by-pass current across the navigation on the lower side of Lock 15 is strong and could affect low powered vessels.

Air draft under bridges has been reduced as a result of the high-water levels and masters of craft are advised to navigate with additional caution in the vicinity of bridges.

Elsewhere, users of the Royal Canal towpath in the Maynooth area are advised that the section from Lock 13 at Deey Bridge to Pike Bridge east of Maynooth has been closed due to flooding from a blocked culvert.

The cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says it is working with Kildare County Council to resolve the issue as soon as possible and apologises to users for any inconvenience this may cause.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises of a number of temporary closures and scheduled works across the inland waterways in the coming days.

On the Grand Canal, masters of vessels should note that there will be no boat passages permitted on the Nass Branch (NCB2) for six weeks from Monday 14 February to facilitate breast gate replacement and associated works.

On the Shannon Navigation, Athlone Lock will be closed to boat traffic from Wednesday 16 to Friday 18 February to allow for the relocation hydraulic and electrical services as part of recent flood relief works.

Further north, essential dredging works will see the closure of Portna Canal on the Lower Bann Navigation to boat traffic from Monday 14 to Monday 21 February.

And in Dublin, masters and users of the Royal Canal should note essential tree works taking place between the 12th Lock and Granard Bridge (Castleknock Road) from Monday 14 February.

These works are expected to last for 10 working days which may not be consecutive, weather and staff resources allowing. Vessel owners moored on the north band are asked to cooperate with the tree works contractor to access the bank area for tree removal.

While closure of the towpath is not foreseen, towpath users are asked to be mindful of the works ongoing.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on the Royal Canal that the summit level near Mullingar is closed to navigation with immediate effect until the end of February, in order to facilitate essential leakage repair works on the inland waterway.

Published in Inland Waterways

Christmas has arrived along the Royal Canal Greenway as a line-up of festive things to do and see at its multiple trailheads are announced.

In Kildare, visitors can veer off the greenway to experience a taste of Christmas with Festive Afternoon Tea at Carton House, available Thursdays to Sunday.

In Longford, those keen to kick start their New Year’s health resolutions early can hire a bike from the Midlands Cycle Hub in Cloondara or at Ballymahon Greenway Cycles to avail of seasonal special offers on bike hire over the December and Christmas holiday period.

Then unwind and enjoy festive entertainment after your Royal Canal visit with a performance of Longford’s Snow White Christmas Pantomime which is running at St Mel’s College from 20 December to 2 January.

Also not to be missed are Fiona Egan’s Festive Cookery Class (runs throughout December, booking required) and Longford’s Traditional Panto, which runs from 20 December to 2 January (book here).

If you’re in Westmeath, get into the festive spirit at Mullingar Arts Centre this Christmas with its extensive programme of festive fun events and performances for all the family.

Visitors seeking to stay awhile can find respite at popular accommodation options in Westmeath including the centrally located Newbury Hotel and the family-run Annebrook House Hotel, situated in the heart of Mullingar nearby and renowned locally for its annual breath-taking Christmas foyer display.

Refuel at one of Westmeath’s picturesque eateries. Nanny Quinn’s, located on the banks of the Royal Canal by Lock 18 at Thomastown Harbour, is a must-taste restaurant serving fresh, local home-cooked fare and is adorned with Christmas lights offering a charming festive experience.

And see Santa while you stop off in Westmeath at the Andean Alpacas Christmas Experience where you can explore the festive pathways, visit the elves and receive a gift from Saint Nick himself.

Your little elves can even post a letter to Santa in a special letterbox destined for the North Pole, feed the alpacas and site and have storytime with Mrs Claus.

Speaking about the events planned for the festive season, Sharon Lavin of Waterways Ireland said: “As Ireland’s longest greenway covering over 130kms across Kildare, Longford, Meath and Westmeath, the Royal Canal Greenway has plenty of activity happening this Christmas.

“There is an abundance of activities planned near our four main trailheads, whether you are in the mood for a festive feast or taking the whole family to see Santa, visitors can enjoy the seasonal beauty of the Royal Canal Greenway while still partaking in the festive events and activities along the way.”

Check out the Royal Canal Greenway on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter where more information about events is being added daily.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland has launched a request for tender for the development of a visitor and tourism plan for the Clondra/Richmond Harbour and Tarmonbarry area at the western end of the Royal Canal.

According to the RFT, the intended plan “will chart and identify the recreational and tourism interventions required to boost tourism, recreation and economic regeneration in the area”.

Among its objectives are “to take an integrated development approach to conserve, develop and promote [the area] as a significant recreation/tourism destination in the centre of Ireland”, and “to set out a clear, realistic and achievable tourism vision…over a 10-year period”.

In addition, any plan “must be compatible with the environmental designation and zoning” of the localities covered on this part of the inland waterway.

A particular focus for Waterways Ireland will be to “protect and restore one of our heritage assets” — namely the old lock keeper’s house at Lock 46, which dates from the early 19th century.

The deadline for receipt of tender applications is 3pm on Thursday 13 January 2022. More details can be found on the eTenders website HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland has issued a reminder to all masters and owners of vessels that all canal permits expired on 1 November and must now be renewed.

Permits can be renewed online at the Waterways Ireland website.

The cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways warns that vessels not compliant with the Canal Act 1986 (Bye-Laws) 1988, such as

  • Vessels with no permit, Bye Law 6(8);
  • Vessels non-attended and apparently abandoned, Bye Law 6(8);
  • Vessels doubled moored and causing obstruction (sunk), Bye Law 27 (3); and
  • Vessels deemed to be/likely to cause a hazard to navigation, Bye Law 33(3)

will be removed from the Grand Canal, Royal Canal and Barrow Navigation. Removed vessels may then be subsequently disposed of in accordance with Bye Law 34(2).

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, last year saw a big jump in the number of boat removals from the inland waterways under a programme to remove abandoned, sunken and “non-compliant” boats and structures from the canals network.

Published in Inland Waterways

Masters of vessels on the Royal Canal are advised that two lock gates in West Dublin and North Kildare will be replaced over the winter period starting from this week, according to Waterways Ireland.

Works will begin on the middle gates at the 12th Lock in Castleknock and the deep gates at Lock 15 near Kilcock on Monday 15 November, with an expected end date for both works of 14 January 2022. Waterways Ireland apologies for any inconvenience caused to users of this inland waterway.

Published in Inland Waterways

Amid concerns over reduced water levels this year on the Grand and Royal Canals, Afloat.ie reader and former Oireachtas policy advisor Cathal Murphy fears for the future of Ireland’s inland waterways

Water levels on the canals plummeted over recent months. This was seen on the Royal Canal and Grand Canal and along the latter’s Barrow Line. They were so bad in parts that boats could not move on these 200-year-old navigations.

The water levels in parts were allegedly down over half a metre, the lowest in living memory. These historic pieces of heritage are under threat because if water levels continue to decrease they will not survive.

Is it structural problems? Is climate change responsible? The answers are yet to be found. The canals are supposed to have a stable water level, they are supplied off feeders which are water sources redirected from rivers.

These canals are great pieces of engineering, naturally maintaining their levels for boats to navigate. But suddenly after two centuries of functional infrastructure, we are seeing boats halted as water levels shrink.

The State at the moment is putting millions into greenway and blueway routes along these canals, but without the water and the boats these will become just paths along empty trenches in the countryside. It should be a basic function to keep water levels up as has been done for the past 200 years.

Illustrating the reduction in water levels on the Barrow Line in Co Laois in September 2021 | Credit: Cathal MurphyIllustrating the reduction in water levels on the Barrow Line in Co Laois in September 2021 | Credit: Cathal Murphy

It is not just the heritage affected. These waterways maintain immense biodiversity. Low water levels increase algal blooms, with devastating effects on fish and other invertebrates that use the habitat of the canal.

There is huge cultural and historical importance to the canals, forming a network upon which nature flourishes, history is functioning and people travel. Ireland needs them. They encourage tourism from both home and abroad so people can navigate these waterways like the canals of England and France.

Waterways Ireland, who maintain the canals, have said previously that low levels are due to leaks and not enough machinery to maintain the feeders that supply the canal, and maintain canal navigation.

Although this year we have seen some of the lowest levels, this has been an ongoing issue for a decade. This year marine notices stated that water levels were down 45cm in late August, and anecdotally they were down 60cm from Monastarevin to Athy along the Barrow Line.

The drying up of our canals is happening in front of our eyes. Some interim measures have been taken that have seen a rise in water levels in recent weeks but these are not long-term.

Whatever the reason for the water disappearing, the canals need to be protected, and to be seen as the asset of the State that they really are — and an amenity to all.

Published in Your Say
Page 3 of 13

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!