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#HistoricBoats - Waterways Ireland is seeking tenders to restore a legacy canal barge as an office space for Dublin’s Silicon Docks.

According to the tender document, Waterways Ireland intends to clean out the vessel, further inspect its structural condition and convert it into “an open plan office for 6 workers with galley, meeting room and WC”.

The vessel would be moored at Grand Canal Basin alongside other similar floating work spaces.

It will also be self-propelled to enable it to move to other locations within the inland waterways network, and as such a P2 passenger boat licence will be required.

The Heritage Boat Association has more details on the barge, which was extensively rebuilt in at Shannon Harbour in a community project from 1996 to 2003 and renamed Cluaine Uaine Bheag.

Originally built as a general motorised trade boat by Vickers for the Grand Canal Company in 1928, the barge – then known as 48M – would have carried Guinness and other cargo until the canal’s commercial closure in 1959.

Published in Historic Boats

#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland has welcomed last week’s launch of the National Greenways Strategy by Tourism Minister Shane Ross.

The strategy sets out how national and regional greenways in Ireland should be planned and constructed, and is backed by a fund of €53 million for the years 2019 to 2021.

“I am delighted to be launching this strategy today in our Hidden Heartlands,” Minister Ross said last Friday 20 July, “That brand, and indeed our other tourism brands all identify activity tourism as a key sector for sustainably growing tourism numbers in Ireland.

This strategy, is, I know, eagerly awaited around the country. People have seen the benefits that have accrued to towns along our greenways to date, examples such as Newport on the Great Western Greenway, Kilmacthomas on the Waterford Greenway and here in Moate along the Old Rail Trail.

“Our goal is to replicate the success of those towns and those greenways in other locations around the country. That is why we are focussing our investment on projects of scale, the common denominator of successful projects to date is that they are in the order of 40km and thus provide the opportunity to overnight in a new area.”

The strategy sets out the importance of early and widespread consultation with landowners and communities along and adjacent to proposed greenway routes. It also emphasises the need to minimise the impact on landholdings by minimising severance as far as possible and providing accommodation works such as fencing and underpasses where required, and sets out the importance of access to scenery and things to see and do in order to attract tourists.

Brendan Griffinm Minister of State For Tourism, added: “We are lucky to live in such a beautiful country and greenways provide an opportunity to experience that beauty up close and at a slow pace.

“Our strategy will help us fund the spine of a network of greenways that can, over time, provide links to the rest of the countryside through quiet roads that will prove attractive to many people cycling. I know that Longford County Council is looking to identify a quiet route from the end of the Royal Canal Greenway in Clondra to Athlone; this will provide a wonderful triangular route from Mullingar along the Royal Canal to Clondra and then to Athlone returning to Mullingar on the Old Rail Trail.

“We must also remember that greenways are for more than people cycling. Statistics from our current greenways show that in towns such as Moate there are more people walking than cycling and the important health benefits that accrue to users are another huge benefit for our country.”

Minister Ross concluded: “I am looking forward to examining the many worthwhile project proposals that we expect to receive over the coming months under the funding call, and I would urge local authorities and state agencies to consult widely with landowners and communities along proposed routes to bring agreed routes to fruition. This strategy sets out how that consultation should take place and suggests the components that make for a successful greenway.”

Published in Inland Waterways

#WaterSafety - Waterways Ireland has warned over the dangers of swimming and diving in and around navigation infrastructure such as bridges, locks, weirs, pontoons and harbour jetties.

The possibility of a swimmer being struck by a vessel, its propeller or being run over is ever present while powered craft are manoeuvring at such locations.

Swimming is therefore prohibited at these locations.

Waterways Ireland also advises all participants engaged in open water swimming training of the inherent dangers attached to this activity in locations where there is boating traffic.

A swimmer in the water wearing high visibility head gear will always remain a very small target to see to the master of a powered craft particularly if:

  • the water surface is choppy
  • there is strong glare reflected from the water surface
  • there is difficulty in sighting due to slanting sunshine in early morning or late evening
  • visibility is poor due to fog, mist or rain

Swimmers should risk assess their swimming location prior to entering the water, for boat traffic, entry and exit locations, availability of life saving appliances, weather and water conditions.

The presence of a safety boat or kayak will always give enhanced safety and security.

Earlier this week, two men lost their lives in separate incidents while swimming in Lough Derg on the Shannon Navigation, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Water Safety

#InlandWaters - Mike Palmer of the UK’s Waterway Recovery Group has been announced as a keynote speaker at the World Canals Conference in Athlone this September.

Chair of Britain’s national co-ordinating body for voluntary labour on inland waterways, Palmer will address the conference on the topic of ‘Waterways in Progress - the Waiting Gain’ — how restoration schemes are not just a means to an end, and can bring quantifiable benefits at every stage of their development.

Palmer is the latest of a growing list of keynote speakers to open the three-day conference at the Radisson Blu Hotel Athlone from Monday 10 to Wednesday 12 September under the theme ‘Restoring, regenerating, re-imagining’.

Delegates will also be welcomed by the two-day Shannon ‘Feastival’ on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September, with Athlone hosting boat tours to taste a range of food and crafts made by local artisans.

The deadline for early bird discounts has been extended to next Friday 15 June to benefit from up to 20% off the cost of registration.

Special prices are also available for accommodation on board a luxury hire cruiser before, during and after the conference, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland is extending its Smart Card system to include lock passages on the River Shannon and Lower Bann.

The service will be tested from a technical perspective at Albert Lock on the Shannon and the Cutts Lock on the Lower Bann for a two week period beginning on the 16th of April 2018. Following the technical test period and depending on the learnings taken from it, Waterways Ireland will then begin the roll out of Smart Card usage at all locks and lifting bridges on both the Shannon and Lower Bann. Marine Notice 15/2018 has been issued to this effect.

The Smart Card is already in use along the Shannon for numerous services including showers, toilets, pump-outs and electricity and on the Shannon-Erne Waterway for lock passages. The extension of the service to include lock passages will mean a one-stop-shop for waterway customers for all waterway services. The customer provides their Smart Card to the Lock-keeper to insert into a reader which deducts the units for the lock passage. The lock-keeper will then operate the lock as usual.

The pilot at Albert Lock will run from the 16th – the 30th April 2018 and boats will have the following payment options – use their existing Smart Card, pay in cash or purchase a Smart Card. Many boaters already have Smart Cards as they use them to purchase other services along the Shannon. Hire boat companies already provide the Smart Cards to their customers. Boaters can buy Smart Cards from local retailers or order online– the list of retailers is available from www.shopwaterwaysireland.org.

The remaining Shannon locks and bridges will accept payment by smart card and cash from the 1st May until the end of June 2018. From the 1st July – 30th September 2018 boaters presenting with case will be able to buy a smart card from the Lockkeeper. From 1st October payment will be by Smart Card only and the boater will need to have a valid card on board. Where bridge lifting is required at Tarmonbarry and Rooskey, a combined toll payments for the lock and bridge will be taken at the Lock.

The cost of the lock passage on the Shannon will remain the same and will take two units from the smart card. The cost of the lock passage on the Lower Bann will be 1 unit. The lock passage on the Shannon-Erne Waterway will remain at 1 unit. The 10 unit card cost €6.35/£5.55 and the 20 unit card €12.70/£11.10.

Waterways Ireland has managed over 1000km of waterways since 1999, investing significantly in improving services and facilities along the navigations including mooring, services blocks, creating and extending boating destinations along the Shannon including Killaloe, Garrykennedy, Dromineer, Ballyleague, Carrick-on-Shannon, Boyle, and Lough Key.

Further information on the pilot and the smart card system can be found by emailing [email protected]

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland has announced revised opening hours for the locks on the Shannon-Erne Waterway for 2018.

From next Thursday 29 March to Wednesday 16 May, locks will open from 9am to 6pm daily, extending to the full summer season opening hours of 9am to 8pm from Thursday 17 May till Wednesday 12 September.

In the late season, daily openings of 9am to 6pm are set for Thursday 12 September till Wednesday 31 October, dates and times to be confirmed. Winter hours will be advised towards the end of the season.

These changes apply seven days a week. The changes in operating hours will be seen in the early and late shoulder seasons only, and reflect usage patterns recorded by Waterways Ireland.

Throughout the season a minimum of two water patrollers will be working along the waterway to ensure that customer services can be provided as swiftly as possible.

For more information contact the SEW Operations Team in Carrick-on-Shannon at 071 965 0642.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters, owners and the general public that recent rains have caused flooding at many harbours making them unsafe for pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the immediate surrounds of the harbour infrastructure. Banagher, Shannon Bridge, Mountshannon, Scarriff and Limerick harbours are severely effected.

In particular, harbour and jetty edges and access points cannot be seen due to flood water, making it dangerous to attempt to approach these facilities until the flooding has receded

Published in Inland Waterways

#Jobs - Waterways Ireland is currently recruiting for an Inspector of Navigation based in Athlone, and an engineer based in Dublin.

The Inspector of Navigation will be responsible for a number of strategic work areas, including the monitoring and management of navigational and recreational activities on all of the navigations; enforcement of bye-laws; inspection of aids to navigation and acting as marine safety adviser for the organisation.

The inspector will be responsible for the management of inspectorate staff and will work closely with senior managers and colleagues in operations to deliver business objectives.

They will also represent Waterways Ireland at national and international level, pro-actively promoting the interests of all stakeholders, and the navigational and recreational remit of Waterways Ireland.

Inspectorate staff are based in each of Waterways Ireland Operational Regions, Western, Northern and Eastern, and work as part of the management and operational teams in these regions.

The Inspector of Navigation is based in Athlone and is part of the Western Region Operations team. In addition, the Inspector of Navigation provides a central management support to all inspectorate staff across their regions.

Further details of the role and how to apply can be found on the Waterways Ireland website. The closing date for applications is Monday 29 January.

The Engineer (Operations) will form part of an operational management team and will oversee management/maintenance, recreational/commercial use and future development of Waterways Ireland infrastructure within the Dublin metropolitan area, as required.

The successful applicant will be required to manage operational staff and consultants/contractors working on Waterways Ireland property for implementation of new or refurbishment projects, co-ordinate with user groups for facilitation of events, and work in partnership with third parties and local interests to manage and develop the canals for increased recreational use.

More details of the role and how to apply are available on the Waterways Ireland website. The closing date for applications to this position is Monday 5 February.

Published in Jobs

#InlandWaters - The Waterways Ireland 2018 Event Programme is open for 2018 and welcoming applications from waterways and waterside communities seeking support to start and grow sustainable events.

Taking place annually for the past 12 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, learning new skills, these events have most importantly been about having fun.

Sharon Lavin, head of marketing and communications with Waterways Ireland, says: “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.

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.”

Applications must now be made online. The guidance notes can be viewed and application form completed online at the Waterways Ireland website. Terms and conditions apply.

The closing date the receipt of completed applications is Monday 22 January.

Waterways Ireland is 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.

Published in Inland Waterways

#RoyalCanal - In news you may have missed from this year, the first lock house on the Royal Canal in Dublin is set for a new lease of life.

A familiar sight for locals and commuters in the city’s North Strand district, the cottage by Newcomen Bridge has been out of use for a number of years since its last residents, the Lynch family, moved on after four decades.

Now Waterways Ireland says it’s to be taken over by The Adventure Project, a city-based non-profit that runs adventure therapy programmes for addiction services, crime diversion projects and young people in care.

It’s expected that the cottage will become a base for a new canal adventure programme, making use of an already lively inland waterway amenity.

Published in Inland Waterways
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