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#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland has announced improvements to its website over the coming weeks that will allow customers to pay for permit applications, mooring fees and other services online.

With paper applications being phased out, Waterways Ireland is encouraging users of Ireland's inland waterways to book for its services via the website — with the first phase for dry docks reservations already available.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Houseboat tours in Grand Canal Dock will feature of Open House Dublin 2017 from 13 to 15 October.

The Irish Architecture Foundation has teamed up with Waterways Ireland to offer tours of four such houseboats stationed in the capital’s South Docklands to see if life on the water could be for you.

Homes on show include The Adriana, a Dutch barge built in 1898 as a working boat and converted into a live-aboard leisure craft in the 1980s.

The Barge Rambl'n Home Houseboat is a Collingwood wide-beam barge built to live on, while The Stil Mor Houseboat is a wide-beam narrow boat barge, and The Endeavour is a sensitively restored narrow canal barge.

Waterways Ireland will also be offering tours of ‘The Box in the Docks’, its building over the water at Grand Canal Dock and accessed by a footbridge from the quay wall.

Built in 1993, it was designed to represent a nautical theme, reflected in the round windows, the open aspect of the guardrails and the wooden decking of the walkway.

The floor-level windows give the impression that the building is moving through water or that you are even on a boat. The rooftop also offers one of the finest views of the Docklands.

Tours over the weekend of Open House Dublin will be on a first come, first served basis: simply turn up and look out for Open House Dublin volunteers. Given the space and weight restrictions of the house boats, small groups of two to three people will be allowed into each house boat for five minutes at a time.

For more visit the Open House Dublin website.

Published in Inland Waterways

​#InlandWaters - ​The Waterways Ireland Archive in Enniskillen is open for tours today and tomorrow (Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September) as part of the European Heritage Open Days taking place across Northern Ireland this weekend.

From 1pm to 5pm today and tomorrow, visitors can dive into the archives to discover the history of the inland waterways, and explore original archive material.

You'll also get a free tour of the building (tours start at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm) which will include the chance to see the solo exhibition ‘Elsewhere’ by artist Douglas Hutton, showcased as part of the Fermanagh Live arts festival.

The exhibition will remain open to the public from 7pm in the evening throughout the festival until Saturday 30 September.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - The floating boardwalk at Acres Lake in Co Leitrim — a first for Ireland — is now open, completing the final leg of the Shannon Blueway.

Afloat.ie previously reported on the project in Drumshanbo when current Rural Development Minister Michael Ring visited the site to meet with Waterways Ireland staff last December, in his previous capacity as Minister of State for Regional Economic Development.

The 600m Blueway Boardwalk between Drumshanbo and Carrick-on-Shannon completes a 14km section of the blueway and connects it to a near 200km network of paths for walkers and cyclists across the waterways of Leitrim, Roscommon, Longford and Cavan.

Minister Ring described the €500,000 project as “an excellent investment” when he attended its opening yesterday (Tuesday 5 September).

A further €1.1 million has been allocated for a new walking and cycleway from Carrick-on-Shannon to Leitrim village and between Acres Lake and the Lough Allen Hotel, according to The Irish Times.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Toome-based development group Tidal Ltd has officially opened a new waterways heritage centre and café on the site of the former lockkeeper’s cottage on the Toome Canal in Co Antrim.

Working with Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership and Waterways Ireland, the group secured funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund through its Landscape Partnership Fund to undertake regeneration and refurbishment of the cottage, quay and wider canal amenity area.

The new centre houses a comprehensive interpretative display that covers the history of the canal and its importance as a gateway linking the North Coast to Lough Neagh as well as information on the community, natural environmental and wider cultural and industrial heritage of the site.

Speaking at the launch, Tidal chairman John Laverty outlined the benefits the new project will bring to the area.

“We at Tidal are delighted to have been instrumental in achieving the realisation of this wonderful new facility. From a cultural, educational, leisure, tourism and historical perspective, we see this reinvention of the disused lockkeeper’s cottage as something which will further enrich the tapestry of Toome,” he said.

Conor Jordan, chair of Lough Neagh Partnership and the Landscape Partnership Forum, complemented all involved in the development and delivery of the Waterways Heritage Centre and Café.

“This is an excellent example of how partnership working across the voluntary and statutory sectors can lead to the delivery of a new facility that helps promote a greater understanding of our landscape heritage whilst contributing to both the social and economic development of the wider lough,” he said.

Jim McGreevy, Heritage Lottery Fund NI committee member, added: “Landscapes are more than just beautiful scenery, they are also living, working places, full of stories and experiences. This new facility will give visitors an insight into past life in and around Lough Neagh and we wish the Partnership every success with this new project.

“HLF’s Landscape Partnership programme encourages a mix of projects and activities which not only help to protect the landscape but also to give communities the opportunities to explore and share their heritage with others. We are delighted that National Lottery players’ money will help Lough Neagh’s communities celebrate the wonderful heritage on their doorsteps.”

Waterways Ireland chief executive Dawn Livingstone praised the success of the partnership between the groups at Toome to bring this project to fruition.

“Waterways Ireland, as the custodian of a number of unique heritage buildings along the waterways, welcomes opportunities to work alongside partners to give these historic buildings a modern and useful purpose,” she said. “Today we see the outcome of one of these working partnerships with the beautiful restoration of this lockhouse to provide a hub for the community and an attraction for tourists to the River Bann and Lough Neagh.”

The new centre and café will be open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm and will be available for both organised group visits and day trippers.

This is one of 27 integrated Heritage Lottery Fund landscape programme projects which aim to protect the built, cultural and natural heritage of the lough being delivered by Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland advises masters and users of the Shannon Navigation that a new green conical navigation aid has been placed north of Inch Macdermot Island in Lough Ree between the green perch and the green can buoy, as shown on the guide above.

Published in Inland Waterways

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.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland has partnered with Inland Fisheries Ireland and Local Authority Waters and Communities Office to create a new Tidy Towns Special Award for 2017.

The Waters and Communities Award and has been established to recognise communities who are taking positive steps towards raising awareness and showing appreciation of their local rivers, canals, lakes, streams, coast and ground water.

Four Regional Award winners will receive €1,000 each, with €500 each for four Regional Runner Up winners. There will also be a prize of €1,000 for the overall winner of the four regions.

All entries will be assessed by a panel of judges appointed by Inland Fisheries Ireland, Waterways Ireland and the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office.

You can apply for this award by downloading and filling out the entry form (also available as Gaeilge) and returning it before the closing date of Thursday 25 May by email at [email protected] or post to:

TidyTowns Waters and Communities Award
TidyTowns Unit
Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs
Government Offices
Ballina, Co Mayo
F26 E8N6

Published in Inland Waterways

#Swimming - Waterways Ireland has welcomed Maureen McCoy and Paul McCambridge’s efforts to bring their Couch to 5K Swim Challenge to Lough Erne.

The 10-week programme is designed to bring swimmers out of the pool and into the open water. The scheme will run over five fortnightly sessions from June to August 2017 and will provide swimmers with the knowledge, skills and training to ultimately complete a 5km swim event.

The coaches are Maureen McCoy, an English Channel soloist, and Paul McCambridge a North Channel relay swimmer. Both Maureen and Paul will guide swimmers through from the first outdoor swim to competing in this challenging event.

The Couch to 5K Swim Challenge is aimed at swimmers of varied levels who wish to either start swimming outdoors or improve their fitness and speed for events. The coaches have designed a programme that will challenge each swimmer and allow them to acquire new skills, no matter what their starting point.

The five fortnightly sessions will take place on Saturdays starting on 3 June, and will increase in intensity with the aim of completing a 5km swim in August.

There is a fee of £30 for participation. Register your interest at [email protected] or wildswim.wordpress.com.

Published in Sea Swim

#NaomhEanna - The Minister for Transport is being urged to back a campaign to bring Naomh Eanna back to Galway, writes The Connacht Tribune.

The ship once carried passengers (and freight) between the city and Aran Islands, before being withdrawn from service in 1989. It has been lying derelict in Ringsend, Dublin for over two decades.

However, the engine room of the ship is still operational, and campaigners say if enough funds are raised, it will be possible to sail the vessel back to Galway.

Previous attempts to bring the Naomh Eanna home to Galway suggested that the ship could be a major tourist attraction for the city – by changing it into a floating museum.

The proposed project would cost in the region of half a million euro – but a recent application to Fáilte Ireland has been rejected, and campaigners feel the rejection was unfair.

The campaign group has now written to Minister Shane Ross asking him to intervene. Campaigner Sam Corbett says grant support is crucial if the Naomh Eanna is to return home to Galway.

Afloat adds that this rare surviving example of a Dublin built ship dating to 1958 had faced the prospect of been scrapped, however a campaign was launched to save her several years ago. 

The disposal of the ship was to be undertaken by Waterways Ireland in a disused Georgian graving dock. This historic dry-dock (see proposal to save) is located also in Ringsend, at the Grand Canal Dock Basin from where the veteran vessel languishes. 

Published in Historic Boats
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