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#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland is hosting its second annual Heritage Plan Open Day from noon to 7pm next Wednesday 13 December at its headquarters in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.

Visitors can review all the actions of the Heritage Plan that were progressed in 2017, as well as meet staff from the various divisions within Waterways Ireland to chat face-to-face about potential projects, ideas and support the cross-border body can offer stakeholders in Ireland’s inland waterways.

Come and listen to oral histories, inspect archival material and discuss waterway place names. Sit down and review the wide variety of natural, built and cultural heritage reports commissioned throughout the year.

View the work undertaken by the recipients of the 2017 Heritage Grants Scheme. Staff will be on hand to advise on the 2018 Grants Scheme, too.

Talk to Waterways Ireland about potential projects you’d like progressed in 2018, partnerships you can offer or general queries about the Heritage Plan.

Waterways Ireland’s chief executive Dawn Livingstone will also be present on the day, with eight dedicated slots for one-to-one meetings available to reserve via Doodle.

Have your say in the ‘What Floats your Boat’ public feedback corner where you can leave a comment on what you like or where you think Waterways Ireland could improve our service to our stakeholders.

There will also be free boat trips (spaces allocated on a first come, first served basis) from the Waterways Ireland HQ moorings from 1-3pm.

Take one of two one-hour boat tours of Enniskillen and Devenish Island, or try your hand at a Menapii currach with Row the Erne, winners of the Living Waterways National Award (weather dependant).

Limited parking is available at the Waterways Ireland HQ, which is also accessible on foot from the town centre.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland and the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland will host the World Canals Conference 2018 in Athlone next September on the shores of Ireland’s longest waterway, the River Shannon.

‘Restoring, regenerating, re-imagining’ is the theme of the three-day conference from 10-12 September at the Radisson Blu Hotel Athlone that will feature various tours and sessions designed to inspire and connect delegates from all over the globe.

Register soon for to take advantage of the early bird rates ranging from €345 to €385. Some conference tours also have limited numbers so book early to secure your preferred tour and discount.

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

Cruisers can be booked for four to 14 nights, with four nights’ free mooring at the full service marina adjacent to the conference venue for the first 10 bookings.

For prospective conference speakers, the organisers are inviting abstract submissions till 28 February 2018 within the remit of the theme across the engineering, tourism, recreation, health and well-being, communications, technology, and arts and heritage sectors.

For more on the event, visit the World Canals Conference 2018 website or sign up for the newsletter for regular updates.

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#RoyalCanal - A forthcoming exhibition in Mullingar Library will celebrate 200 years of the Royal Canal through images and drawings from the Waterways Ireland archive.

Featuring a selection of images from the archive and from the Ruth Delany and Ian Bath Collections, the exhibition reveals the fascinating history of the Royal Canal over the past 200 years.

The photographs on display are a snapshot of the long history of the inland waterway but they are also testament to the work and efforts of individuals like Ruth Delany and Ian Bath to personally document its deterioration from the 1970s onwards and to highlight an awareness of the canal during the years of lobbying for support for its restoration.

The exhibition will be on display in Mullingar Library from next Monday 27 November to Friday 8 December during library opening hours:

Monday 10am to 5:30pm
Tuesday 10am to 8pm
Wednesday 11am to 5.30pm
Thursday 10am to 8pm
Friday 10am to 5pm
Saturday 10am to 1.30pm

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland wishes confirms that no further boat movements will be organised into or out from Dublin east of Lock 12 on the Grand and Royal Canals until the 2018 season.

The Grand Canal will shortly be closed for works in the Bluebell area in Dublin, and water levels will be reduced for the winter season.

Waterways Ireland apologies for any inconvenience this may cause its customers and thanks their customers for their understanding in this matter.

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#InlandWaters - In support of the Waterways Ireland Heritage Plan 2016-2020, the Heritage in the Community Grants Scheme for 2018 is now open for applications.

A fund of €20,000 has been allocated to assist community-based heritage projects which compliment or fulfil the delivery of the Waterways Ireland Heritage Plan along the Barrow Navigation, Erne System, Grand Canal, Lower Bann, Royal Canal, Shannon, Shannon-Erne and the Ulster Canal (Upper Lough Erne to Clones).

Applications will be considered from communities seeking assistance for projects related to inland waterways heritage, including data collection and research; good heritage practice in managing sites, collections, objects and more; and supporting fresh approaches and initiatives that link heritage to communities, promoting active engagement.

The deadline for receipt of completed applications, by email or post, is Wednesday 31 January 2018. Further details on the Heritage Grant Scheme are available on the Waterways Ireland website.

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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.

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#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.

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#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
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