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#royalcanal – Spencer Dock Sea Lock at the Royal Canal in Dublin has been closed til further notice due to unforeseen repair requirements at one of the lock gates.

Upcoming Newcomen Bridge Lifts are also cancelled until these works can be carried out.

Waterways Ireland has apologised to customers for inconvenience caused and say they will issue an update notice when further information is available.

Published in Inland Waterways

#ulstercanal – Minister Humphreys joined Waterways Ireland on site this morning at the start of project works on the Ulster Canal at Derrykerrib Bridge.

After many years of planning and consideration, the Ulster Canal project has reached the stage of equipment on-site in the first phase of works required to extend the Erne navigation from its existing limit at Quivvy Lough to Castle Saunderson Estate. Minister Humphreys secured the approval from Government to proceed with the project in February 2015 and Waterways Ireland have moved quickly to ensure progress is made. This project has the potential to act as a catalyst for the regeneration of this border area. It will provide a wonderful recreational facility for local communities and should act as a significant draw for tourists.

The 3km channel will involve the construction of a new canal cutting and associated bridge with improved 'air draft' as the current Derrykerrib Bridge lacks sufficient space for boats to pass underneath. It is also planned to dredge the River Finn to increase depth for navigation.

On site the Minister saw ground investigation work being undertaken in advance of the main contract. The site investigation information will be used to inform the detailed design stage of the project. The site investigation works will consist of boreholes, trial pits, river bed sampling and contaminant analysis.

Minister Heather Humphreys said "After so many years of talking, it is great to finally see works underway on the restoration of the Ulster Canal between Upper Lough Erne and Castle Saunderson. After securing approval from the Government for this project earlier this year, I have been very keen to see works getting underway as soon as possible.
I have no doubt that this project will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of this border area. It will provide a wonderful recreational facility for local communities and will help to attract tourists into the region.
I am also very pleased that Waterways Ireland is working with Monaghan County Council on the possible development of off-road cycling and walking facilities along the route. This would help to further maximise the benefits of the restoration of the Canal for the wider community."

Dawn Livingstone, Chief Executive, Waterways Ireland confirmed "Waterways Ireland is proceeding with the work on the Ulster Canal as Minister Humphreys has secured the approval needed. Preliminary works will be completed shortly enabling Waterways Ireland to begin dredging in summer 2015 and to have the works completed to Castle Saunderson in 2016. "

Published in Inland Waterways

#ulstercanal – Waterways Ireland has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys that she has secured Government approval for the restoration of an initial section of the Ulster canal from Lough Erne to Castle Saunderson.

Waterways Ireland has received planning permission for this work.

Work on the Ulster Canal will involve dredging a 2km section of the Erne River and the construction of a new navigation arch at Derrykerrib Bridge to accommodate boat traffic.

Work will commence on the project in April 2015 and is expected to be completed 12 months later.

Dawn Livingstone Chief Executive of Waterways Ireland stated "The development of the Ulster Canal will be a welcome economic and tourism boost to the area. Waterways Ireland will continue to work closely with the Minister and her officials to bring this project to a successful completion."

Published in Inland Waterways

#inlandwaterways – When English writer LTC Rolt made a round trip from the Shannon to Dublin in 1946, traversing the Grand and Royal Canals, he was considered an eccentric. In the 1940s commercial traffic on the canals and rivers of Ireland had dwindled to almost nothing. Rolt's notion that these waterways could be a source of joy to leisure boaters was considered pure whimsy. But it was the book Rolt published after this trip, Green and Silver, that was to act as inspiration for the formation of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) in 1954.

There were other catalysts, too, that fired up the Association. The swing bridge at Athlone was to be replaced with a fixed span. The Royal Canal had already fallen into disrepair and was closed to navigation. Dublin Corporation proposed to lay a sewer along the Grand Canal and fill it in to make a road. The IWAI determined to oppose the authorities in their attempts to impede and close the network of waterways.

IWAI and the Waterways of Ireland is a celebration of sixty years of the Association doing just that. It begins with a rattle through the waterways themselves – the many rivers, lakes and canals. A short history of the IWAI follows, interesting as much for the names listed at the inaugural meeting as for what was achieved. Two of these were Colonel Harry Rice, retired from the British Army, and Sean McBride, dedicated Republican, politician and Nobel prize winner. Brian Cassells, writer and compiler of this book, comments 'I smile when I think of a dedicated Republican being best friends with a retired Colonel of the British Army.'

This fact says much about the compelling charm of boating in Ireland – it is a great social leveller. The portraits of people include George O'Brien Kennedy, boat designer; Syd Shine, showband leader; Rosemary Furlong, RNLI fundraiser; Jim McGarry, skipper. A diversity of people who were passionate about the rivers and canals, the boats and buildings.

The backbone of the IWAI remains the branches, and these are covered in full. It is the reasons for their creation, and the progress made, that make these descriptions come alive. How local opinion in Kenagh on the Royal Canal was certain it would never be re-opened (it was). Volunteers working on the Lagan Navigation clocking up 11,000 hours to restore Ireland's only flight of four locks. Coalisland branch members who possessed not a boat between them, dedicated to saving their canalside heritage.

The IWAI still has a campaigning role. There are notable successes in the book, given their own special pages – Ram's Island on Lough Neagh, the Royal Canal, and the Boyne Navigation. There is hope for the restoration of the Ulster Canal.

Brian Cassells has put together a book of immense charm, lusciously produced, rich in photographs. There is some repetition of facts, perhaps inevitable in a book with many different contributors. Nonetheless it is a valuable record of, and insight into, an organisation which has been instrumental in safeguarding a network of waterways that is among the most beautiful in Europe.

Published in Inland Waterways

#loughderg – Lough Derg boating firm Shannon Sailing Ltd has acquired Williamstown Harbour in Williamstown, Whitegate, Co. Clare.

The harbour was seen by Shannon Sailing Ltd as 'a perfect location' to expand its marina footprint on Lough Derg. The intention is to bring back Williamstown Harbour to its former glory and establish it as the premier marina on the Clare Shoreline.

Williamstown Harbour was built in 1834 when the Dublin Steam Packet company set up its base there.

Williamstown harbour was acquired on Tuesday 8th October 2014. Located at Williamstown, Whitegate Co. Clare, the property boasts berthing for 25 boats, slipway, workshop, storage facility, diesel facilities, showers, toilets, offices, rental accommodation as well as a number of Motor Cruisers. Denis Dillon of Shannon Sailing said:  'Our Team are very excited about this project and feel with our experience in marina management and providing professional services through our workshop, chandlery shop and training centre that customers in both our Marinas in Williamstown harbour and Dromineer will see the ongoing benefits.

 

Published in Inland Waterways
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#Angling - Proper management of farm watercourses – whether large rivers or small streams – is critical to ensuring high levels of biodiversity, according to a new leaflet jointly produced by Teagasc and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Speaking at the launch of Minding our Watercourses last week, Catherine Keena, countryside management specialist with Teagasc, emphasised the importance of farming in harmony with nature and biodiversity.

“The marketing of Irish farm produce relies on our ‘green’ environmental image," she said. "Watercourses contribute significantly to biodiversity, often being the most valuable habitat on the farm.”

IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne acknowledged the important role of farmers in the management of watercourses. “Smaller streams, even where no fish are apparent, are critical to the biodiversity of the catchment," he added.

There are 29 species of freshwater fish found in Ireland's waterways, with 14 native species present since the last Ice Age.

The leaflet shows there are different places for different species and life stages within watercourses: salmon and trout spawn on gravels in winter; lamprey spawn on gravels in late spring and summer; coarse fish lay their eggs in weedy parts of the channel; salmon and trout use riffles in the first year and move to deeper water as they grow larger; and juvenile lamprey live buried in silty margins of watercourses.

The new leaflet details best practice management of watercourses. Fencing and providing an alternative source of water is recommended as this avoids damage to the river bank and bed, reduces siltation, prevents fouling with pathogens and prevents the escape of nitrogen and phosphate.

Allowing native trees to grow along watercourses stabilises banks, creates a natural buffer zone, provides valuable habitat for flora and fauna, controls in-stream temperature and weed growth and provides shade and shelter for livestock. Buffer strips alongside watercourses intercept silt, nutrients and improve bank stability.

Farmers are reminded to watch out for and report invasive plant species which smother out smaller native species, which die back to leave large bare areas in winter, resulting in soil erosion.

Fish and their spawning grounds are protected under the Fisheries Acts (1959-2010). In-stream works should not be carried out without prior consultation and the approval of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

If maintaining watercourses, the advice is not to disturb the non-working bank slope; retain vegetation at the water’s edge; leave the working bank slope intact; remove vegetation and silt material from the open channel only; not to remove stone or gravel place spoil along the bank outside the bank-full line, spreading thinly; and leave a buffer of 20 metres at the downside end of a drain to act as a silt trap.

Published in Angling

#blueway – Waterways Ireland advises masters and owners that the Waterways Ireland Blueway launch event will take place on Sat 11th October a large fleet of canoeists will assemble at Drumshanbo Lock at 1130hrs and proceed to Acres Lake for 1200hrs for the formal launch of the Waterways Ireland Blueway Canoe Trail. Thereafter the fleet will proceed downstream towards Leitrim Village to arrive by 1500hrs.

Masters should proceed at slow speed when approaching this stretch of waterway during the event and note any directions issued by the organisers and safety marshals controlling the event. Masters are reminded to keep their wash low to avoid upsetting canoes and other low freeboard craft associated with the event.

Published in Inland Waterways

#loughderg – Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Mr. Alan Kelly TD today launched a brand new website dedicated exclusively to the promotion of the inland waterways of the Lough Derg region.

www.discoverloughderg.ie provides visitors to the region with information on places to visit, events, accommodation providers and restaurants, special offers, and land and water based activities.

The website is one of a number of marketing initiatives being rolled out over the coming months and during 2015 to establish the Lough Derg area in counties Clare, Galway and Tipperary as Ireland's premier lakeland destination.

"Lough Derg is the most important tourism asset in this region, and the lake has the capacity and the potential to entice and host domestic and international visitors alike," stated Minister Kelly at the launch of www.discoverloughderg.ie.

The Minister added: "We need to continue to work on increasing the demand for lakeside and leisure activities and attract tourists into the Lakelands Lough Derg Region. An online presence is just one activity to assist us in doing this".

Minister Kelly confirmed that a €2million stimulus package is being invested to progress the objectives of the "Roadmap for Experience Development and Destination Marketing Plan 2014-2017" for Lough Derg, which was launched earlier this year.

Implementation of the Plan is being co-ordinated by the Lough Derg Marketing Group (LDMG), comprising Fáilte Ireland, Waterways Ireland, Inland Fisheries, Clare, Galway and Tipperary County Councils, LEADER and tourism trade representatives from the private sector.

In addition to the website, the LDMG has coordinated a promotional video for the Lakelands Lough Derg Region, which is available to view on the newly launched website and which local tourism businesses are encouraged to incorporate into their websites. Lakelands Lough Derg will also be promoted on websites across France and Germany later this year, while a domestic marketing campaign is planned for the national print and broadcast media in early 2015.

Joe MacGrath, LDMG Chairperson and Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council commented: "One of the key objectives outlined in the Roadmap is to improve orientation around Lough Derg for visitors. This will be achieved by erecting new signage to create a sense of arrival and enhance the visitor experience in exploring the area. It will focus on the three counties of Clare, Tipperary and Galway that border the lake with signage from motorways to the regional and local roads included in the scheme. Work is progressing in relation to this project and new signage is expected to be put in place in 2015".

"The marketing and promotion of Lough Derg is an ongoing process," explained Áine Mc Carthy, Tourism Marketing Coordinator for Lough Derg, who added: "For example, the Lough Derg Marketing Group launched a pilot food tourism initiative, A Taste of Lough Derg 2014, in June of this year which became an instant success generating public attention on social media through a series of events organised by the tourism trade in July and August. The initiative, which continues this month has created a significant interest in local produce available around Lough Derg and has heightened awareness of Lough Derg as a food tourism destination".

"The initiative will be extended next year to get more of the tourism trade involved, with more events taking place throughout the summer months offering visitors to Lough Derg a choice of food events to attend," added Ms. Mc Carthy.

Meanwhile, the LDMG has been involved in an EU Project called TRAP (Territories of Rivers Action Plans) since March which involves improving stakeholder engagement around Lough Derg.

Businesses wishing to be added to www.discoverloughderg.ie or to have their details updated should send an email to [email protected]

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland has responded to concerns over preparatory works connected with the proposed Barrow Blueway.

Described as one of the key recommendations of the Barrow Product Development Study, the development of a 'blueway' scheme along the Barrow Line and Barrow Navigation is still in its "early survey work" stages before any further steps in the planning process, according to the cross-border body for Ireland's inland waterways.

"If the environmental reports are favourable, Waterways Ireland together with the eight agencies [Carlow, Kilkenny, Kildare and Laois County Councils and four Leader companies] will formally apply for planning permission in early 2015," it said in a statement.

"Contrary to speculation, the proposed development of the trackway would entail the use of clean stone and compacted quarry dust to a maximum width of 2m similar to that which is already in use along some of the trackway.

"It is the intention of the agencies to develop this trackway as a sustainable multi-activity leisure route from Lowtown to St Mullins and ultimately linking Dublin to Waterford."

Waterways Ireland also underlined that the Barrow Blueway "is entirely focused on sustainable rural regeneration and development through the provision of a recreational and tourism product of economic and social benefit to the local communities.

"For example, the Great Western Greenway in Mayo of shorter length, contributes an €7.2m annual to the local economy and has helped create 38 new full time equivalent jobs and sustained another 56 jobs."

However, many locals - including broadcaster Olivia O'Leary - have expressed their "horror" at any attempt to disturb the present towpath, a matter that was up for discussion on KCLR FM's Sue Nunn Show last Thursday 14 August.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland has confirmed that the construction project to develop houseboat mooring facilities for the Grand Canal in Sallins, Co Kildare has now recommenced on site. 

It's now advised that as a consequence of the delay, which Waterways Ireland assures was unforeseen, the contract will now be completed in August. 

Waterways Ireland says it "will ensure that the previous contractual difficulties do not result in any reduction in the quality or standard of the completed project. 

"Waterways Ireland apologies to customers, residents and local businesses for any inconvenience caused by the unforeseen delay to the contract."

For further information please see Waterways Ireland's current Waterway Work Programmes.

Enquiries relating to the Sallins Houseboat Facility project are directed Waterways Ireland's on-site representative at 087 990 1935.

Published in Inland Waterways
Page 4 of 27

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