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Displaying items by tag: Grand Canal

Offaly County Council is calling on the public to have their say on the Banagher Marina Master Plan in an online consultation.

It’s hoped that projects arising from the master plan will help to reposition Banagher Marina as a tourism draw on the Grand Canal, offer new opportunities to local businesses and improve the experience of living in and around the town for local residents.

The council says the project is “one element of a larger regeneration plan for the town and is being led by a multidisciplinary team of experienced architects, engineers, planners and tourism consultants”.

It adds: “Help us develop a master plan for Banagher Marina and environs to create an area that everyone will love.”

The online consultation is open for submissions until Tuesday 14 December.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises users of the Grand Canal towpath in Co Kildare from Lock N1 in Osberstown to Soldier’s Island in the Sallins area that sections of this towpath will be closed to the public until Wednesday 22 December.

This is to facilitate essential ongoing canal maintenance works in the area, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says.

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

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

Boat removals from Ireland’s canals jumped in 2020 — with the total for the year at 150% of the previous four years combined.

The figures were revealed by Minister of State for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan in his response to a Dáil question from Dun Laoghaire TD Cormac Devlin requesting a breakdown of the number of boats removed from rivers, canals and inland waterways between 2016 and 2020.

Across the canals network (and excluding the Shannon Navigation and Shannon-Erne Waterway) under the jurisdiction of Waterways Ireland, a total of 45 boats deemed to be in breach of bye-laws were removed in 2020.

This compares to just seven the previous year, 17 in 2018, none in 2017 and seven in 2016 — a total of 31 in the four years leading to 2020.

On the Shannon Navigation and Shannon-Erne Waterway, the figures over the last three years were more consistent, with 17 removals in 2020, 12 in 2019 and 15 in 2018. There were no removals on these waterways in 2017 or 2016.

Minister Noonan noted that the rise in removals on the canals last year can be credited to a compliance programme initiated by Waterways Ireland “to remove abandoned, sunken and non-compliant boats, vessels and structures from the canals network”.

He added: “This programme by the agency has resulted in improved water quality, improved compliance, and removed many unsightly boats, vessels and structures from the waterways.”

The Canals Bye Laws 1988 and the Shannon Navigation Bye Laws 1992 provide Waterways Ireland with the powers to remove boats, vessels and other structures that are in breach of the bye-laws.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a number of live-aboard barge owners on the Grand Canal feared losing their homes under last year’s removal drive.

But they were spared at the 11th hour when Minister Noonan stepped in to promise engagement with Waterways Ireland on a long-term solution.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises all masters and owners of vessels on the Grand Canal that Offaly Rowing Club will be holding its Tullamore Time Trial on the inland waterway in the Cappincur area on Saturday 2 October.

The event will take place between Ballycommon and Daingean between 9am and 4pm. Navigation will be restricted during this period, and masters of vessels are requested to comply with event stewards.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on the Grand Canal that Lock N1 on the Naas Branch is closed to boat passage until further notice due to a recent vehicle collision with the adjacent Osberstown Bridge.

The lock cannot currently be operated as it is unsafe to pass underneath the bridge until repairs are carried out, the cross-border body for the island’s inland waterways says.

Published in Inland Waterways

A live-aboard boat owner had a lucky escape after an explosion on his vessel at Hazelhatch on the Grand Canal on Saturday morning (28 August).

It’s reported on social media that the owner was trapped on his boat until the side blew out as the fire was blocking the only exit.

The man is said to be recovering with family after suffering burns to his face and experiencing shock.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

Low water levels continue to be experienced on the Grand Canal’s Main Line and Barrow Line as well as on the Royal Canal, Waterways Ireland has warned.

Some levels are currently 450mm down on normal levels, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says, as the sources that supply water to the navigations have been affected by the recent warm and dry spell as well as unfavourable rainfall patterns.

Masters of vessels are advised to proceed with additional caution and to contact the relevant water patroller for latest advice and assistance.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland has issued a number of updates for inland waterways users on the Erne System, Grand and Royal Canals and Barrow Navigation.

On the Erne System, the Galloon Bridge refurbishment project southwest of Newtownbutler will commence next Monday 23 August.

Vessels will not be permitted to navigate under the bridge at Galloon due to these works, which are expected to continue for 16 weeks.

In addition, the Carrybridge jetty and slipway will be closed for five days from Monday 23 to Friday 27 August for the realignment of jetty fingers. The electrical supply to bollards and pump-out will be turned off during this period.

On the Grand Canal, low water levels are being experienced on both the main line and Barrow Line, which are currently 300mm down on normal levels.

Masters of vessels are advised to proceed with additional caution and to contact the relevant water patroller for latest advice and assistance.

On the Royal Canal, canoe polo events will take place in the Kilcock Harbour area this Friday 20 August.

Waterways Ireland requests that the polo pitch areas and harbour be kept clear of all vessels to facilitate the events, and that masters of vessels comply with instructions from marshals.

Meanwhile, on the Barrow Navigation masters and owners are advised that Clashganny Lock is now fully operational following its temporary closure for essential repairs.

Published in Inland Waterways
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