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Displaying items by tag: Waterways Ireland

#marinescience - RV Corystes, Northern Ireland's research vessel is currently berthed in Belfast Harbour in support of the NI Science Festival.

RV Corystes operated by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) is docked on Queen’s Quay, downriver from central Belfast along the north banks of the River Lagan. The vessel had been open to public visits, however there is so much more involved in the annual NI Science Festival which began events last week and continues until 24 February. 

There is over 180 events (including those for families to enjoy) and spread across more then 50 venues. A wide range of stimulating events will be available to focus on the wonders of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

Also according to the festival website, during the day there will be a range of workshops, talks and interactive activities for young people, parents and schools. As for evening events, there will be an eclectic mix of scientific debate, talks, theatres, comedy, music and film for adults.

What about the HMS Caroline’s KS2 Schools programme which offers a range of STEM-themed packages throughout the month of February, for more details click here. 

On the festival's final day, 24 February, under the category Natural World, science and wildlife TV presenter Liz Bonnin will present Galapagos: Evolution and Global Change. In addition later that day, Liz will also present: The Problem with Plastics. 

For a list of all categories in the festival programme and events details and how to book click here in addition to visiting their facebook page.

Published in Marine Science

Waterways Ireland and Leave No Trace Ireland are working in partnership again to deliver their River Explorers programme.

River Explorers engages local primary school children to take pride in their local river, lake or canal.

Funding was successfully secured during 2018 to run the programme from a number of local authorities including Cavan, Longford, Fingal, Kilkenny, Limerick and Clare.

The programme runs throughout February and March, and for 2019 increases from 17 to 20 days given the additional level of funding secured.

The programme will be taking place at the 12th Lock in Castleknock and Richmond Harbour, Clondra on the Royal Canal; Twomilegate on the Shannon; Ballyconnell on the Shannon-Erne Waterway; and Graiguenamanagh on the Barrow.

Waterways Ireland says schools have been “very eager” to participate in the programme, with all available sessions now fully booked.

River Explorers is a one-day programme which aims to enable participants to become aware of the geographical location, leisure potential and biodiversity value of their local river, lake or canal through outdoor and hands-on learning, skills training, resource development and raising public awareness.

“Creating positive memories, healthy lifestyles, and physical wellbeing as well as paving the way for creating opportunities for caring for our natural heritage are all integral facets of a project that has sustainability at its core,” says Waterways Ireland.

“This project will empower primary school students to connect with their natural environment and enjoy their natural heritage responsibly and ethically.”

Each participating school group will take part in classroom-based sessions in the morning followed by outdoor sessions in the afternoon at their local waterway.

“The idea in the morning session is to impart the knowledge and skills the participants need to understand how to identify the wealth of biodiversity on the local rivers and canals, be able to anticipate how their use of these waterways impacts on this and the measures they can take to minimise this impact,” the organisers explain.

“The afternoon session is about putting the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom into practice. Students will have the opportunity to discover the vast array of wildlife that calls the inland waterways their home.

“Each group will learn how to identify some of the plants and trees along canal and river banks and even come face to face with some mini-beasts living in these ecosystems.

“Leave No Trace Ireland and Waterways Ireland are delighted to partner in the delivery of what promises to be an excellent education programme.”

Published in Inland Waterways

A series of consultative workshops on the feasibility of an iconic Pilgrim Way between the Shannon Navigation and Erne System took place earlier this month.

In late 2018, West Limerick Resources in partnership with Waterways Ireland and 13 local development companies (LDCs) and associated local authorities commissioned SLR Consulting and Alan Hill Tourism Development to investigate the feasibility of developing a 350km cross-border Pilgrim Way along the inland waterways.

The area under consideration is a 20km-wide corridor which uncovers a unique and vast pilgrim heritage on and along the inland waterways, from the Shannon estuary in Co Kerry northwards through the Shannon Navigation, Shannon-Erne Waterway, and Erne System in Co Fermanagh to Co Donegal.

The aim is to develop an iconic international ‘Pilgrim Way’ based on the rich early Christian and Viking heritage of the Early Medieval period in Ireland.

Well known ecclesiastical sites include Scattery Island, Iniscealtra (Holy Island, Clare), Clonmacnoise (Offaly), Quaker Island (Lough Ree), Boyle Abbey (Roscommon), Devenish Island (Lough Erne) and the iconic pilgrimage site at Lough Derg (St Patrick’s) in Donegal, among others.

Many more, lesser known sites are included in the overall analysis for a total of more than 100 sites in total. Waterways Ireland has more information about the project.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Combined mooring and passage permits and extended mooring permits for the Grand Canal, Royal Canal and Barrow Navigation for the 2019 season are now available online from Waterways Ireland.

All permits will run until Thursday 31 October, with annual renewal on 1 November each year. Applications require a photo of the vessel and a copy of its insurance (third party minimum).

Applicants can decide to print their own permit or have a hard copy sent by post. Submitted applications will receive an acknowledgement email, and once approved, an online link will be emailed for payment.

Questions regarding the application process can be forwarded to the inspectorate at [email protected] or by phone to 09064 35690 (9am-12pm Monday to Friday).

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Funding for Waterways Ireland is on the rise, and particularly for projects in the Dublin region, according to Heritage Minister Josepha Madigan.

Responding last week to a Dáil question from Cavan-Monaghan TD Brendan Smith, Minister Madigan outlined that estimates for 2019 provide for an allocation of €25,117,000 for Waterways Ireland, representing an overall increase of €1 million on last year’s original allocation.

Within this figure, capital funding for Waterways Ireland has been increased by €800,000 from €3,580,00 to €4,380,000 in 2019.

In response to Dublin West TD Joan Burton, through whose constituency the Royal Canal flows, Minister Madigan provided a breakdown of Waterways Ireland’s Exchequer (current and capital) funding allocation from 2016 to present.

The level of funding provided for maintenance and upgrade of waterways, canals and rivers in Co Dublin specifically as been forecast at €3,153,665 for 2019 — compared to €1,158,136 in 2018.

Responding to a follow-up question from Deputy Smith regarding specific capital funding for maintenance and improvement works on the Shannon-Erne Waterway, Minister Madigan outlined that Waterways Ireland plans to complete 10.4km of Greenway enhancement towpath as well as advance plans for a full-scale Greenway along the 64km route.

Capital funding allocated for Shannon-Erne works is €125,000 for 2019, and Waterways Ireland is partnered with local authorities for three projects to the tuned of €311,500:

  • Development of a Blueway trail between Leitrim Village and Kilclare with Leitrim County Council (€162,000 WI contribution).
  • Development of a Blueway trail between Ballyconnell and Bellaheady Bridge with Cavan County Council (€124,500).
  • Development of forward planning for a trail extension from Aghalane to Lock 1 at Corraquill with Cavan County Council (€25,000).

The minister underlined that any requests for additional funding from Waterways Ireland in 2019 “can only be considered on their merits, taking into account the organisation’s strategic business objectives for the waterways network and the estimates and annual budgetary processes.”

Previously, Kildare South TD Fiona O’Loughlin asked the minister the extent to which she expects an amicable resolution to issues between Waterways Ireland and traditional dwellers and recreational users of the Grand Canal in Co Kildare.

Minister Madigan replied that Waterways Ireland “continues to concentrate on boats which consistently remain in breach of the bye-laws”, and that the cross-border body “will consult with its stakeholders in the drafting of additional bye-laws to ensure proper regulation of craft on the waterways” following the signing into law last summer of the Heritage Act 2018.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - The proposed Blueway route between Toome and Coleraine along the Lower Bann corridor as moved a step closer to fruition as work was recently completed on Phase One of the project at Glenone.

In the joint venture between Mid Ulster District Council and Waterways Ireland, supported by Angling NI, Honourable Irish Society, National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland and local landowner William Chesney, a new multi-use public path along the riverbank was developed.

This accesses an additional 25 coarse angling stands installed as part of the phased works that complement the existing 89 angling stands and associated facilities already at the site, known locally as Molloy’s Ford.​

The work, delivered by Mid Ulster District Council, completed by IL Contracting and project managed by Robinsons & Sons, Ballymoney, was made possible by funding from Waterways Ireland and is part of a proposal to develop a Blueway route from the town of Portglenone to Newferry West, a length of approximately 7km.

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Sean McPeake, welcomed the development, saying: “The council recognises the importance of sensitively and appropriately maximising the potential of our natural attractions, such as the Lower Bann flowing through our district, and this project is an example where building collaborative partnerships has resulted in an improved river corridor that will generate and sustain a vibrant and healthy community and economy.

“As well as providing recreational walking, cycling, running and angling opportunities to local people, the site will see international visitors in June when it hosts the 2019 FIPSed 25th European Coarse Angling Championship.”

Waterways Ireland’s Stephen Douglas said of this first phase: “It has brought together a wide range of stakeholder partners in delivering what is the first phase of establishing a Blueway path between Portglenone and Newferry and provision of infrastructure to host the 2019 European Coarse Angling Championship. Our vision is to develop Blueway infrastructure, where possible, along the full length of the Lower Bann River.

“To this end we hope to continue working with our partner organisations to develop the product, gain statutory approvals and pursue funding. Blueways developed to date along our navigations have proven to engage local communities and visitors alike and have contributed significantly in economic and social regeneration of towns and communities along our waterways”.

Blueways are a network of multi-activity recreational trails, based on or alongside idyllic inland waterways, which provide scenic routes into the heart of the countryside traversed by canoe, bike or on foot. Their value lies not only in the recreational opportunities that they offer residents and visitors, but also in their potential to stimulate local businesses and regenerate local areas.

For more information on the project, see www.midulstercouncil.org

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland has issued a notice for masters and owners of vessels that the Department of Finance intends changing the law regarding the use of marked gas oil, or MGO, in private pleasure craft from 1 January 2020.

The change follows the recent EU ruling against Ireland regarding the use of MGO — colloquially 'green diesel' — on pleasure craft.

The Department of Finance will propose an amendment to the Finance Act 2019, and once the amendment is enacted, the use of MGO as a propellant by private pleasure craft will be illegal. The practical repercussions of this are that private pleasure craft will need to use standard auto diesel as a propellant.

EU Directive 2003/96 defines “private pleasure craft” as “any craft used by its owner or the natural or legal person who enjoys its use either through hire or through any other means, for other than commercial purposes and in particular other than for the carriage of passengers or goods or for the supply of services for consideration or for the purposes of public authorities.”

In simple terms, the change to the law means that private and hired pleasure craft operating in the Republic of Ireland must use auto diesel from 1 January 2020. Commercial and public authority craft are exempt from the requirement.

Waterways Ireland says further information can be obtained from the Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - The Waterways Ireland Events Programme is now open for 2019 and welcomes applications from inland waterways and waterside communities seeking support to start and grow sustainable events.

Taking place annually for the past 13 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 and learning new skills, these events have most importantly been about having fun on the waterways under the auspices of Waterways Ireland, 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.

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

“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.”

The application form and guidance notes can be viewed and completed online. Terms and conditions apply. The closing date the receipt of completed applications is Wednesday 16 January.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland’s YouTube channel is this week featuring a series of ‘Stories from the Waterways’ highlighting various community groups and cottage industries that have made the most of their local environment close to Ireland’s canals, lakes and rivers.

The first short film brings to life the work of Row the Erne, a group of experienced and novice rowers that meets every Saturday to row a traditional curragh built by the community themselves.

In Pollagh, Co Ofally, the Devery family tell the story of how the Grand Canal spurred the development of a brick-making industry, the skills from which survive to this day.

In Co Meath, the Ribbontail Padders comprises a group of families who took over an old lockkeeper’s cottage as a base from which to provide canoeing lessons on the Royal Canal.

And on the Lower Bann, joiner Bradden Braillie of the Portna Workshop talks through some of the vital work required to maintain the infrastructure of Ireland’s inland waterways, especially when dealing with technology such as original lock gates that could be hundreds of years old.

For a different perspective of the waterways, ‘river view’ images from this past summer’s Google Trekker survey of the River Shannon is now live on Google Maps.

In conjunction with Waterways Ireland, the Google Trekker Loan Programme toured from Lough Allen to Loop Head gathering data for what amounts to “the first such water-based collection of imagery on the island of Ireland”.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland is involved with the European project Green WIN, which aims to address excess energy use and high carbon emissions generated by pumping equipment and systems to keep waterways operational.

This project is funded under Priority 2 ‘Low Carbon’ of the European Regional Development Fund Interreg North-West Europe 2014-2020 and is led by Canal and River Trust (UK).

The other project partners are Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat (NL), Université of Liège (BE), Voies Navigables de France (FR) and Vlaamse Landmaatschappij (BE).

The project aims to use trials of low-carbon water pumping technologies, systems or processes to show north-west European water management organisations how energy consumption and CO2 emissions for such operations can be significantly reduced.

From these trials, and by demonstrating a methodical approach that can be used after the project is complete, Green WIN aim to achieve 15% energy savings and CO2 reductions at 11 trial sites in Ireland, the UK and France by 2021, reducing energy use by 778,000 kWh and CO2 emissions by 195 tonnes.

Main outputs and pilots will be an infrastructure audit, technology trials, investment, procurement and business planning guidelines (a Greener Pumping Technologies Toolkit) and an established support network.

Green WIN will roll these out to other water management organisations by encouraging them to carry out new installations as their existing equipment reaches end of life.

The project will also aim to influence change in behaviours as well as legislation to reach a greater take up of greener technologies, lower energy usage, reduced emissions and more organisations involved in taking forward the technologies demonstrated in the project.

For more information on the project, visit the GreenWIN website.

Published in Inland Waterways
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