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Displaying items by tag: Royal Canal

Christmas has arrived along the Royal Canal Greenway as a line-up of festive things to do and see at its multiple trailheads are announced.

In Kildare, visitors can veer off the greenway to experience a taste of Christmas with Festive Afternoon Tea at Carton House, available Thursdays to Sunday.

In Longford, those keen to kick start their New Year’s health resolutions early can hire a bike from the Midlands Cycle Hub in Cloondara or at Ballymahon Greenway Cycles to avail of seasonal special offers on bike hire over the December and Christmas holiday period.

Then unwind and enjoy festive entertainment after your Royal Canal visit with a performance of Longford’s Snow White Christmas Pantomime which is running at St Mel’s College from 20 December to 2 January.

Also not to be missed are Fiona Egan’s Festive Cookery Class (runs throughout December, booking required) and Longford’s Traditional Panto, which runs from 20 December to 2 January (book here).

If you’re in Westmeath, get into the festive spirit at Mullingar Arts Centre this Christmas with its extensive programme of festive fun events and performances for all the family.

Visitors seeking to stay awhile can find respite at popular accommodation options in Westmeath including the centrally located Newbury Hotel and the family-run Annebrook House Hotel, situated in the heart of Mullingar nearby and renowned locally for its annual breath-taking Christmas foyer display.

Refuel at one of Westmeath’s picturesque eateries. Nanny Quinn’s, located on the banks of the Royal Canal by Lock 18 at Thomastown Harbour, is a must-taste restaurant serving fresh, local home-cooked fare and is adorned with Christmas lights offering a charming festive experience.

And see Santa while you stop off in Westmeath at the Andean Alpacas Christmas Experience where you can explore the festive pathways, visit the elves and receive a gift from Saint Nick himself.

Your little elves can even post a letter to Santa in a special letterbox destined for the North Pole, feed the alpacas and site and have storytime with Mrs Claus.

Speaking about the events planned for the festive season, Sharon Lavin of Waterways Ireland said: “As Ireland’s longest greenway covering over 130kms across Kildare, Longford, Meath and Westmeath, the Royal Canal Greenway has plenty of activity happening this Christmas.

“There is an abundance of activities planned near our four main trailheads, whether you are in the mood for a festive feast or taking the whole family to see Santa, visitors can enjoy the seasonal beauty of the Royal Canal Greenway while still partaking in the festive events and activities along the way.”

Check out the Royal Canal Greenway on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter where more information about events is being added daily.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland has launched a request for tender for the development of a visitor and tourism plan for the Clondra/Richmond Harbour and Tarmonbarry area at the western end of the Royal Canal.

According to the RFT, the intended plan “will chart and identify the recreational and tourism interventions required to boost tourism, recreation and economic regeneration in the area”.

Among its objectives are “to take an integrated development approach to conserve, develop and promote [the area] as a significant recreation/tourism destination in the centre of Ireland”, and “to set out a clear, realistic and achievable tourism vision…over a 10-year period”.

In addition, any plan “must be compatible with the environmental designation and zoning” of the localities covered on this part of the inland waterway.

A particular focus for Waterways Ireland will be to “protect and restore one of our heritage assets” — namely the old lock keeper’s house at Lock 46, which dates from the early 19th century.

The deadline for receipt of tender applications is 3pm on Thursday 13 January 2022. More details can be found on the eTenders website HERE.

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

Masters of vessels on the Royal Canal are advised that two lock gates in West Dublin and North Kildare will be replaced over the winter period starting from this week, according to Waterways Ireland.

Works will begin on the middle gates at the 12th Lock in Castleknock and the deep gates at Lock 15 near Kilcock on Monday 15 November, with an expected end date for both works of 14 January 2022. Waterways Ireland apologies for any inconvenience caused to users of this inland waterway.

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

The Royal Canal Greenway is the place to be this upcoming Halloween with 16 spooktacular events happening all along the 225-year-old Royal Canal this mid-term break.

The greenway, which is the longest in Ireland at 130km, encompasses four counties — Kildare, Longford, Meath and Westmeath — and has an abundance of stops with plenty of activities for all interests this Halloween including a haunted train, a spine-tingling med-evil exhibition, a Halloween feast and even a spooky science camp!

Sharon Lavin of Waterways Ireland said: “We are thrilled to have such a wide variety of offerings this Halloween along the Royal Canal Greenway. Across all four counties through which the Royal Canal Greenway travels we have something for everyone throughout the week.

“Whether you want to spend your days enjoying leisurely walks in the countryside or entertaining the family between cycle stops you are sure to find what you are looking for. It’s easy to stay over and keep exploring.”

Waterways Ireland has put together a handy list of events to make sure you avoid the horror of missing out this Halloween — but be sure to act fast as booking is essential for many of these happenings.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on the Royal Canal that a breach in the canal has occurred in the vicinity of Richmond Harbour.

A significant reduction in water levels has occurred on the level between Locks 45 and 46 on the inland waterway.

Repair works commenced today, Monday 18 October, but there will be no access to Richmond Harbour from the Camlin River or from the eastern side through Lock 45 until further notice.

Masters and owners of boats moored in Richmond Harbour are advised to check on their boat regularly as water levels stabilise and rise again. Waterways Ireland says further updates will be provided in due course.

Published in Inland Waterways

The 130km Royal Canal Greenway from Maynooth to Cloondara was launched in March this year and proved a big hit with locals and visitors alike over the summer months, according to Waterways Ireland.

Now the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways has commissioned Tracsis Traffic Data to gain feedback and delve deeper into who the greenway’s users are and how they’re using it via an online survey this month.

“We want to understand how the Royal Canal Greenway is contributing to the visitor economy across the counties of Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford,” Waterways Ireland says.

If you have recently visited the Royal Canal Greenway anywhere between Maynooth to Cloondara, the short five-minute survey asks you to share your thoughts on the experience.

The link is also available via QR codes placed along the greenway, and there’s a chance to win a €100 shopping voucher for those taking part. The closing date for the survey is Sunday 31 October.

Published in Inland Waterways

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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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

Who is Your Sailor of the Year 2021?
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At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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