Displaying items by tag: Waterways Ireland
A flotilla of light and fast boats set off at pace on the River Liffey from the sea lock at Grand Canal Dock to Seán Heuston Bridge below Heuston Station this lunchtime (Wednesday 1 January) to kick off the 2020BC initiative.
The date also marks the 60th anniversary to the day the Grand Canal was closed to commercial traffic by CIÉ.
2020BC will centre around a calendar of waterside community celebrations and events to which boaters and other waterway users can travel next year.
This reflects the navigation circuit being very much ‘open for business’ for leisure, pleasure and amenity use.
The 2020BC project is being co-ordinated for IWAI Dublin by longtime waterways advocate Mick Kinahan with support from IWAI’s Kildare, Offaly, Shannon Harbour, Royal Canal and Barrow Branches.
Today’s flotilla also carries some offerings from the Grand Canal to Heuston Station — symbols from locations along the canal’s length, of both past and present commercial and leisure activities.
Little known outside the boating community, the Grand Canal is also part of what is known as the Green & Silver: a navigation route comprising the Royal Canal, Camlin River, River Shannon, Grand Canal and River Liffey — and one that the IWAI is keen to promote during 2020BC and beyond.
IWAI president Alan Kelly said: “We are fortunate in IWAI to have experienced volunteers who are fully committed to the promotion of our waterways for the common good and the socio-economic benefit of all.
“We also have an excellent working relationship with Waterways Ireland and with Government departments, local authorities, development associations and community organisations all along the inland waterways network.
“We look forward to 2020 being a year of further positive engagement with all of our waterways partners to promote the development and improvement of our waterways.”
Jim O’Riordan, IWAI Dublin chairperson, added: “IWAI Dublin look forward to 2020BC and are grateful for the support from our peer IWAI branches around the inland waterways network for the project.
“We also want to thank Waterways Ireland who have been involved in helping us plan today’s launch and events for the coming year; and Clontarf and Poolbeg yacht clubs among others who have assisted arrangements for the launch flotilla.
“For 2020BC, what we are promoting is not just about boating, we intend to work with as many communities as possible to develop their interests further in the inland waterways in their vicinities and look forward to meeting many new waterways friends.”
Full details of events for 2020BC will be made available on the IWAI website.
Individuals are instructed not to engage in swimming, diving or immersive activity such as deliberate capsizing in the waterway pending further advisory.
Any facilities/activity providers are also requested to ensure, to the best of their ability, that clients do not engage in the same activities.
The HSE further advises all individuals partaking in watersport (and in turn for activity providers to advise their clients) of the risk, which is small but real, of acquiring Leptospirosis from water-based activities.
Persons with symptoms (a flu-like illness) within a three-week period after engaging in a water-based activity should seek medical attention immediately, mentioning any watercourse exposure.
Further information on Leptospirosis is available from the HSE website. Other enquiries can be directed to [email protected] or by contacting the Waterways Ireland Communications Office on 071-9650787.
What is Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection frequently found both in domestic and wild animals, which can spread to humans. Leptospirosis in Ireland is usually picked up from rats. The infection is spread through contact with rats, or rat urine generally.
Leptospirosis is a recreational hazard for those who participate in outdoor sports in contaminated areas and has been associated with water sports.
Occupations at risk would include veterinary surgeons, farmers, meat inspectors, butchers, abattoir and sewer workers.
High-risk water includes stagnant, dirty-looking or obviously polluted fresh water found in ditches, drains, ponds, lakes or rivers. Sea water poses less risk.
What precautions should I take?
- Do not go swimming or boating in water which is known to be or obviously polluted.
- Cover any cuts or abrasions with a waterproof dressing while swimming or canoeing.
- Shower thoroughly as soon as possible following water activities.
- Make sure the sporting clothing you wear minimises your contact with water.
- Wash your hands after water activity, handling any animal or contaminated clothing and always before eating, drinking or smoking.
- Clean any cuts acquired during swimming, fishing or other near-water activities. Apply first aid as soon as possible.
Rinsing dogs who have been swimming in high risk water reduces the risk of infection.
- High-risk workers should always wear their personal protective equipment and clothing at all times when in high risk situations.
- If you get a flu-like illness within a three-week period after engaging in any of these activities you should visit your doctor immediately, and tell her or him of your concerns and possible exposure to dirty or stagnant water.
Waterways Ireland has closed the public footpath running south from O’Briensbridge playground alongside the River Shannon south of Parteen Weir for the foreseeable future, following the discovery of critical failures in two culverts under the path.
Preliminary investigations revealed the need for urgent replacement work on both culverts, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says.
It adds that due to the sensitive habitat at the site on the Clare/Limerick border, planning permission is required before the works can go ahead, and this could take up to six months to come through.
“The health and safety risks associated with the two structures are such that it is essential the route is closed and remain so, until after the refurbishment works are completed,” it says.
“Waterways Ireland is aware that this is a popular route for the local community and apologises for any inconvenience caused by this closure.”
Heritage Minister Josepha Madigan has championed plans to upgrade the Barrow Canal towpath as a 46km blueway as a major economic boon for the communities it connects in counties Laois and Kildare.
The upgrade scheme between Lowtown and Athy in Co Kildare is expected to contribute €2.5 million annually to the local economy, as well as create 90 jobs in the construction phase with around 130 direct and indirect roles in tourism, recreation and hospitality.
Kildare South TD Martin Heydon said it was “a brave decision and the right decision” to go ahead with the 46km section of the 115km proposed Barrow Blueway, suggesting that those who lodged planning objections to the section that was to run through Co Carlow “will, in time, look at us with great envy and wish they had this”.
This past spring, planners blocked proposals for a hard surface path extending to St Mullins in Co Carlow, though the matter divided opinion among locals and users of the waterway.
Asked to comment on the matter by Mr Heydon in recent Dáil questions, the minister said the Barrow Blueway plan as a whole “is about much more than the water and water-based pursuits”.
She continued: “It offers opportunities for walkers and cyclists on the adjacent paths, connecting communities and enhancing the tourism potential of an area by showing off some of its incredible natural amenities.
“It is also about preserving and protecting an artificial ecosystem with diverse species and an important water supply. It is, and will be, a hook … to get people to stay an extra night in the area.”
Asked to confirm whether Waterways Ireland or the relevant local authority has “lead responsibility” for maintenance of the route, Minister Madigan said: “There would be a collaborative approach on the canals.”
She added: “There is no point in having a canal unless it is properly maintained and looked after. Waterways Ireland does as much as it can.
“We want to be able to ensure that people can canoe and kayak, and enjoy a quality experience on our canals. Waterways Ireland is always conscious of that with all its canals.
“There will be challenges in ensuring any kind of quality experience. Waterways Ireland has worked in partnership with Sport Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and other bodies to ensure that.”
The minister also suggested that exploring the possibility of funding from Fáilte Ireland for the project “is certainly something that should be investigated”.
Waterways Ireland recently partnered with Get Ireland Walking to launch the Barrow Way Walk later this month, to help encourage the use of Ireland’s green and blue spaces.
Backed by Sport Ireland, the walking event place next Sunday 29 September in Carlow, Laois and Kildare with routes for different levels of mobility between 5km and 18km.
For further details and how to register to take part, see barrowwaywalk.ie
The start of cutting season next month could see the reopening of a disused canal in Co Roscommon for paddle sports, as The Irish Times reports.
Drummans canal was built in 1719 as one of a number of private canals on the former Rockingham Estate and is now part of present-day Lough Key Forest Park, but the 150m-long waterway has been overgrown for a number of years.
The Irish Times has much more in the story HERE.
The cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says Carnroe Weir is essential to the retention of water levels and boat movements along the length of the Lower Bann.
Works would be carried out over an 18-month period and in such a manner so as to conserve the heritage value of the current structure and to give a minimum operational life span of 75 years, Waterways Ireland adds.
The main in-river works would be undertaken in the summer months when water levels are typically lower.
In addition, the existing fish pass would be replaced with a new modern pass to comply with the requirements of Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera), which has responsibility for the fishery on the Lower Bann.
Waterways Ireland says it has engaged with consultants to undertake surveys and assessments, as well as consultations with landowners and other stakeholders, with a view to finalise details of the scheme and submit a planning application — including a full Environmental Impact Assessment — by the end of this month.
Users of the Royal and Grand Canals must already pay for annual permits at a cost of €152 per vessel — and now the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways is reviewing its by-laws for the Shannon with a view to extending similar charges there, as well as spot fines for breaches of regulations.
But what might be the biggest hit to Shannon boaters’ budgets may be the end of the current winter mooring regime.
Vessels can currently be moored at public harbours and jetties for five months at a cost of €83 per boat. This would be replaced under the plan with the summer ‘five-day rule’, which itself is under review.
However, the proposals would also bring an end to the current charges for the use of locks. A smartcard system for locks and bridges was rolled out on the Shannon Navigation last autumn.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
The agreement is focused on delivering “a programme of works to improve the quality of the visitor and user experience along Waterways Ireland’s waterways”, the cross-border body said in a statement.
These include the Barrow Navigation, Royal and Grand canals, Shannon-Erne Waterway and Shannon Navigation.
It’s aimed to link these projects with Fáilte Ireland’s regional brands the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and Dublin.
And the partnership also involved cross-promotion and marketing efforts, such as Waterways Ireland’s Shannon Masterplan to develop sustainable tourism in the Shannon corridor, and future plans to encourage visitors’ engagement with the canals in Dublin city.
“The waterways are a key part of the tourism offering in rural Ireland and the Dublin region,” said Fáilte Ireland chief executive Paul Kelly.
“Unlocking the incredible tourism potential of waterways such as the Shannon River which flows through so many rural communities will mean generating a huge number of opportunities and growth in local economies.”
Waterways Ireland acting CEO John McDonagh added that the Shannon Masterplan in particular “is an excellent first step in our programme and we look forward to a fruitful partnership which benefits the communities and economies across our waterways”.
In 2018, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways commenced a programme of works to restore the lock chamber and gates in order to bring the lock back into operation.
The existing lock gates at Camden Lock, which date from the canal’s opening in 1796, are in a derelict state and have not been operated for over 30 years.
They are currently tied open, and the lock has been closed off by the installation of stop logs on the dock side of the chamber.
However, the Camden Lock chamber is generally in a good structural condition.
The lock structure, existing timber gates, all associated machinery including sluice boxes and gate winches, stones sets and limestone paving are all designated and classified as a heritage structure.
Initial regeneration works by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority beginning in 2002 concentrated on decontamination of the land at Grand Canal Dock.
Redevelopment of the area has continued steadily since then and includes the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Google Docks and numerous new apartment buildings located along the perimeter of the dock.
The proposed works for Camden Lock are split in two distinct areas, beginning with preparatory works:
- Installation of temporary steel stop logs
- De-watering the lock, dredging and sediment removal from the lock floor and initial cleaning of the walls
- Removal of the existing derelict gates
Surveying of the lock chamber and existing gates in advance of construction of the new gates
This phase would be followed by the refurbishment works:
- Installation of new timber lock gates (replicas of the existing), including new access for all pedestrian walkway over the breast gates
- Installation of hydraulic rams, to allow for automation of the new gates
- Aquatic vegetation removal, racking out and repointing of joints
- Preservation of the integrity of the heritage site, including: all gate machinery, winch mechanisms, wheels, pot and pintels; wall ring insets; stone sets and limestone paving
Despite the growing demand for houseboat living in Ireland, there are only 28 residential moorings across the whole of the country, as RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland reports today (Wednesday 3 July).
Waterways Ireland says it received as many as 10 queries a week from prospective houseboat residents — who will likely be waiting some time as only Grand Canal Dock and Shannon Harbour, with eight moorings, have provision for live-aboard homes.
Others make do with part-time waterways living, using the current 90-day permits to move around the country’s canals and rivers.
But with demand on the increase, it’s a situation that Waterways Ireland acknowledges has to change. RTÉ Radio 1 has more on the report HERE.