The annual Dublin Rally which seeks to raise the profile of boating
within the city area and to draw attention to the Capitals waterways
is held this year between May 9th and 23rd. There was a large
increase in entries this year with 23 entries from both the Shannon
and Grand Canal – our sincere thanks to all who made the trip. Some
people had a very smooth run into the city from Lucan, but queues
formed a few times as problems built up. The divers were needed a few
times to clear rubbish off props and more than once to clear
obstructions in locks. Both Waterways Ireland and our volunteer lock
operators had to contend with a lot of water. While most boats made
the run from Lucan to Grand Canal Dock in under the 12 hours, two
boats took 15. However, with the exception of one downpour early in
the morning, the weather held up. Our thanks to Waterways Ireland
staff and the diving contractors for their assistance.
Although the new Sea Lock at Spencer Dock is now completed no
entries were possible from the Royal Canal for the 4th consecutive
year. Hopefully we will get a chance next year to enter Spencer Dock
(if not to progress further into the Royal).
A full programme of events took place including the trip to the
“head of the river” at Islandbridge and a Small Boat Rally on the
upper reaches at Chapelizod which was graced by IWAI President Paul
Garland with the new Nissan Pathfinder. On Tuesday 12th, Noel Griffin
gave a very informative and well-received talk to an attentive
audience at Poolbeg.
The weir at Islandbridge continues to enchant with its remarkable
scenery and birdlife; all within 3 miles of O Connell Bridge. Although
the weather this year was anything but kind, we were rewarded with a
few bright spots interspersed with squally showers. The remarkable
thing about this year’s trip up the Liffey is that it actually
The saga of the new Samuel Beckett Bridge threatened to scupper
plans for the trip and it was not until 2 days before the scheduled
date that we received confirmation that the river would be “open”.
However, we did get an opportunity to get up “close and personal” with
the new structure and we must admit it is a thing of beauty and
something which does our river (and our city) proud. Given the
forecast of gale-force winds and thunder storms, safety concerns
dictated that the narrow boats and barges stayed on the moorings while
the “DubhLinn” and 4 cruisers went upriver to the traditional mooring
point at Islandbridge.
Beth O'Loughlin of Aqualegia took home the Dublin Branch's
Endeavour Cup - a very well-deserved award and a small recognition of
her tireless crusading on the waterways.
Anyone who has a chance to voyage on the Liffey now will concede
that Dublin’s quayside has improved dramatically over recent years and
although there may be a temporary blip at present, there are many fine
plans to further improve the city’s waterside. Hopefully, when the HBA
boats visit us later in the year we will get another chance to revisit
the Liffey and sample its wonders.
Spencer Dock Sea Lock Flood Defences declared complete
May 12th 2009 saw the great and the good of Dublin turn up to declare the Flood
Works completed. You may recall that the works on the Sea Lock at Spencer
Dock (Royal Canal) was initiated both to improve the navigability of the
Royal Canal and to improve the flood defences of the area. The new flood
gates complete a programme of flood protection which were started following
the unprecedented tidal flooding in February 2002. The flooding followed the
highest tide then, or yet, recorded (since 1923). The East Wall Area was one
area which was badly affected by the February 2002 floods and the Spencer
Dock measures have been designed to provide flood protection to nationally
recognised standards and include provision for foreseeable climate changes
in sea level. The works at the Sea Lock have involved Dublin City Council, OPW, DDDA and Waterways Ireland. In addition to installing flood defences
and restoring the Sea Lock, water, electrical and telecom utilities have all
been re-routed. A plaque was unveiled by Lord Mayor, Eibhlin Byrne, and
Minister Martin Mansergh. However you can see from the accompanying photos
that we were well represented too. Three boats from the Dublin Rally fleet
motored from Grand Canal Dock to tie-up beside the Sea Lock entrance for the
opening ceremony. While it wasn’t the formal opening of the Sea Lock to
navigation, the end of the long wait is in sight and our boats are ready for
Recent Talks organised by Dublin Branch of IWAI -
GPS on the Inland Waterways, speaker Noel Griffin
On Tuesday 12th of May, a large crowd from many branches of IWAI
assembled at Poole Yacht & Boat Club to hear a very informative talk from
Noel Griffin. Noel brought along a few sample GPS units so people
could see hands-on what all the fuss was about.
Grand Canal, Past, Present and Future- speakers John McKeown (Waterways
On 20/04/09, John McKeown of Waterways Ireland presented a profusely
illustrated slideshow on the history of the Grand Canal, its
engineering, economics etc. The restoration and engineering works
of the 1980's through to today was well covered. This well attended
event was followed by a good Q&A session covering many topics including
the contentious issues of the navigability of the canal, the future use
of the Grand Canal Dock, the future of the Waterways Visitor Centre and
the associated jetties and the opening of the Royal.
Around the World for fun - speakers Geraldine Foley and Peter Maxwell
24/03/09, Geraldine Foley and Peter Maxwell shared their experiences of
more than 10 years of cruising the world on a shoestring. They've
been sailing the world since 1996 in a home-built 50' yacht, Mithril.
A very entertaining talk/slideshow was followed by some very probing
questions from Dublin IWAI and Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club members where
we learned much about budgeting, welding, boat design, shopping, fishing
and a little too much information about Peter's dentistry skills.
Details of their last voyage are at
http://sailmithril.tripod.com/thevoyages. Their last voyage was from
Ireland to the Southern Ocean and back to Ireland. From Kerguelen in the
French Antarctic Territories to Atlantic Canada by way of Australia and
islands in the Indian Ocean. They were the first Irish yacht ever to
visit Kerguelen. Their most recent micro trip (I think) was an
ice-breaking run on the Newry Ship Canal. Peter and Geraldine were
nominated for the 2008 sailor of the year award. See
here a short 7 minute RTE report from 2003 on an earlier voyage to South
Fingal Council to include Royal Canal strategy in its next development plan
(as reported in
Community Voice 16-29/01/2009) Plans to enhance and protect
the Royal Canal in Dublin 15 drawn up by Fingal County Council planners have
been approved by councillors and will now form part of the Council's
development plan review scheduled to take place later this year. The report
"Royal Canal planning and development strategy for Fingal" ... recommends
that "the Royal Canal corridor should be a high quality vibrant and
attractive linear greenway recognised and protected as a recreational,
historic and natural resource." It proposes a number of necessary
works within that corridor including resurfacing tow-paths, management of
vegetation, removal of graffiti, creation of boat mooring facilities, picnic
areas, improved pedestrian access, the appointment of a canal warden and the
erection of information panels. ...
An official of the planning department is quoted as saying that
"the County Development Plan review will propose new zoning and new
objectives to enhance and protect the canal side amenities of the
canal. This will determine how new development along the canal
corridor can contribute to the amenity of the canal side by promoting
design features at appropriate locations along the canal bank. These
may include enhanced footpaths, fishing, boat mooring, viewing
platforms for wild life observation, decorative lighting,
interpretative information panels, signposts or small restaurant
services. Council planners will then work with developers to promote
the added value the canal can bring to any new development."
The report "Royal Canal planning and development strategy for Fingal"
was drawn up by Martha Gouldsbury.
Dublin Branch of IWAI launches new small-boat
Dublin is blessed with three navigable waterways, the Grand Canal, the Royal
Canal and the River Liffey. All three are completely underutilised. We
appreciate that not everyone has a barge, cruiser or similar that is (1)
suitable for the canals and (2) is convenient to Dublin. To that end,
Dublin branch has organised a number of Small Boat Rallies on
the Dublin waterways - by small boats, we mean tenders, RIBS, canoes, steam
launches and similar. We ask you to
register your interest in joining us on one
of these events by filling out our short web form. We'll get
back to you with information about any planned small boat events in the
We held TWO small boat rallies in May 2008.
Our 3rd Small Boat Rally of the year was held on 12th July 2008 -
some photographs of the day are here. Our 4th, also on the
Royal Canal was held on August 30th. Both were held in conjunction
with the RCAG. A 5th was held on November 9th to Shandon Gardens,
Phibsborough. See the short
We held three in 2009 on the canals with a third on the Liffey. See
We've 4 organised for 2010 - if interested, please
register your interest in joining us on one
of these events by filling out our short web form.
Dublin Canals Initiative
The intention of the Dublin Canals initiative is to develop a management and
maintenance framework for both the Grand and Royal Canals in consultation
with the respective partners, Waterways Ireland, IWAI Dublin Branch, Dublin
City Council respective Departments and others. Our focus is to ensure that
both waterways are dredged where required to upgrade the navigation and for
our part we will promote and encourage use of the canals. This in our
opinion will be a long term process as it is totally subject to adequate
funding. However, we recognise that the initiative is under the direct
control and auspices of Dublin City Council and we will support the strategy
in whatever way we can to achieve our goals and objectives. The Branch is
actively participating in this initiative.
As a result of our involvement with Dublin City Council and Waterways
Ireland in this forum some progress has been made in the area of Litter
control and planning issues along both canal corridors within the city area.
web-based survey was conducted (closed 06/Feb/09) into the use of Dublin's Canals and associated docks -
its sponsored by Waterways Ireland, Dublin City Council, Failte Ireland and
Dublin Docklands Development Authority.
We've no results, but the questions were:
1. Are you completing this survey as an individual or as a representative of
a particular group?
2. Do you live near the canal, work near the canal or use the canal?
3. Who do you think is responsible for the upkeep of the canals?
4. To which canal do your comments apply?
5. How frequently do you use or visit the canal or associated dock?
6. What particular activities, on or beside the canal (or dock), do you or
your group participate in? (please tick all that apply)
7. In what section of the canals do your activities principally relate to?
8. If you are a user, what attracts you to the canal or dock?
9. What problems do you encounter when undertaking these activities?
10. If you use the canal as a means of access to other locations or
activities, what are they?
11. If you do not use the canals or docks for recreational purposes, what
has been the main reason?
12. What management measures would you like to see introduced on the canals
and docks, and their environs?
13. What do you feel generally are the constraints on the greater use or
increased attractiveness of the canals or docks?
14. What opportunities do you believe there are for making greater use and
improving the attractivness of the canals and docks, for the benefit of the
city; the residents; the visitors; and local businesses?
15. Do you have any further comments?
Earlier NEWS items can
be found here covering the period to the end of 2008