IWAI Royal Canal Branch– The Start
The IWAI Royal Canal Branch was set up in December 2017 to amalgamate and give a combined voice to users and enthusiasts strung out along its 145 kilometer (90 mile) length. Until recently there had been an IWAI Foigha-Keenagh branch at the western end of the canal, and to the eastern end there are two very active branches, IWAI Dublin and IWAI Kildare, but nothing in-between. Following a year in which the Royal Canal had been virtually closed to traffic without notification, water levels had been allowed to drop to levels not seen since the reopening in 2010, and finally, a boat had to be craned out to avoid further damage incurred while dragging the bottom, we had all the motivation to mobilise and form a Royal Branch. The Foigha-Keenagh branch was re-envigourated and morphed into the Royal Canal branch to represent the canal in all regions not already represented by IWAI Dublin and Kildare branches.
Present at the AGM (left to right); Denis M-Baker, Mick Kinahan, Judith Hearne, Gerry O’Hara, Fred McCollum, Elaine Allen, John Moriarty (Proprietor: Mary Lynch’s), IWAI President John Dolan, Andrew Owen-Griffiths, Finian Dardis, Linda & Jim McLoughlin, Padraic Kellehan and Eoghan O’Connell.
An icy, early December morning couldn’t keep people away. Apologies came only from two people, Kåre Bye who was back in Norway and Kate White-Miggan who was hospitalized recovering from a recent accident.