Funafloat! Proposed Waterborne Collaboration between Dublin Waterways enthusiasts, Community interests and the new National Childrens Hospital

WHAT THE PROJECT AIMS TO ACHIEVE

The Funafloat Project aims to introduce young patients, and particularly the mobility impaired, to water-based activities on the Grand Canal circular line, an historic navigation that is easily accessible from the NCH site. In addition to ease of access, a key advantage of this particular section of waterway is that it provides a 3 Km passage, uninterrupted by locks, linking Suir Road, Rialto with the former canal harbour at Portobello.

As part of this application, we have prepared a detailed map (attached and also available online) showing the canal section and highlighting a number of adjacent cultural and historic sites, including the Jewish Museum, Griffith Barracks (now Griffith College), the National Stadium and Portobello’s historic quarter.

HOW IT WILL WORK Funafloat’s ultimate goal is to procure and operate a small powered craft, designed to be easily accessible by the mobility impaired, from a specialist supplier, based on a specification agreed by a local design team. For the project to be sustainable, it is vital that the initial promoters achieve buy in from the local community and on this basis it is hoped that the operation of the service can be entrusted to local voluntary effort.

The present application relates only to Phase 1 of the project, entailing a detailed Design and Feasibility study to be lead by IWAI, in association with NCH and with the essential community dimension provided by Arts organisation, Common Ground.

The study will proceed in a number of distinct phases, starting with the setting up of a small project team. A preliminary design concept will then be discussed with the charity, Wheelyboat Trust and a qualified boat builder. In this phase there will also be interaction with Kinsale Outdoor Education Centre around their experience in operating a wheelchair accessible craft.

Another key consideration at this stage relates to configuring an effective launch and recovery mechanism and this aspect will ideally be planned and delivered as part of Dublin City Council’s plan for a kayak launch area at the junction between the linear park and the canal at Anne Devlin bridge.

Based on feedback a set of designs embracing all the elements outlined will be finalised with full costings and this will lead to the next phase where the focus will move to project funding and operational issues, including volunteer recruitment and training.

The intention at this stage is that the new facility would be inaugurated in 2022 to coincide with the opening of Ireland’s new World Class Childrens Hospital.

Design Partners: Wheelyboat Trust UK – wheelyboats.org Kinsale Outdoor Education Centre – kinsaleoec.com

Community Partner: Common Ground Community Arts Organisation – commonground.ie

Statutory Authorities: Dublin City Council Canals Committee, Dublin City Council Parks Department, Waterways Ireland.

Map Link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1rQvr-NJGQUkM5F-5GE1GhZPp75GJF34l&usp=sharing

Submitted by Inland Waterways Association of Ireland Dublin branch. Web: iwai.ie/dublin

Contact for further information: Reg McCabe PRO IWAI Dublin PRO mccabeone@gmail.com

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