History – In Chronological Order

The IWAI was formed in 1954 to promote the development, use and maintenance of Ireland’s navigable rivers and canals. When the River Shannon was almost totally undeveloped for pleasure boating, the IWAI fought the building of low bridges, thus ensuring the development of the river as a national asset.

Later the IWAI successfully fought the threatened closure of the Grand Canal in Dublin and has done much to instigate the improvement of the Barrow and to focus interest and activity on the restoration of the Royal Canal and other closed navigations. It is now supporting efforts to restore the Ulster Canal.

1949I.W.A. formed in England.
1949Green and Silver published by Rolt
1952Leader in Irish Times leads to correspondence and letters suggesting the formation of an Irish inland Waterways Association
1952Correspondence with England commences.
February, 1952Athlone bridge inquiry and decision to replace the former opening span with a fixed span. This decision has serious implications because of the other bridges which need replacing and which are much lower, such as Tarmonbarry and Roosky.
July, 1952Harry Rice publishes Thanks for the Memory.
December, 1953 Meeting held at 58 Seafield Road. Decision to form an Irish I.W.A. and send out notices calling an inaugural A.G.M, to elect officers. This notice was signed by Harry Rice, Vincent Delany. Alf Delany, Bunny Goodbody, Walter Levinge and Rory O’Hanlon.
07-Jan-54Inaugural meeting held in Shelbourne Hotel attended by over 200 people. The following officers and members of Council were elected: President, Colonel H. J. Rice; Vice-Presidents, Major General H. MacNeill, Prof. J. Johnston, Prof. J. Henry. T. G. Wilson, S. MacBride, P. J. Lenihan, J. J. O’Leary, J. F. McCormick, G. Shackleton, D. Williams, W. Levinge and A. Turney; Hon. Secretaries, Vincent Delany and L. M. Goodbody. Hon. Treasurer, G.C.M. Thompson.  Council. Dr. R. O’Hanlon, Dr. A. Delany. Major E. H. Waller. Frank Waters. Dr. J, de Courcy, Ireland, D. Kearns, S. Hooper, Dr. P. C. Denham. A. B. Killeen and S. Shine.
1954The following resolution was passed unanimously: “That this Association is resolutely opposed to any attempt to amend the Shannon Navigation Acts so as to permit the obstruction of the Shannon Navigation and, in particular, its obstruction by the erection of a fixed bridge at Athlone.”
19-Feb-54Athlone Branch formed.
August, 1954The Tanaiste, William Norton. and the chairman of CIE Mr. Courtney, taken on a trip on the Shannon in the St. CLAIR by John Williams, Harry Rice’s son-in-law persuaded to inaugurate a passenger service.
26-Jun-55CIE passenger service inaugurated. This assured a clearance of about 8ft. at all bridges and so opposition to the fixing of Athlone bridge was now withdrawn because ample clearance was assured at Tarmonbarry and Roosky.
1955Branches formed at Killaloe, Nenagh, Carlow and Mullingar.
1956Knockvicar Lock, which had not been operational since the previous Year, was restored to working order as a result of IWAI pressure, and access to Lough Key restored.
1956Shannon Pilot written by Vincent Delany was published by the IWAI with Financial assistance from Bord Failte.
1-8 August, 1956Harry Rice led a rally of boats from Athlone to Lough Key, travelling in an open boat.
1957Beddy Inquiry into Internal Transport recommended that CIE should be permitted to withdraw the commercial boats.
1958The Government prepared a Transport Bill in which Section 22 gave CIE the right to close the canals without further inquiry. The IWAI resisted this strongly and succeeded in getting the section altered restricting closure to waterways which had not been used for a period of five years,
1959CIE Withdrew the canal boats except for a few boats which continued to carry for Guinness into 1960 while a new store in Limerick was being completed.
1960Harry Rice Cup. Annual Essay Competition for Junior Members.
1960First boat hire firms started for the Shannon by O’Brien-Kennedys at Shannon Harbour and Dick McGarry at Roosky.
1961First Annual Shannon Rally with 70 boats taking part – with free fuel.
1962First Spring Rally on the Barrow,
1962Irish Yachting magazine commenced with coverage of IWAI affairs and waterway news.
1963Dublin Corporation’s plans to lay a sewer in the bed on the city section of the Grand Canal and concrete over it to make a motorway are revealed.
1963IWAI’s suggestion of a jetty at Clonmacnois is implemented, Dermot O’Cleary, President from 1962-’67, produced a comprehensive report about the future development of the Shannon, at the request of Bord Failte, indicating the funds that would be required to implement it. Bord Failte allocated the necessary funds, £140,000, and it is significant that almost all the suggestions contained in the report have now been carried out, illustrating the importance of putting suggestions in writing in a well laid out format. Some of the improvements suggested were the opening up of the Lecarrow Canal, Richmond Harbour, larger buoys on the lakes, etc.
1963In response to request of IWAI, C.I.E, permit canoes and open boats on the canals. Carrick Branch, formed in 1960. who have assisted Athlone Branch in the running of the annual Shannon rally, organised the construction of a public slip at Carrick. This branch acquired a name as “the friendly branch” by making a point of visiting the quays in the summer to welcome people to the town and offer help to visitors.
1964At the suggestion of Athlone Branch, a branch was set up in Dublin with the specific object or fighting the Corporation’s threat to close the city section of the Grand Canal.  In future everyone to be a member of a branch with subvention to council funds. Tullamore branch was also formed with the object of trying to generate traffic and the IWAI gave active support to Fr. Murphy’s effort to put Robertstown on the map through the local branch of Muintir na Tire.
1964The deaths of Vincent Delaney on 17 January and Harry Rice on 8 May, the two founder members of the association, who had done so much to bring it into being, were a severe blow.  But they had laid the foundations well and the Association had now grown into a positive and respected voice in waterway affairs.
1964The sea scouts charted the Carnadoe Waters and the I.W.A.I published copies of their chart.  Belturbet and Boyle Branches were formed and there was an awakening interest in the Erne and the possible re-opening of the Ballinamore and Ballyconnell Canal, spearheaded by Peter Denham, the active and militant secretary of the Association from 1955-1967.  Teddy Edwards, a member of the English I.W.A. assisted in carrying out a survey and the tourist boards north and south of the border expressed interest.
1970Regular IWAI newsletters commenced.
1970Lough Derg Branch formed embracing moribund branches at Killaloe. Nenagh and Portumna. Dublin Branch planted trees and improved the appearance of the canal bank at Portobello. O.P.W. produced new bye-laws, some of the provisions of which were considered repugnant by IWAI  Eventually disputed the matter with O.P.W. in the High Court and O.P.W.  decided to withdraw the laws for further consultation. Master of High Court recorded that the IWAI  had “a special interest in the bye-laws.”
September, 1971Fourth City Line Festival held. “Clean-ups” of city part of the Grand Canal organised to try to educate people not to throw their rubbish into it.
June, 1971First annual Shannon Harbour Canal Boat Rally.
May, 1972Canal-boat “Work-in” held on Ballinamore and Ballyconnell Canal at Leitrim. John Weaving’s canal-boat used to remove obstructions from under the bridge at Leitrim and this boat is brought up as far as the first lock above Leitrim.
1972Bagenalstown built a new slip and won the Barrow Award for their efforts to improve the water- front facilities here.
1972Athlone Branch organised the laying of moorings above the road bridge.
1972Branches reformed in Tullamore embracing all places within Offaly, Athy and Mullingar.
1972Dr. lan Bath begin his campaign to “Save the Royal Canal.” Walks held along the Royal Canal to assess its potential.
1973Dublin Branch co-operated with Inchicore residents to carry out “cleanup” of Grand Canal.
1973I.W.A.I, mounted a stand at National Boat Rally in Ely with financial assistance from Bord Failte. Athlone Branch fought proposals to fill in the old cancel and completed work on the Harrv Rice memorial slip which was officially declared open by Sean MacBride on 24 June.
1973Campaign to save the Canal Hotel at Tullamore failed because of intense local pressure to have it demolished.
September, 1973Dublin Branch Organised passenger trips on the City Line of the Grand canal with Robertstown barge carrying in all 1,383 passengers.
1973Co-operated with An Foras Forbartha in carrying out a survey of pollution on the Shannon.
March, 1974St. Patrick’s Day rally held at Robertstown.
April, 1974Canoe race held on the Royal, Canal from Maynooth to Leixlip in which 94 canoes competed.
February, 1974Grand Canal “clean-up” organised with sponsors to raise money for Concern.
April, 1974Royal Canal Amenity Group formed to improve the canal in the Blanchardstown area. Strong ties with the IWAI which also set up a Royal Canal subcommittee to try to awaken interest in the canal in local communities along the route of the canal,
May, 1974Athlone Branch organised “work-in” to lay seven mooring buoys on Lough Ree They re-published Thanks for the Memory,
July, 1974President Childers brought on board the “Phoenix” from Banagher to Clonmacnoise to attend the annual C. of  I, service there.
1974Pressure from IWAI produced Ministerial order directing proper headroom at McNead’s Bridge reconstruction.
1974Meetings held with ministers to try to avoid the erection of a bridge which would obstruct the navigation east of Mullingar.
September, 1974First Royal  Canal News published.
1975North Kildare Branch formed to embrace the Sallins, Naas, Robertstown areas, Branches formed at Longford, Cloondara and Killucan none of which are to prove successful. Long, level rally held for small boats on Royal Canal from Thomastown to Enfield. Work carried out on the canal at Mullingar,
1975Royal Canal clean-ups organised in conjunction with local residents.  Display of Royal Canal Amenity plan at the Architectural Heritage Year exhibition, produced by architectural students and financed by IWAI
1975IWAI Guide to the Grand Canal produced
1975New landing stage below the 36th lock at Shannon Harbour officially opened, work organised by Shannon Harbour rally committee.
1975Study carried out into the commercial potential of the River Shannon by Terence Mallagh and his report was published by I,W.A.I.
June, 1975Further passenger trips held on the City Line of the Grand Canal. August, 1975.

First annual Lough Derg rally held.

1975Emergence of mini-rallies as regular features.
February, 1975Athlone Aerial began.
April, 1976Co-operation given to a charity-sponsored row held from Dublin to Athy.
05-Jul-76Dublin Branch’s waterbus Clonskeagh, which had been commenced in March 1975 is completed, launched and named.
1976Passenger trips operated on Royal and Grand Canals,
1976Royal Canal boat slip was constructed on the twelfth level near Leixlip
May, 1976Rally, at Athy and official opening of the restored dry-dock there.
September, 1976Active participation in seminar in Athlone on the management of the River Shannon in the 1980’s with two of our members reading papers.
1977Dublin Branch carry out repairs to the first lock on the Naas Line.
1977IWAI Barrow guide published
June, 1977First Annual Rally in Tullamore.
August, 1977Work-camp organised by IWAI and Voluntary Service International on the locks between Ballynacargy and Coolnahay. Youth employment scheme on Royal Canal through Mullingar. Work began on construction of lock gate for 13th lock.
1977Terence Mallagh produced plan for a Marina at Ringsend, utilising the proposed motorway plan in Dublin Draft Development Plan; his proposals were well received by the Corporation.
1977Clonskeagh operated passenger trips on Royal Canal.
Mar-78Rally held on the Naas Branch and the restored first lock is brought into action for the first lime.
12 April. 1978New rules adopted at special General Meeting.
April, 1978£1,200 raised in Mirror Raffle for canal restoration.
May, 1978Lough Allen Canal re-opened after years of pressure from Mr. Moonev. I.W.A.I. member in Drumshanbo.
July, 1978First Annual Corrib Rally held by newly-formed Corrib Branch.
September, 1978Scarva Branch formed to campaign for the restoration of the Newry Canal.
1978Lock gate for 13th lock, Royal Canal, completed and awaiting installation by CIE Meetings held with O.P.W. and I.B.R.A. establishing much better relations.
1978Athlone Branch pressed local authority to employ warden to fight increasing vandalism. Experiment proved most successful and warden was re-appointed for 1979.
1978Lengthy meetings on the Brady, Shipman and Martin Shannon Study and IWAI produced a written submission which was sent off to all the relevant bodies.
30-Nov-78Government statement that the Grand Canal system and the Royal Canal will be transferred from CIE to OPW when legislation to give legal effect to the transfer has been enacted.
February, 1979IWAI Shannon Guide published.
15-Apr-79Attending the Dublin Branch Jubilee Rally, the Tanaiste, George Colley, promised that the interim period to the take-over by OPW would be- kept as short as possible.
Sept – Nov 1979Clean Water campaign launched by the IWAI
14 October 1977Rally to Pollardstown Fen to protest against the proposed drainage plans for part of the fen, threat to Grand Canal supply and flora and fauna.
1979Silver Jubilee year prompted the Association to decide to collect all available archives and store these in the new Maritime Museum until such time as a waterway museum is established.
1979Policy document prepared on the Royal Canal, Grand Canal and Barrow Navigation in the light of the government announcement that the canals are to be transferred From CIE to O.P.W.
1979“Clean Water” campaign launched to celebrate Silver Jubilee year. Royal Canal threatened by new motorway plans. Alternative proposals drawn up to retain canal if motorway plans proceed. AnCO scheme in progress on towpaths of 11th and 12th levels.
1979Jubilee rallies to be held in Dublin, Lough Ree, Lough Corrib, The Erne. Tullamore, Shannon Harbour, Shannon Rally, Lough Derg and a number of mini-rallies,
1979ANCO agrees to set up a project to make lockgates for the Royal and Naas canals if suitable premises can he obtained.
1979The Lough Erne Branch is inaugurated.


Feb-80Government decision to halt all further drainage works on Pollardstown Pen and half a million pounds allocated to purchase parts of it.
Apr-80IWAI’s Clean Water Week, posters issued to primary and secondary schools
09-Nov-80Rally to focus attention on restoration of the Naas Canal. Work begins at both ends.
1980Work begins on new Dromod Harbour.
1980Work commences fitting more than a dozen new pairs of gates on the Barrow Navigation
1980Concern expressed about mounting problem of water pollution. The Irish Boat Rental Association publishes a report which shows that boats are only responsible for less than 3% of the pollution on the Shannon.
1980Scarva Branch IWAI mounts campaign to restore the Newry Canal,
26-Feb-81Minister for Transport, Albert Reynolds, inaugurates lockgate ANCO building scheme in premises made available by Messrs Arthur Guinness,
06-Mar-81Ruth Heard succeeded Bill Child as President IWAI
19-Jun-81IWAI becomes incorporated as a limited liability company.
1981“Year of the Royal Canal”: Ballynacargy harbour re-watered and focus on Abbeyshrule
1981Newry Canal survey
1981Minister for Fisheries, Mr Power, announced allocation of £1/4 million for purchase by the State of  areas of Pollardstown Fen threatened by drainage.
1981Boyne Branch established
1981Year of the Royal Canal declared,
1981Inland Waterways Amenity Advisory Council established in UK and IWAI calls for similar body here.
07-Mar-82Offaly Branch walk along the Kilbeggan Line and submit survey to the Minister for Transport,
21-Jan-82IWAI convened meeting to establish Irish Water Sports & Recreation Federation to bring together the bodies associated with water sports to encourage conflict resolution.
Easter 1982Over 50 boats attend the Rally at Vicarstown and about 30 of these then headed off down the Barrow as part of the: Year of the Barrow celebrations
Jun-82Over 50 boats attend Offaly Rally commencing at Edenderry and moving to Tullamore
Sep-82IWAI President calls for greater coexistence, among waterway users as the number of those engaging in various water-based activities increases and tensions arise.
Sep-82Call for more discipline in the use of VHF radios.
30-Oct-82Dublin Branch organises a work party on the 3rd lock on the Naas Canal.
Nov-82Vandalism on the stretches Of the Grand Canal On the outskirts of Dublin increasing.
Nov-82The Executive Committee of the IWAI asks the Government to include the long delayed transfer of the waterways in the National Heritage Act.
09-Nov-82IWAI puts forward a submission expressing concern about Westmeath County Council’s plans to use Lough Owel, which is the principle supply of the Royal Canal, as a drinking water supply.
Dec-82IWAI and Irish Yachting Association attend a meeting with the VEC to investigate using Ringsend Basin as a water sports area.
1982“Year of the Barrow”
1982Upper Barrow Branch established
1982Dromod Harbour completed and work commenced on Williamstown
1982Death of Victor Barham, one of the founders of the Belturbet Branch
1982Carrick Branch explore possibility of developing a marina.
1982Naas Urban Council make money available for timber of Naas Canal lockgates to be made in Watling Street under the ANCO lockgate building scheme.
1983Declared as Year of the Grand Canal
1983“Year of the Grand Canal”: focus by local group on restoration of the Kilbeggan Line.
1983Work on River Erne to Belturbet financed by Bord Failte.
1983IWAI Carrick marina project to proceed.
1983Corrib Branch attempts to stir the Corrib Navigation Trustees into action.
1983Kilcock Festival held in level with water restored.
1983IWAI attends Public Inquiry into plans by local authority to take water from Lough Owel, the main supply to the Royal Canal: permission granted to take 6 million gallons per day.
1983Dublin Branch expresses concern to Dublin Port & Docks Board about the proposed new lifting bridge over the Liffey but told it will open on demand.
1983CIE continues programme of installing lockgates on the Royal Canal completed, by the ANCO scheme.
1983Dublin Branch submits a Scheme for the development of the amenity potential of the Grand Canal from Inchicore to Clondalkin to Dublin Corporation and Dublin County Council,
1983IWAI Council expresses concern to ESB about the height of high voltage cables over the Shannon in view of the increasing numbers of sailing craft with alloy masts.
1983North Barrow Branch of the IWAI re-activated.
Mar-84IWAI publishes a Guide to the Royal Canal.
23-Mar-84IWAI elects its, first President from Northern Ireland, John Suitor.
16-Jun-84A fleet of small boats from the Erne Branch explored the River Blackwater from Moy to Coney Island on Lough Neagh
12-16 July 198435 boats attend the Corrib Rally celebrating the Galway Quincentennial Year.
29-Sep-84Dublin Branch holds a Dinghy Scramble from Cross Guns Bridge, Royal Canal, via the River Liffey to Portobello on the Grand Canal
Nov-84IWAI Council asks Carrick, Belturbet and Erne branches to prepare a report on the possible of re-opening of the Ballinamore &, Ballyconnell Canal, reviving earlier efforts by Peter Denham.
1984“Year of the Corrib”: Weed cutter arrived. Proud that they are still able to drink Corrib water and all boats use chemical toilets
1984Kildare Branch established
198430 new gates completed at Watling Street for the Royal Canal and installation begins by CIE
1984Further branches of the RCAG are formed at Killucan and Maynooth
1984Increasing concern about the water quality on the River Shannon.
1-2 June 1985Derg Branch organise rally at Shannonbridge & Clonfert “In the Wake of St Brendan the Navigator”.
27July-3 Aug. 1985Silver Jubilee 25th Annual Shannon Boat Rally attended by 82 boats from Carrick-on-Shannon to Lough Ree ending up with gales and rain on the final few days.
Nov-85IWAI invited by Brady Shipman Martin to make a submission to their survey of the Grand Canal system and Barrow Navigation commissioned by OPW
1985Shannon Harbour Branch established
1985Boyne Branch established
1985Clonmacnois jetties put in place
1985Death of Ted Barrett who had published “Irish Inland Waterways Holidays” and established a marina at Lowtown in the old Coalyard
1985Death of Terence Mallagh: whose expertise in marine engineering was so vital to the IWAI and who built the waterbus Clonskeagh in his back garden.
1985On-going negotiations with the ESB about low level high tension Cables over the River Shannon.
1985Dublin Corporation and Dublin County Council make grants to provide timber for more lockgates for the Royal Canal.  Westmeath Council suggest a second lockgate scheme at Killucan.  New slips are made at Thomastown, Mullingar and Ballinea Bridge.  RCAG branches at Dublin, Maynooth, Enfield, Kilcock, Mullingar, Killucan and Ballinacargy & Abbeyshrule.
1985Corrib Navigation Trustees carry out a waterborne investigation of Lough Corrib following years of pressure from the Corrib Branch IWAI and issues such as marks, piers, weed control and charting are raised by the branch at a follow up meeting.
May-86New IWAI ensigns available.
03-Jul-86The Canals act finally passed and the official transfer from CIE to OPW of the Grand Canal system Royal Canal and Barrow Navigation made at a ceremony at Robertstown.
November 1986:Derg Branch draw attention to the increasing problem of water Pollution on Lough Derg with no sign of any action from the Government
Dec-86Dublin Branch chairman draws attention to the increasing number of wild mink on the waterway and the damage they are causing to other wildlife.
1986Killucan lockgate factory in operation and produced 6 pairs of gates for the Royal Canal.
1986OPW complete. a detailed survey of the Ballinamore & Ballyconnell Canal and furnish a report to the Minister for Finance.
1986Athlone Branch reprint “Thanks for the Memory”.
1986New bylaws for the canals introduced.
1986Boyne drainage scheme lowered the river in Navan and led to compensatory measures to restore supply to the navigation from Navan to Stackallen with Boyne Branch working on the locks.
198621st Annual Erne Rally.
27-Mar-87Peter Hanna succeeded John Suitor as President.
09-May-87Dublin Branch organise Rally to mark the official reopening of the Naas Canal by Padraig Flynn, Minister for the Environment. Gates for locks constructed in Watling Street.
26-Sep-87Scarva Branch and the Newry Canal Preservation Society organise a rally through Victoria Lock on the Newry Ship Canal.
1987Death of John Weaving; the familiar figure, accompanied by Brockey and Twiggy will no longer travel the Shannon aboard the Peter Farrell and was greatly missed by all his friends.
1987Stockpile of Royal Canal gates awaiting installation.
1987Corrib Trustees repaired Oughterard pier and slip and restored navigation marks.
1987Brady Shipman Martin Grand Canal, Royal Canal & Barrow Navigation, Management & Development Strategy published by OPW.
1987IWAI issue statement to the press about on-going efforts to have the clearance of high tension cables marked and in some cases have the cables raised on the waterways.
1987IWAI make submissions to OPW in relation to the proposed revision of the canals by-laws.
1987IWAI President, Peter Hanna, calls for publication of the OPW Report on the Ballinamore & Ballyconnell Canal and points to the canal’s restoration as a perfect Cross Border initiative.
1987Dublin Nautical Trust sets up headquarters in Ringsend Basin.
198722 dinghies compete in the Dublin Branch Dinghy Scramble from the Royal Canal via the River Liffey to Portobello on the Grand Canal.
17-Mar-88Dublin Branch organise an exhibit in the St Patrick Day Parade using a small barge loaned by OPW.
30 Apr-8 May 1988Dublin Branch Rally to mark Dublin City Millennium attended by 80 boats, the greatest number of boats ever locked down into the city in one day in the canal’s history.
19-Jun-88Rally attended by 33 boats to mark the official reopening of the Royal canal from 13th Lock to Maynooth Harbour.
16-Oct-88Official re-opening by the RCAG of the 18th and 19th locks, the first and second locks on the Killucan flight up to the summit level on the Royal Canal.
1988John McKeown assigned as engineer to the Royal Canal and lockgate installation started in earnest.
1988Death of Billy Beattie who had contributed greatly to the Kildare Branch.
1988Guinness renew the lease on Watling Street and OPW agree to finance timber for the remaining gates on the eastern end of the Royal Canal.
1988Brady Shipman Martin complete their study of the Grand Canal system and the Barrow Navigation,
1988Minister of State at the Department of Finance responsible for OPW, Noel Treacy, instigates a survey of the River Suck to establish if it would he feasible to create a new navigation to Ballinasloe,
1988IWAI Council expresses concern about the increase in “harbour hogging” with the growing numbers of private boats on the River Shannon
15-Jan-89Major breach on the Grand Canal west of the Blundell Aqueduct near Edenderry, 300 to 400 yards of bank carried away.
21-Mar-89IWAI represented on the newly established Shannon Forum which has been given an open agenda.
Summer 1989OPW & ESB experiment with reducing summer water levels to help control winter flooding of adjacent farmland.
Jun-89IWAI welcomes the announcement that the UK and Irish Governments have adopted the restoration of the Ballinamore & Ballyconnell Canal as a flagship project and appointed ESB International as the project managers.
29-Oct-89Royal Canal officially re-opened from 12th lock to Mullingar by Pierce Pigott, Director of Engineering, OPW.
1989New Slaney Branch of the IWAI established.
1989Concerned about management of the Shannon, including water quality, IWAI calls for a Shannon Authority.
1989River Shannon Forum established, with IWAI representation, administered by IFA with strong lobby for the “flooding problem” topping the agenda.
1989Death of Cecil Miller, founder member of Slaney Branch and author of Guide to the Slaney
05-Jan-90Watling Street lockgate factory closed after 10 years: work on gates for the eastern end of the Royal Canal completed and ready for installation.
09-Mar-90Grand Canal re-opened after breach repair and extensive work to the embankments on the long level.
06-Apr-90Damien Delaney succeeded Peter Hanna as President.
16–17 May 1990Ulster Waterways conference held in Dungannon to focus attention on the N.I. waterways
25-30 May 1990Erne Branch hold a Silver Jubilee 25th Annual Erne Rally with a large number of boats and enjoying very good weather,
02-Jun-90Minister Brendan Daly cuts a tape at Blanchardstown to launch a Rally to Mullingar with seven boats completing this historic trip.
30 June–1 July 19901st Slaney Rally held to Enniscorthy.
05-Jul-90IWAI expresses reservations about the Shannon Navigation Act 1990 which Transfers the Ballinamore & Ballyconnell Canal to OPW and certain other functions including introducing new by-laws to include registration of boats.
26-Nov-90Taoiseach, C.J. Haughey and Peter Brooke inaugurated the works on the Ballinamore & Ballyconnell Canal as a flagship North/South project with ESBI awarded the contract.
1990Dublin Branch, anticipating the eventual re-opening of the Royal Canal and the need to provide moorings in the Dublin area appoints members of the committee to discuss the future of Ringsend Basin with Dublin planning officers.
1990Kilbeggan Development Association renovating the stores at Kilbeggan Harbour.
1990Death of George Speirs, who had worked to establish the Upper Barrow Branch.
1990Death of “Doc” Farrell, active Carrick Branch member over a long period.
1990Corrib Branch refurbished Inchagoill pier.
1990Feasibility Study of the Newry Canal completed, commissioned by the three local councils which had been taken over the canal.
1990OPW and the Central Fisheries Board commence a 5-year programme to develop the Grand and Royal canals as coarse angling fisheries.
1990Scarva Branch welcomes the publication of a feasibility Study of the Newry Canal.
1990Preliminary investigations to examine the feasibility of restoring the Lough Allen Canal into Lough Allen.
1990IWAI make a submission to Brady Shipman Martin who are undertaking a study on the future development of the waterways for OPW.
1990Taoiseach C.J. Haughey, suggested the establishment of a North/South Inland Waterways Commission for the development of the waterways of the island of Ireland.
1990Feasibility study commissioned into the re-opening of Lough Allen.
1990Meelick Lock changed from manual operation to hydraulic.
24-Jan-91Offaly Branch welcomes the OPW decision to examine the feasibility of restoring the Kilbeggan Line, Westmeath County Council’s purchase of Kilbeggan Harbour the Kilbeggan Development Associations plans to restore the buildings at the harbour.
30-Jun-91Athlone Branch organise special rally as part of Athlone’s Tercentenary celebration.
27 July–3 Aug 1991Shannon Rally visited the River Suck as far as Coreen Ford and Noel Tracey promised navigation to Ballinalsoe by 1994
03-Nov-91Death of Bill Duggan, long-time exponent of the Barrow Navigation, author of Barrow Guide and founder and active Barrow Branch member for many years.
1991OPW/CIE produced drawings for the railway culvert replacement at Newcomen Bridge.
1991OPW announced plans to construct a Visitor Centre in Ringsend Basin
1991EMDEE T.V.Waterways series started with Dick Warner as presenter.
1991Department of the Environment provided local authorities with finance for pumpout facilities.
1991Work on new harbour extensions at Terryglass and Banagher.
1991Derg Branch carry out work on the Woodford River to encourage use of it by cruisers.
1991With work underway on the Ballinamore & Ballyconnell Canal, the IWAI turns its attention to promoting the restoration of the Ulster Canal.
1991Death of Denis McCartney who had for many years represented the Scarva Branch, who was, in fact, the Scarva Branch.
1991New larger Guide to the River Barrow published by IWAI
1991lncreasing number of private boats on the Shannon. New finger jetties at Dromineer and Mountshannon help to alleviate mooring problems and harbour works are planned for Terryglass and Banagher,
1991Government makes finance available to local authorities to erect pump-out stations as part of the proposal to make holding tanks compulsory: pollution problems, especially on Lough Derg, intensify.
May-92New Shannon Navigation by-laws come into force, including registration of boats, limited duration stay in public harbours an increased scale of charges and requirements in the construction of vessels.
20-21 June 1992Largest ever gathering of canal boats and cruisers at Shannon Harbour to celebrate the 21st annual rally.
1992Ulster Canal project at 8th lock to create a museum in Orr’s Linen Mills at Milltown spearheaded by Erskine Holmes.
1992Restored waterbus Clonskeagh in demand on the Royal Canal.
1992Minister Noel Tracey opened the enlarged Terryglass Harbour.
1992Maureen Denham, typesetter of the Newsletter for many years retired. Jeremy Addis took over and Rank Xerox agreed to photocopy it free of charge.
1992OPW publish the National Canals & Waterways Strategy prepared by Brady Shipman Martin.
1992Erne Branch report representation of the nearly established Lough Erne Management Advisory Consultative Group, a government sponsored body to make recommendations about the future development of the Erne Navigation.
1992Shannon Forum continues to meet focusing largely on the problem of flooding and the lack of co-ordination of the activities of the various statutory bodies involved.
1992RCAG report that all the locks on the eastern end of the Royal Canal have now, been re-gated and dredging continues on the western end of the canal.
1992Erne Branch becomes the Northern Ireland Branch to assist in the promotion of interest in canal restoration projects in Northern Ireland.
05-Mar-93Des Leyden succeeded Damien Delaney as President.
05-Mar-93Eddie Slane, presenting the RCAG report at the IWAI AGM, voices his fear that the replacement of the railway bridge below the 1st lock might not be achieved with all speed. He thanked Athlone Branch IWAI for its active support.
Apr-93Rank Xerox agree to copy the newsletter free of charge.
Jun-93OPW open the Waterways Visitor Centre in Ringsend Basin.
15-Jul-93President Robinson declares the new pier, constructed by the Corrib Branch IWAI at Maam Bridge officially open.
31-Jul-93Minister for Arts Culture & the Gaeltacht, Michael D. Higgins, announces the appointment of Ruth Delany to the National Heritage Council which advises the Minister on all heritage matters including, inland waterways.
20-Oct-93Reprint by Athlone Branch of Green & Silver  by Tom Rolt.
14-Dec-93Newly formed Ulster Waterways Group is launched to promote waterways restoration

in Northern Ireland

1993Kilbeggan Development Association completed work on the canal stores and 50 people participate in a walk along the Kilbeggan Line. Dublin Branch IWAI assist Kilbeggan Harbour Restoration Group with funding for the canal stores project.
1993Brady Shipman Martin National Canals & Waterways Strategy published.
1993New edition of the Shell Guide to the Shannon published in full colour but without the  charts, which will be published separately.
1993Breach in Grand Canal near Ticknevin caused by tunnel collapse.
1993Clones Development Society purchases the old stores on the Ulster Canal for

restoration assisted by funding from the International Fund for Ireland and the EU.

25 March 1994Minister for Arts Culture & the Gaeltacht, Michael D. Higgins, Launches a new Corridor Study of the

Grand Canal in the Dublin area from Ringsend to 12th lock. Study carried out by consultants, Brady Shipman Martin.

23-May-94Official re-opening by Dick Spring and Sir Patrick Mayhew of the Ballinamore & Ballyconnell canal

which is to be called the Shannon Erne Waterway.

27 May-5 June 1994Erne Shannon Rally organised jointly by the Northern Ireland, Belturbet and Carrick branches

of the IWAI to celebrate the reopening of the Shannon Erne Waterway. 160 boats

11-Oct-94The Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, announces in the Dail that funding will be made available in this round of Structural Funding for the completion of the Royal Canal and tenders will be Sought Shortly for the replacement of Moran’s Bridge in Mullingar,  the first of the culverts which have to be replaced.
1994Royal Canal: dredging and lockgate installation proceeding at both east and west ends of the canal, but continued delays with Newcomen railway bridge led to cancellation of the Dublin Rally entering the Royal Canal.
1994Operational Programme for Tourism 1994 – 1999 allocated £22 million for waterway restoration projects, subsequently reduced and some money reassigned.
1994RCAG cancels it’s planned rally in April to mark the re-opening of the Royal Canal to the River Liffey because the railway culvert has not been replaced below 1st  lock.
1994IWAI representative, Colin Becker, becomes monthly contributor on inland waterway news to the radio programme Seascapes.
1994Mary O’Rourke, Junior Minister in Department of Finance, launches new charts of the Shannon published by OPW.
23rd April 1995Twinning ceremony with the Grand Union Canal, UK, Minister Michael D. Higgins unveiled a commemorative stone at Mespil Road.
10-May-95Masonite Corporation get planning permission from Leitrim County Council to build a large fibre-board manufacturing factory near Drumsna on the River Shannon. IWAI conducted intense campaign against the building of the Masonite factory near Drumsna on the banks of the Shannon.  An Bord Planala subsequently ignored its Inspector’s advice and granted permission.
199521 years since RCAG established. Royal Canal restored from River Liffey to Blanchardstown except for the Newcomen railway culvert.
1995Barrow Branch declare 1995 to be “The Year of the Three Sisters” with special events on the Barrow, Note and Suir extending through the season from April
1995Inland Skipper certification scheme launched.
1995All boats to have holding tanks or chemical toilets by 1 April 1996.
1995The Heritage Act 1995 transfers the Heritage Service within OPW , including the Waterways Service, to the Department of Arts, Culture & the GaeItacht.
1995Continuing dredging works on the Barrow Navigation by OPW and a new slip is installed at Goresbridge.
1995A Task Force is set up to implement one of the recommendations in the Grand Canal Corridor Study and a Regeneration Officer is appointed.
1995Tenders are sought for the first phase of work on the restoration of the Tralee Ship Canal using EU Structural Funds. Also included amongst other works in this round of funding is the extension of the Boyle River, work on the Boyne and Corrib, work on the Limerick Navigation and other improvement works on the Shannon.
1995Shannon Harbour Branch becomes involved in major improvement works in the harbour supported by the Waterways Service.
22-Jan-96The Royal Canal Corridor Study is launched, carried out by R.P.S. Cairns for the Royal Canal corridor from the River Liffey to Kilcock. Remit of the Task Force extended to the Royal Canal.
29-Mar-96Liam D’Arcy succeeded Des Leyden as President IWAI.
06-Apr-96Minister for Arts, Culture & the Gaeltacht, Michael D. Higgins, declares The Lough Allen Canal open once more into Lough Allen through a new two-way lock near Drumsbanbo,
20 April-6 May 1996Dublin Branch organise special Rally to mark the 200th anniversary of the opening of Ringsend Docks
21-23 June 199625th Annual Shannon Harbour Canal Boat Rally, attended by 165 boats, the largest number ever seen in the harbour including 34 canal boats 12 of which are over 100 years old. visitors from Grand Union Canal attend and a signpost is unveiled registering 377 miles to Braunston.
26 -28 June 1996An IWAI contingent attends the World Canals Conference in Birmingham and mounts a stand to promote Irish Waterways.
16-Aug-96Death of James C.Brady, founder member and active member of the Belturbet Branch.
20-Nov-96Shannon Forum meets to discuss the implications of the Bowman report Lough Ree –An Investigation of Eutrophication and its Causes which point to serious deterioration in water quality.
1996Death of Mike Thomas who with his wife Heather had set up a boat hire firm near Tullamore which was so important in keeping traffic moving on the canal.
1996Duchas Waterways announced that it is giving 4 ex-canal boats to communities at Clondalkin, Shannon Harbour and Athy on the Grand Canal system and at Killucan on the Royal Canal.
1996Death of Peter Denham, founder member and secretary of the IWAI from 1955 until 1967 who, amongst other things,  spearheaded the protest against Dublin Corporation’s plans to turn the Circular Line into a motorway in 1968 by mounting a picket outside the Mansion House.
1996Visit by a number of narrowboats from the UK, with some of the owners electing to stay on and winter on the Irish waterways.
1996North Barrow Branch revived.

19-25 March 1997            Boat Show adopts Inland Waterways Experience – Ireland’s Best Kept Secret

as the theme and IWAI assist in preparation of the main display.

1997       Death of Cynthia Rice, wife of the late Harry Rice, and active member of the IWAI

particularly the Athlone Branch. She bequeathed “Dunrovin” to the Athlone Branch where the IWAI was first planned in the early 1950s.

1997       Work commenced on the new canal to Boyle to be completed by 1998.

1997       Work commenced on the Suck Navigation to Ballinasloe to be completed by 1999.

1997       Extensive works required at Ballymaglavy Bog on the Royal Canal costing £1.5 million.

1997       Community Employment schemes continue on the Grand Canal in the Clondalkin and Ballyfermot areas with technical and material assistance from the Waterways Service

1997       RCAG report that the Waterways Service have completed dredging the canal to Richmond Harbour except for a short stretch on the summit level.

1997       Kildare Branch continues its work on the excavation of the original side chambers of 16th lock on the Grand Canal.

1997       IWAI is accepted as having charitable status by the Revenue Commissioners.

1997       Des Leyden is appointed a Vice-Chairman of Inland Waterways International and secures Ireland as the venue for the World Canal Conference in 2001.

1997       The Rivers Agency Northern Ireland and the Waterways Service jointly commission a full feasibility study on the Ulster Canal to be carried out by ESBI and Ferguson and McIlveen.

1997       The Zebra mussel, an introduced aquatic pest, reported in large numbers on Lough Derg on the River Shannon.

Feb-98  The Ulster Waterways Group and the Lough Neagh & River Bann Association accept affiliation to the IWAI.

17-Mar-98           Offaly Branch revives the Tullamore-based rally to commemorate the bicentenary of the arrival of the Grand Canal in Tullamore.

May-98 Ruth Heard retired as editor of the Newsletter and was replaced by Brian Goggin.

Jun-98   Lough Neagh & River Bann Association held a rally.

1998       Derek Whelan established Leisureways Holidays, hire boat firm, at Thomastown on the Royal Canal.

1998       Ulster Waterways Group held a conference on the Future of N.I.’s Inland Waterways.

1998       9th Lock, Clondalkin on the Grand Canal developed structural problems but Dublin Rally went ahead lifting the boats out and re-launching them.

1998       Death of George O’Brien Kennedy. His wife Christine died in 1994. They had been one of the first to offer boats for hire on the Shannon.

1998       Barrow boat hire firms publish a joint brochure Pleasure Cruising on the River Barrow.

1998       Saoirse an Uisce project launched for people with disabilities.

1998       Canal Communities Environmental Group formed to improve the Grand Canal in Clondalkin area.

1998       IWAI and the Irish Sailing Association launch a Boat-handling scheme leading to a certificate of competency for boat-handling on non-tidal waters.

1998       RCAG report that work on the infamous railway bridge at Whitworth Road has at last commenced but the Croke Park works will make any re-opening of the canal through Dublin impossible until 2000. Work, on Moran’s Bridge in Mullingar is nearing completion and extensive works have been carried out on the bog stretches between Ballinacargy and Abbeyshrule.

1998       Representatives of the IWAI attend a one-day seminar in Tullamore organised by the Heritage Council to discuss the future development of the Irish waterways.

04-Apr-99            RCAG celebrated 25 years with a rally from 12th lock to Abbeyshrule attended by some Wilderness boats from the UK.

1999       Dublin Angling Initiative to promote fishing on the Grand Canal and Royal Canal in the Dublin area.

1999       Heritage Council conducted a consultation process, held a seminar and published a Policy Paper, The Future of Ireland’s Inland Waterways. – Tá Leagan Gaeile le fáiil chomh maith.

1999       Lough Derg and Lough Ree Catchment Monitoring & Management set up by the local authorities.

1999       Colin Becker succeeded Liam D’Arcy as President.

1999       Save our Lough Derg (SOLD), environmental group formed.

1999       Athy dry dock refurbished.

1999       Grand Canal Liaison Group formed by Offaly and Kildare county councils with a Regeneration Officer.

1999       North/South Inland Waterways Implementation Body established under the “Good Friday” agreement to be implemented on a phased basis.

1999       Work began on the works in Limerick – new weir and gates to be fitted on sea lock to create greater tidal window by retaining water in the Abbey River.

1999       IWAI sets up website: www.iwai.ie – You can see what our front page looked like at the end of March 1999 by clicking on the image at right.

1999       Death of Eddie Slane who, together with Ian Bath, was responsible for the great success of the RCAG.

1999       Ulster Waterways Group held its 2nd Conference focussing on Lough Neagh.

1999       Des Leyden elected Chairman of Inland Waterways International.

13–28 May 2000               “Canals of Dublin” Millennium Rally with boats from the Grand Canal and Royal Canal converging at Shandon Gardens. Newcomen railway bridge still not operational but boats allowed to pass through.

Aug-00 Shannon Millennium Rally with boats from Athlone, Carrick and Derg branches converging on Athlone.

19–20 Oct 2000                Ulster Waterways Group 3rd Annual Conference focused on Lagan Navigation.

23-Nov-00           IWAI held strategy meeting in Tullamore to look into revising the structures of the association.

Nov-00 Severe Shannon flooding.

2000      Lough Neagh & River Bann Association becomes an IWAI branch.

2000      Death of Maurice Semple author of books on the Corrib and campaigner against the building of low bridges over the Eglinton Canal.

2000      Hire firms get together to produce combined brochure Ireland’s Welcoming Waterways.

2000      Kildare County Council’s water abstraction scheme from River Barrow causes concern.

2000      NRA Kildare bypass deep cutting road works posed threat to Pollardstown Fen. IWAI campaign.

2000      Boyne Branch disbands and Dublin Branch agrees to include the Boyne in its agenda.


16–18 May 2001               World Canals Conference held in Dublin, Belfast and Lisburn with the theme “Living Heritage”.

Jul-01    Final Report of the Lough Derg & Lough Ree Catchment Monitoring & Management System published.

16–17 Sept 2001              Irish International Canoe Polo Championships held at Kilcock Harbour on the Royal Canal.

21–22 Sept 2001              Ulster Waterways Group hold 4th Annual Conference on the theme “The Coal Canals of Northern Ireland”.

2001      Kildare bypass controversy led to NRA adopting measures which it is confident will safeguard the water supply to Pollardstown Fen.

2001      Waterways Ireland to receive funding of £20 million sterling in 2001 and £24 million in 2002 with £60 million to complete the Royal Canal by 2006 in the National Development plan. John Martin appointed CEO.

2001      Heritage Boat Association formed.

2001      Foot & Mouth epidemic.

2001      The River Suck to Ballinasloe, the new canal to Boyle Harbour and the Limerick Navigation works all completed.


12-Mar-02           Public meeting held in Monaghan in association with the Ulster Waterways Group to promote the restoration of the Ulster Canal.

05-Apr-02            Donal O Siochain succeeded Colin Becker as President and the new structures for the association were accepted setting up six committees whose chairpersons serve on an Executive Committee with the officers and also some changes to the composition of the Council.

08-Apr-02            Dublin Corporation and Waterways Ireland launch their Improvement Scheme of landscaping etc. from Newcomen Bridge to Summerhill.

27-Sep-02            Ulster Waterways Group hold 5th Annual Conference on theme “Clones to Coleraine” with focus on the Lower Bann.

27-Nov-02           Heritage Council launched Pilot Corridor Study of the middle Shannon and Grand Canal from Shannon Harbour to Ballycommon.

22-Dec-02           EU brought out Water Framework Directive which calls for the island to be divided up into River Basin Districts for water management with plans to be drawn up on a phased timetable.

2002      Kildare County Council permitted to extract water from the Barrow with remedial measures to allow for possible reductions in navigation levels in dry conditions.

2002      Scheme to restore the summit level of the Newry Canal put forward.

2002      Dublin Branch commenced dinghy rallies and work parties on the Boyne Navigation.

2002      Work commenced to replace the culvert at Pake Bridge on the Royal Canal.

2002      Lough Neagh Advisory Committee published a Lough Neagh Management Strategy in which it recommended that Waterways Ireland should become the navigation authority for the lake.

2002      Waterways Ireland hold a series of consultation meetings around the country on Marketing Strategy.

2002      Boating & Leisure Centre opened at Hill of Down, Royal Canal.

2002      Department of Community Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs takes over administration of Waterways Ireland together with Department of Culture Arts & Leisure N.I. and Heritage Services transfer to Department of the Environment ROI.

2002      High water levels and heavy stream on Shannon cause damage to boats in early summer.

2002      Carrick Cubs now have 53 members.


22-May-03          New IWAI branch formed in Coalisland.

24-Jun-03            Coalisland Branch organised walk along the Coalisland Canal which attracted 300 people.

Oct-03 IWAI launch bid for funding for Phase I work on the Ulster Canal from Interreg.

2003      Waterways Ireland installed new jetties above the bridge at Shannonbridge and announced plans for a 24-berth mooring at Portrunny, a 32-berth mooring at Ballyleague, Lanesborough and a revised scheme for additional mooring at Garrykennedy with a number of private marina schemes also planned.

2003      Heritage Council awarded Heritage & Conservation Committee a grant to purchase recording equipment and maps to enable it to survey waterway heritage sites.

2003      IWAI expressed concern about proposal for development at Tullamore Harbour and made a submission to the local authority.

2003      Kildare Branch carried out remedial work on the Four Pots near Digby Bridge, Grand Canal.

2003      Royal Canal twins with Canal du Nivernais.

2003      Heritage Council commissions two further Corridor Studies from Shannonbridge to Lanesborough and Lanesborough to Roosky and the Royal Canal from Richmond Harbour to Thomastown including the Longford Line.

2003      Tarmonbarry hydroelectric scheme due to start in April 2004 despite some concerns from fishermen.

2003      Waterways Ireland excavating the two dry docks at Graiguenamanagh, one to be used as a working dry dock.

2003      Waterways Ireland completed work on linking moorings at Spencer Harbour, Lough Allen and at Cleighran More on the east shore of Lough Allen to the shore.

2003      Death of Heather Thomas: many tributes paid to her for her role in keeping traffic on the Grand Canal with Celtic Canal Cruisers.

2003      Death of Christy Deacy: founder member in 1976 and active member of Corrib Branch over the years.

2003      River Bann & Lough Neagh Pilot published by Michael Savage.

2003      Coillte and Roscommon County Council announced radical plans for Rockingham, Lough Key.

2003      Tralee Ship Canal: final stages of the restoration work underway.

2003      Waterways Ireland installed new jetties above the bridge at Shannonbridge and announced plans for a 24-berth mooring at Portrunny, a 32-berth mooring at Ballyleague, Lanesborough and a revised scheme for additional mooring at Garrykennedy with a number of private marina schemes also planned.

2003      Heritage Council awarded Heritage & Conservation Committee a grant to purchase recording equipment and maps to enable it to survey waterway heritage sites.

2003      IWAI expressed concern about proposal for development at Tullamore Harbour and made a submission to the local authority.

2003      Kildare Branch carried out remedial work on the Four Pots near Digby Bridge, Grand Canal.

2003      IWAI made application to the Interreg III Programme for funding to begin restoration work on the Ulster Canal

2003      The Water Framework Directive was passed into law on 22 December 2003 dividing the island of Ireland into river basin districts to improve the quality of water resources and their future management


2004      Many events scheduled to celebrate the 50th year of the IWAI with branches planning special rallies. The IWAI now has 15 branches including the Coalisland Canal, Northern Ireland (replacing Erne Branch) and River Bann & Lough Neagh Association.

Waterways Ireland upgrading the Lower Bann with improved access to locks

The RNLI establish a station at Dromineer on Lough Derg with a volunteer crew.

Michael Slevin, webmaster, reports on the IWAI site which has grown since it was established in 1999.

Coastguard rescue teams established on Lough Neagh with bases at Ardboe and Kinnego

Apr. 2004            Appeal launched for Friends of the Ulster Canal – to raise money to support activities aimed at restoring the Ulster Canal

Apr 2004              IWAI has made an Application for funding to the Lough Neagh Partnership for provision of Navigation Headroom at the Tamnamore Motorway Crossing on the River Blackwater. See proposal

Brian Goggin retires as editor of the Inland Waterways News after a six-years stint to be replaced by Nuala Redmond.

2004      Conference held in Hodson Bay Hotel on 28 July to mark 50 years of the IWAI attended by over 100 people looking back at the achievements over the years and forward into the future. The Minister responsible for the Waterways, Eamon O Quiv, said: “Waterways play a vital role in rural development, the waterways connect urban and rural communities in a unique way”.IWAI 50th Annivesary Conference – See also the 50th anniversary conference article from IWN Summer 2004

Over 50 boats attended the Dublin Rally including boats from the Royal Canal.

Shannon Harbour celebrated its 33rd annual Canal Boat Rally

A rally of small boats travelled from Clonmel to Carrick-on-Suir in April

The new works at Scarriff Harbour were officially opened by Minister Sile deValera.

Ballyleague Marina at the northern end of Lough Ree almost finished and in use.

A fleet of 24 small boats made it halfway up the Coalisland Canal watched by hundreds of people while over 500 people had attended the annual walk in July.

The death of Bob Sharpe, a very active member of Kildare Branch, was recorded and a plaque was erected at Maam Pier in memory of Christy Deacy, Corrib Branch. News of the tragic drowning accident on Lough Ree of Ruth and Walter Borner was received with great shock. Also recorded the death of Jimmy Mulvany who did so much for the Carrick cubs, and Paddy Egan, Derg Branch.

News of the tragic drowning accident on Lough Ree of Ruth and Walter Borner was received with great shock. Also recorded the death of Jimmy Mulvany who did so much for the Carrick cubs, and Paddy Egan, Derg Branch

Brian Goggin was presented with the Endeavour Cup for his work for the association and the IWN over the years and Reggie Redmond was presented with a ship’s decanter and glasses in recognition of his eleven years of service as treasurer.

2004      Application for matching Interreg funding to start works on the Ulster Canal unsuccessful

Nov 2004             IWAI has made representations to the Minister for Finance to maintain “Green Diesel” availability for pleasure craft. The governments of the RoI and UK plan to end the derogation allowing green diesel at the end of 2006.


2005      A new branch of IWAI, the Lagan branch was formed on 20th January 2005

2005      A new branch of IWAI, the Newry branch was formed on 11th March 2005

Death of Alan O’Leary, long time supporter of the RCAG with his vision in no way diminished by his blindness

Death of Robert Law, enthusiastic supporter of the Boyne Navigation restoration

2005      Brian Cassells elected President at AGM succeeding Donal O Siocháin

Moorings on the west side of northern Lough Allen at Cleighranmore refurbished by WI Also new moorings at Portrunny on Lough Ree

2005      IWAI Conference Highways to Leisureways held in Craigavon. The development of waterways on the island of Ireland – A conference on the Inland Waterways– Past, Present and Future was held on 13 October, Lough Neagh Discovery Centre

19 April 2005     Dublin City Council issue tender notice for “Removal of an existing steel lifting bridge and replacement with a fixed bridge at Grand Canal Dock, Pearse Street/Ringsend Road, Dublin 2.” – in more detail its to Replace existing steel single leaf bascule of the scherzer type lifting bridge with a fixed three span reinforced concrete arch structure (or two/three span prestressed or post-tensioned beam bridge) on pile foundations plus the installation of two number 2.4 metre diameter storm water pipes adjacent to bridge on Pearse Street – navigation to be maintained except for the period between November and February.

Endeavour Cup presented to Carrick Cubs

Additional floating pontoons supplied at Mountshannon by W.I. and new harbour works at Garrykennedy

New moorings provided at Carrick-on-Suir replacing those installed in 1995 by Carrick Boat Club.

Following the initiative of members and officers of our Lough Derg branch, IWAI has decided to raise funds to purchase replacement fishing craft for Sri Lankan fishermen who are at a loss as a result of the tsunami. We’ve bought 27 by the end of 2005. see here

Dublin Branch has helped to establish the Boyne Canal Action Group which continues to hold work parties and small boat rallies on the Boyne Navigation on the stretch above the sea lock and on the lock at Oldbridge. 5,000 people attended the Open Day in August

Consultant’s report indicates that Pollardstown Fen is experiencing low levels as a result of the Kildare Bypass

34 Shannon-based boats including boats of the Heritage Boat Association joined the fleet to visit Waterford for the visit of the Tall Ships in May

WI continue to replace jetties on the Erne: the Forum, Queen Elizabeth Road and Davey’s Island

Annual Athy Water Festival continues on the last weekend in May

Spencer Dock is closed until 1 May 2006 to facilitate the alterations to the sea lock which will shorten the length of the lock and provide a permanent flood defence barrier. Work is proceeding at Abbeyshrule with the removal of the culvert

New branch, the Newry Branch, formed.

Conference on the theme “Highways to Leisureways” was held at the Oxford Discovery Centre, Craigavon, in October exploring the advantages which come from a regenerated waterway.

Death of Jim Henry, well known pub owner in Cootehall who always had a welcome for IWAI boaters. Also Maureen Denham, who typeset the IWN on her golf-ball composing machine from 1978 to 1992

This Wonder-Working Canal – a History of the Tyrone Navigation by Thomas McIlvenna published

22 Nov. 2005      Agence Ter announced as the winners of an architectural design competition to design the proposed Royal Canal Linear Park in Dublin (to extend from North Wall to Amiens St.)


2006      River Bann & Lough Neagh Association Co. purchases a ferry, the Island Warrior, to operate to Ram’s Island

The deaths were recorded of Tommy Henshaw, a popular member of the Athlone Branch, John Johnston, well known owner of the Dutch barges, De Eems and Alpha and Jacqueline Hamill, RBLNA.

WI continue to provide jetties at locks on the Grand Canal, Barrow and Lower Bann and improve mooring on the Shannon.

Infestation of Lagarosiphon major (curley-leaved waterweed) on Lough Corrib causes concern.

In the summer of 2006, a single donation of €205,000 was donated by a Guernsey-based trust to the “IWAI Buy-a-Boat Tsunami Relief Appeal”. Given the size of the donation, we are in contact with the Ireland/Sri Lanka Trust and are investigating the possibility of funding some form of building project. A total of 27 new fishing boats have now been funded by the IWAI for families affected by the tsunami – see here

New bridge over the Ulster Canal on the new Armagh Road constructed to give full navigation clearance at 6m beam and 3.5m headroom.

IWAI publishes policy on the use of Fast Power Craft

Sean Fitzsimons awarded the Endeavour Cup for many years of dedication to the IWAI.

2006      See report on IWAI’s 2006 AGM, held in Maynooth, March 24th 2006.

WI officially opened its new headquarters at Scarriff Harbour in August.

Colin Becker appointed part-time projects officer for IWAI.

April 2006


Blackwater Regional Partnership: Socio-Economic study of the Ulster Canal – Final Report April 2006 (1.6MB)


Blackwater Regional Partnership: Ulster Canal Report April 2006 (Appendices) (2.5MB)

31 August 2006                 Launch of new study “Socio Economic Study of the Ulster Canal” in the Long Gallery at Stormont. The study was prepared for the Blackwater Regional Partnership by PriceWaterhouseCoopers in association with Tourism Development International

Blackwater Regional Partnership: Ulster Canal Socio-Economic Study – Summary of Findings – 30/08/06 (870kB)

2006      A series of Ulster Canal Work Parties held (organised by the UWG) focusing on “Making Structures Visible”

October 21st at Pipers Bridge,

October 28th-29th at Benburb,

December 2nd at Carsons Bridge

25 October 2006              Ulster Canal Public Meeting held in Armagh. Speakers included Councillor William Irwin, Mayor of Armagh, and Glenn Millar, Economic Development Manager, British Waterways

Reggie Redmond retires from position of national treasurer after 11 years

The survey of the waterways built heritage with the assistance of the Heritage Council has been completed and the data is being written up

The refurbished jetty and memorial stone to Conor Hogan was officially opened on the Woodford River

Heritage Boat Association working with IWAI branches for all the events in 2006

Over 100 boats including 52 canal boats were assembled at Jamestown as part of a heritage weekend highlighting the local campaign to have the historic arch restored.

Lagan Branch clear the vegetation from “Becky Hoggs” lock No.13, upstream of the restored lock 12 at Lisburn

The Coalisland Branch held a very well attended walk along the newly surfaced towpath of the canal in Easter week

Heritage Boat Association publish Cool Metal – Clear Water listing many heritage boats.

Work parties continued on the Ulster Canal on the theme “Making structures visible”.

The Three Sisters Marina in New Ross was officially opened

On the Shannon WI has installed new jetties at Carrick-on-Shannon, and holding jetties above and below Portumna Bridge

During the Corrib Rally a cheque for over 1000 euro was handed over to the Red-Cross life boat which has been doing trojan work rescuing on the lake. The Lough Derg RNLI boat rescued 33 people in 2005 and 2006 reported to be just as busy

The barge, Riasc, renamed La Peniche, has opened as a restaurant and is moored at Mespil Road

IWAI Meetings now held with WI divided into three regional areas

Death of Kevin O’Farrell, well known figure in Killaloe, one-time manager of Cormac Cruisers and one of the crew of the Ituna who sailed across the Atlantic in 1950 to seek their fortune in the USA, and Frank McVeigh, Lough Erne Branch

Rally held in August to mark the opening of the Royal Canal to Ballybrannigan Harbour, Ballymahon, with good progress reported on the new Longford Road Bridge.

5 Dec. 2006        5 December announced in the Dail that the government is committed to taking forward plans for the restoration of the Ulster Canal which was confirmed in the new National Development Plan

Concerns expressed about a proposed residential development for Tullamore Harbour

Death of Alf Delany, founder member and past President of the association and well known in sailing and boating circles. Also Martin Maguire Senior, Lough Derg Branch, and Maurice Quealy, Belturbet Branch


2007      2007 was designated The Year of the Barrow – Lots of events were organised during the year on the Barrow.

Flooding a problem on the Shannon over winter

IWAI Conference held in Athlone on 21 April to discuss the future direction of the association. Issues raised included: environmental issues, improving mooring and facilities, restoration schemes, political lobbying, control of speeding and anti-social behaviour, holding events, future management of the association

Death of Father James Power, remembered for his Lough Derg rally masses.

The former Mahon, Ringsend Road, “opening” bridge across the docks replaced by a fixed bridge giving increased headroom ( 2.85m winter level) and work has begun on the new Grand Canal Square

Work continuing on replacing the curverts on the Royal Canal and WI confident that all the works will be completed by early 2008

Air draft gauges fitted at Roosky and Lough Tap railway bridges

Endeavour Cup presented to Boyne Restoration Group (Dublin Branch).

Shannon Protection Alliance set up to fight the proposal by Dublin City Council to extract 350 million litres of water per day from Lough Ree

The mechanisation of the Victoria Sea Lock on the Newry Canal is celebrated with a rally on 16 -17 June

Many publications: Namow Book 11 by Eric Timon, The Shannon Valley, A Rambler’s Guide & Map published by Tir Eolas, The Banks of the Bann by Brian Cassels published by Cottage Publications who also published The Liffey by Dick Warner. The Guide to the Ulster Canal, published by the association in similar format to the other canal guides with financial assistance from the Heritage Council, and the Lower Bann River User’s Guide also published. John Duffy who published River Slaney from Source to Sea last year has now produced Barrow Bridges and Related Aspects.

Two new branches established: Boyne Navigation Branch and Cruising Club Branch.

Deaths of John Kerney, Lough Derg Branch, Brendan Lynch, Carrick Branch, Norman Furlong, Athlone Branch and Paddy Hatton, Slaney Branch.

WI to build new headquarters at Enniskillen

15 Nov. 2007    The Ulster Canal Guide is published by IWAI.

08 Dec 2007       On December 8th 2007, immediately following the Dublin Branch AGM, Ruth Delany officially launched the L.E. Dubhlinn, a steel boat which the Branch intend to use (in the most practical way possible) to promote traffic on Dublin’s waterways – more here


21 Jan 2008        The Boyle River Branch of IWAI has its inaugural meeting.

Royal Canal: Work begins on shortening the sea-lock, fitting new flood gates and re-excavating Spencer Dock to its original size

Brian Cassells finishes his three-year term as President and is replaced by Paul Garland

Michael Slevin is awarded the Endeavour Cup in recognition of his work on the IWAI website

The newly restored Maid of Antrim, is once again plying on Lough Neagh piloted by the owner, Con law

WI commence extensive improvement works at Shannon Harbour

The Chatterton family celebrate 50 years in Portaneena Marina

Nuala Redmond, editor of IWN since 2004, hands over to Projects Officer,Colin Becker

The Heritage Council hosted a conference in Athlone Working Together Better for the Shannon focussing on the Corridor Studies it has carried out over the years

The IWAI Tsunami Fund has funded 28 fishing boats, two houses, a vocational education centre and a water scheme and with a large recent donation from the Haven Fund is now funding the refurbishment of a Home for the Aged

Cottage Publications publish By the Shores of Lough Neagh by Brian Cassells

Death of Paul Doran, restorer and builder of boats at Lowtown

New publications: The Shannon Navigation by Ruth Delany; Guide to the Lower Bann Waterways Ireland; Islands of Lough Neagh by Michael Savage; In the Wake of the Giants by Gerald Potterton


19 Jan 2009        The new Waterways Ireland Headquarters building in Enniskillen was officially opened.

WI continue works on the Lower Bann, completing work at Portglenone and commencing installing floating jetties at Camus

Colin Becker’s position as Projects Officer terminated due to lack of funds

Newry Branch continue to hold work parties and have now cleared five locks of vegetation on the canal

The Endeavour Cup presented to Michael Savage and his team from the RBLNA for work on Rams Island

Death of Peter Conlon, North Barrow Branch

Alien invaders continue to cause concern: zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) are reported to be declining somewhat, the so-called bloody red shrimp (Hemimysis anomala) is reported to be spreading on Lough Derg and Lough Ree, the African curley leaved waterweed (Lagarosiphon major) continues to cause problems on Lough Corrib and giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is widespread along banks and can be dangerous

WI improvements noted: swing bridge at Portumna, Shannon Harbour developments, works at Garrykennedy, Roosky weir booms, Lecarrow improvement works

Garrett O’Neill completes his photographing and logging of every built historical feature on the Shannon Navigation (www.jcost.ie/viewshannon)

IWAI launch a photo archive on the web (www.iwai.ie/photoarchive).

Nissan are providing a Pathfinder for a number of years and a corporate trailer has been purchased for promoting the association at events

29 Apr 2009        Lyneen Bridge, Co Longford, the last bridge to be restored under the programme of work on the Royal Canal has been completed and the road reopened on the 28th April 2009.

Jun 2009              Waterways Ireland takes delivery of a new workboat, Inis Cealtra, a 22m long, 5.6m beam multi-purpose work boat. Inis Cealtra was designed and built to Waterways Ireland’s specification by Mooney Boats of Killybegs and their naval architects, Marine Design International.

16-23/Aug 2009                For the 3rd year in a row, the Offaly Branch organised a Float to the Fleadh. ~90 boats travelled to Tullamore to attend Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2009. The problems experienced by some boats drew attention to the need for a dredging programme on the Grand Canal.

29 Aug 2009       05/10/09: 107B in the lower chamber of the 9th Lock, Clondalkin.Offaly Branch mount the Kilbeggan Challenge: the movement of 2 casks of whiskey from Kilbeggan Distillery down the dry canal for loading on 107B for carriage to Dublin – the two whiskey casks were delivered by horse and cart on the Kilbeggan Line to Ballycommon. The whiskey was bottled as Locke’s Grand Crew Whiskey.

The striking landmark Shannonbidge chimney is demolished

Royal Canal: the works on the sea lock and new flood defences at Spencer Dock are officially completed

The RNLI presents an award to the Shannon Boat Rally for raising large amounts of money at its annual auction

Ardnacrusha locks closed from 31 October to 31 March 2010 for essential maintenance

Royal Canal: Refurbishment works including a new service block at Richmond Harbour continue in preparation for the re-opening and new floating jetties have been installed in the Camlin River below the lock. Works at the sea lock into Spencer Dock and the new Luas Extension bridge have been completed and navigation restored

Death of Victor Hamill, River Bann & Lough Neagh Association Branch, Maria McCaffery, Belturbet Branch, and Mick Clinton, RCAG, tireless worker on the restoration of the Royal Canal

Boyne Branch install the lower gates of the restored sea lock at Oldbridge

WI commission RPS to carry out a Scoping Document to produce a Restoration Plan for the re-opening of the Ulster Canal from Upper Lough Erne to Clones

Publications: Fine Lines – Clear Water published by the Heritage Boat Association as a companion to Cool Metal – Clear Water giving details of heritage boats

Works to begin at Killaloe to increase mooring along the old canal wall with jetties and walkway, also additional jetties downstream of the lock at Albert Lock and facilities at Lecarrow

The restoration of Lock 3 on the Lagan Navigation is nearing completion in preparation of fitting the gates

Oct/Nov 2009    A series of meetings was held in Athlone, Dublin and Dungannon as part of a consultative process among its members to determine the future direction of the IWAI

28 Oct 2009        The first meeting of the Executive Committee for the Lagan Canal Restoration Trust was held in Castlereagh


Nov 2009             Extensive flooding effectively shuts the waterways.

31 Dec 2009       Former president of the IWAI, Brian Cassells awarded the OBE for services to the IWAI.

Jan 2010              A difficult winter 2009- 2010 with unprecedented flooding raising once again the issues of draining wetlands and building on flood plains. This was followed by severe weather with the canals and lakes frozen.

The waterways freeze solid in the coldest snap since 1962/63

The Grand Canal Theatre is opened on Hanover Quay, Ringsend and the Waterways Visitor Centre is reopened.

WI propose changing the black markers on the Shannon to green on a phased basis.

Death of Chris Boyle, founder member of Lough Derg Branch, Charlie Charleton, Lagan Branch, Jim Canning, who did so much to promote the Coalisland Canal and also Norman Badger, Coalisland Canal Branch. The death also of Dick Fletcher who operated the Galley Cruising Restaurant boats for many years on the Barrow, Nore and Suir aboard the St Brendan, St Ciaran

Works are completed on the new Lough Tap railway bridge giving an increase in airdraft

The Lough Neagh and Lower Bann Advisory Committees are wound up due to lack of available funding leading to the abandonment of some environmental schemes but the Lough Neagh Partnership continues to promote developments

The 5-day rule is enforced along the newly refurbished Shannon Harbour quay walls with boats having to seek alternative mooring east of Griffith Bridge, also the 5-day rule enforced at Tullamore Harbour

Dave McCabe and Noel Griffin produce electronic Shannon charts incorporating greater detail and new developments. Electronic charts of Lough Corrib also available

New organisation structures approved to run the association with a board of eleven members as a management team and the current Council with branch representatives meeting at least twice a year as a policy formation body

WI publish their long awaited draft bye-laws leading to much discussion and comment and the start of a public consultation process.

Death of Pat Lawless, Lough Derg Branch, well known for his long distance sailing exploits

WI publish a new edition of the Royal Canal Guide in association with the IWAI in a changed format and the Shannon Boat Rally publish Stories of a River in celebration of its 50th rally

WI introduce a new specially designed, multi-purpose, work boat, Inis Muilinn, to the Shannon

WI publish draft restoration plans for the Ulster Canal from Lough Erne to Clones involving five different options with the recommendation for the route using the Finn River for some distance upstream before joining the original route

The IWAI Executive explore developing a permanent home for the association on the site of Dunrovin on the Inner Lakes and at the same time explore developing a centre upstream of Carrick-on-Shannon

Dublin City Council publish an alternative plan for abstracting water from the Shannon from Lough Derg with abstraction only in time of flood and with a storage area in a cutaway bog in the midlands

The Dublin City Canals Study launched. The study, carried out by Scott Wilson Countryside Consultancy, covers the Grand Canal and the Royal Canal from the Liffey to the M50 to promote the development of the recreational, tourism and commercial potential of the corridors

Jute matting weed control trials are begun at four locations on the Grand Canal system

WI develop the first houseboat serviced mooring facility on the waterways at Shannon Harbour for 6 – 8 boats

The threat to turn the Canal Basin at Coalisland into a car park is strenuously resisted by the IWAI with local support

Deaths recorded of Cyril Irwin, Shannon Harbour and Hon Treasurer of IWAI 1978 – 1981: David Nowlan, Carrick Branch, Irish Times correspondent; Alan Giff, Lough Erne Branch; Gerry Lynch, Carrick Branch

Lough Derg Branch carry out work on the upper end of the Errina Canal to give access to the Errina Lock

The Royal Canal is finally reopened from Dublin to the Shannon with a special day on 30 September at Richmond Harbour. The “Green & Silver Route Challenge” launched with a certificate for boats which complete the round trip completed by Tom Rolt in Le Coq in 1946

2011      Lagan Canal Restoration Trust publishes a Guide to the Lagan Canal.

New Powerboat Branch established

Paul Garland completes his 3-years as President and is succeeded by Greg Whelan

The Executive produces proposals to replace the house at Dunrovin with a new building to become a meeting place and archive storage for the association

Death of Jimmy Whelan, Barrow Branch and Charlie Roche owner of Hebe 111

The Irish Residential Boat Owners Association is formed to represent the live-aboard community. The new live-aboard berths have been completed at Shannon Harbour.

The Endeavour Cup is presented to John McKeown in recognition of all the work he and his team in WI have done over the years in the restoration of the Royal Canal

Death of Sean Fitzsimons whose contribution to the inland waterways over the years was without equal in so many ways, in particular in achieving new editions of Green & Silver and Thanks for the Memory

Death of Kerry Sloane, Jolly Mariner Marina, good friend of boating people

A Shannon Catchment-based Flood Risk Assessment & Management Study commissioned by the OPW to be carried out by Jacobs

Carrick Craft announce they plan to operate a number of hire boats from Coleraine on the Lower Bann for the 2012 season. They currently operate 91 boats on the Shannon and the Erne

WI open the extensive new moorings at Killaloe on 28 July

New publication: The River Shannon, a Journey down Ireland’s Longest River by Aiveen Cooper

RTE1 screen a series of six episodes of Waterways – the Royal Canal with Dick Warner on board Rambler, a former Royal Canal tug barge

The RNLI agree to a request from the IWAI to place an inshore lifeboat on Lough Ree for a trial period of one year

Newry Branch continue work parties clearing undergrowth from locks and exposing unique wooden sills

Death of Jimmy Shirley, Barrow Branch


IWAI – Recent Activities

(of a “campaigning” nature)

See more information on the oft-times unsung work at branch level below. For an overview of overall IWAI activities, see reports from recent IWAI Council meetings

Branch Activities (volunteers always needed)

Boyne   The Boyne Navigation Branch is campaigning for the restoration of the Boyne Navigation. They want to hear from people interested in getting involved in heritage restoration work. Skills (like stoneworking) would be welcome but they can use anyone who is willing to help in any way.

Kildare Kildare Branch organises regular work parties (monthly). The current focus is the restoration of the four pots near Digby Bridge on the Grand Canal.   This work started in 2002.

Prior to that, the emphasis was on the restoration of the side chambers at Digby Bridge. this work started in 1996.

In 2003, Kildare branch organised a clean-up of Leixlip spa – they are campaigning for its restoration.

Kildare are also anxious to restore the Corbally Line of the Grand Canal to navigation. This line runs from Naas to Corbally.

Contact the Kildare branch via the Kildare website.

Coalisland            The Coalisland Branch is focused on the restoration of the Coalisland Canal.

Contact the Coalisland branch via the Coalisland website.

Dublin   2013: The Dublin Branch commenced restoration work on the smallest of the Graving Docks at Grand Canal Dock, Ringsend, Dublin. Workparties are held every month or so. Volunteers welcome. More information available here.

Lough Derg         Lough Derg branch workparties are focused on the Woodford River – see the Lough Derg branch website for more information.. Volunteers always wanted.

Offaly    2011: Offaly Branch and the Ballycommon Canal Renewal Group commenced work on restoration of the Kilbeggan Line of the Grand Canal. Contact Gerry Feery on 087 741 5210. Read more about the Kilbeggan Line here.

River Bann & Lough Neagh Association   The River Bann & Lough Neagh Association has made an application for funding to restore the jetty at Rams Island and to undertake restoration work on the Island