IWAI Kildare is a branch of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland. Working with our IWAI North Barrow colleagues, we promote the sustainable maintenance and preservation of the Kildare navigations and their natural and built heritage, for the benefit of all local and touring boaters, cyclists and walkers in Ireland’s Ancient East. This site is an information source for the 120 kilometres of Canals in the county.
For the sports, leisure and health enthusiast, there is boating, canoeing, cycling, fishing, kayaking and walking along the Grand Canal, the Naas and Corbally Canals, the Milford Feeder, the Barrow Line of the Grand Canal and the Royal Canal. Our residential boaters are mainly in Lowtown and Sallins, where their brightly painted barges add to the ambience of the area.
Kildare is accessible from all parts of Ireland whether arriving by boat, car or train. Visitors to Kildare might pause to observe the workings of a Lock as a boat passes through, go boating by taking an afternoon, day or weeks on a Hire Barge, choose to stay on a Flotel, or view the canal from a waterside eatery. For the nature lover, Pollardstown Fen, the largest remaining calcareous spring-fed fen left in Ireland and home to rare vegetation types and invertebrates, can be reached by small boat along the Milford feeder. The Barrow Blueway, a multi-use shared leisure route from Robertstown to Athy is due for completion this year. The Royal Canal Greenway was opened in 2021 and the Grand Canal Greenway is due for completion in 2023.
Lovers of ancient forms of transport will find much to explore. There are locks and overflows, old mills and transhipment buildings, viaducts and vintage boats still navigating the canals they were built to traverse. The old Kildare canal communities of Athy, Kilcock, Lyons Village, Naas, Robertstown Lowtown and Sallins were transportation centres as far back as 220 years ago; today they retain their boating heritage. IWAI Kildare organise boating events along the canal where boaters, locals and visitors have the opportunity to meet up.
With our colleagues in the Barrow, Dublin, North Barrow, Offaly and Royal branches, we support the aims of Nav-Watch. Navigating the Barrow, Grand and Royal gives boaters a unique perspective on problems affecting banks, structures and the navigation, not obvious when viewed from the paths along the canal corridor. Registering issues on Nav-Watch helps Waterways Ireland in planning the management and maintenance of the navigations. We encourage all IWAI members and all users of the canal corridors, to log issues.