Launch 2020 BC – Press Release – Jan 1


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Launch: The 2020BC project

1st​​ January 2020 on the River Liffey Heuston Station, Dublin, Ireland​​ ​​  ​​ ​​​​ 12​​ midday

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IWAI​​ are delighted to announce the launch of the 2020BC (Big Cruise) calendar of events on the inland navigations of The Green​​ And Silver. The​​ launch​​ event comprises a flotilla of light and fast boats travelling at pace on the River Liffey from​​ the sea lock at Grand Canal Dock​​ to Seán Heuston Bridge below​​ Heuston Station to activate the launch of 2020BC.​​ 

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The launch date of 1st​​ January 2020 is significant in that it marks the 60th anniversary to the day of the closure of the Grand Canal to commercial traffic by​​ CIÉ​​ (as per memo issued from​​ CIÉ​​ Kingsbridge on 25th​​ November 1959 – marked by​​ IWAI, the Heritage Boat Association, Waterways Ireland and CIÉ​​ a few weeks ago at Heuston Station).​​ 

Led by IWAI Dublin –– who promote The Green and Silver route strongly - 2020BC will centre around a calendar of waterside community celebrations and events to which boaters and other waterway users can travel next year.​​ 

This reflects the navigation circuit being very much ‘open for business’ for leisure, pleasure and amenity use. The​​ 2020BC project​​ is​​ being coordinated for IWAI Dublin by long time waterways advocate Mick Kinahan​​ with support from IWAI Kildare, Offaly,​​ Shannon Harbour,​​ Royal Canal and Barrow​​ Branches.​​  ​​​​ 

Waterways interested groups want to mark the actual closure date itself and have earmarked the whole year of 2020 for the provision of information and celebration of the Grand Canal and it’s connected waterways. The 2020BC flotilla in Dublin will bring some offerings - see Appendix 1 -​​ from the Grand Canal to Heuston Station; symbols from locations along the Canal’s length, of both past and present commercial and leisure activities.​​ 

Little known outside the boating community, the Grand Canal is also part of what is known as The Green​​ And Silver; a navigation​​ route​​ comprising the Royal Canal, the Camlin River, the River Shannon, the Grand Canal and the River Liffey - a route that IWAI are​​ keen to promote​​ during​​ the 2020BC​​ and beyond. ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ Navigating​​ The Green​​ And Silver route is an amazing experience along our waterways. With the advent of​​ Greenways and​​ Blueways, much of the route is available to walkers and cyclists,​​ further contributing to navigation-based discovery and exploration while travelling from Dublin in Ireland’s Ancient East right through to Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands! From our indigenous canal boat tourists, who travel on their own vessels, to the novice or experienced hire boat tourists; these navigations are timeless taking you all at once back to the heyday of trading boats in the early 1800s while also providing access to waterside communities all along their lengths.​​ 

IWAI’s 2020BC project has at its core the promotion of collaboration and cooperation and recognises that IWAI reflects what has gone before us in the past, while also presenting and developing the possibilities for the future.

Acknowledging the support of Waterways Ireland and​​ CIÉ​​ to IWAI​​ in​​ marking the re-release of the Grand Canal closure memo​​ recently,​​ as well as the launch of the 2020BC project​​ IWAI President Alan Kelly said:​​ 

On behalf of IWAI​​ I am delighted to announce the launch of the 2020BC (Big Cruise) calendar of events on the inland navigation route of The Green And Silver​​ and River​​ Barrow​​ Navigation.​​ We are fortunate in IWAI to have experienced volunteers who are​​ fully​​ committed to the promotion of our waterways for the common good and the​​ socio-economic​​ benefit of all. We also have an excellent working relationship with Waterways Ireland and with​​ Government Departments,​​ Local Authorities,​​ Development​​ Associations and community organisations all along the inland waterways network. We look forward to 2020 being a year of further​​ positive​​ engagement with​​ all of our waterways partners​​ to​​ promote​​ the​​ development and​​ improvement of our waterways.​​ 

Jim O’Riordan, IWAI Dublin Chairperson said:

‘IWAI Dublin look forward to 2020BC and are grateful for the support from our peer IWAI​​ Branches around the inland waterways network for the project. We also want to thank Waterways Ireland who have been involved in helping us plan​​ today’s launch​​ and​​ events for the coming​​ year;​​ and Clontarf and​​ Poolbeg Yacht​​ Clubs​​ among others who have assisted arrangements for​​ the launch flotilla. For 2020BC, what we are promoting is not just about boating, we intend to work with as many communities as possible to develop their interests further in the inland waterways in their vicinities and look forward to​​ meeting many new waterways friends’.

#IWAI #IWAIreland #2020BC #TheGreenAndSilver #OpenForBusiness #2020is60YearsSinceGrandCanalClosure #GrandCanalStillSparklesOnDiamondAnniveraryOfClosure

DMB Big Cruise logo low res

Heuston Group Photo 25

the green and silver book cover

RW The Green & Silver route low res

Thank you for taking the time to read this Press Release.​​ 

For more information​​ contact​​ 

IWAI Public Relations Team:

1st​​ Jan 2020 event:​​ RSVP, photos and graphics

Catriona Hilliard, IWAI Offaly Vice Chairperson
086 3816219​​ 

2020BC & Grand Canal Closure Memo:

Mick Kinahan, IWAI Dublin 2020BC Project Lead 086 8150483​​ 


Inland Waterways Association of Ireland



Notes to Editor – the IWAI


The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) is a voluntary body representing over three​​ thousand​​ five hundred enthusiasts, with 23​​ branches across the island of Ireland.​​ 

The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) is an energetic, fun, voluntary​​ organisation​​ with members from all corners of the Island of Ireland, all sharing a keen and passionate enthusiasm​​ for the waterways of Ireland.​​ 

The IWAI advocates the navigation, use, maintenance, protection, restoration and improvement of the inland waterways of Ireland.​​ It was formed in 1954 to promote the development, use and maintenance of Ireland's navigable rivers and canals.​​ 

When the Shannon was almost totally undeveloped for pleasure boating, the IWAI campaigned against the building of low bridges, thus ensuring the development of the river as a national asset.​​ In the 1960s IWAI successfully​​ campaigned to stop​​ plans to close the Circular Line of the Grand Canal in Dublin. Later the Association campaigned for the re-opening of what is now the Shannon - Erne Waterway (formerly the Ballinamore & Ballyconnell Canal) and the Naas Line of the Grand Canal. ​​ 

IWAI played its part in the restoration campaign for the re-opening of the Royal Canal between Dublin and the Shannon in recent years. IWAI assistance to the campaign to re-open the Ulster Canal has also borne fruit with the announcement that work is to begin on re-opening the section from the Erne to Clones. Currently, IWAI members are active in restoration projects on the Boyne, Newry and Lagan Canals.​​ 

IWAI Branches hold approximately 200 events each year across inland navigations with the wider communities in many locations. These events include Boat Rallies, Harbour Festivals, Walks, Social Gatherings, Heritage Activities; Family activities and Youth focused events.




National Website Details ​​ ​​

County​​ Offaly

The Story of Brickmaking in Pullogh by Caitriona Devery, published by Offaly History​​, and a​​ piece of Pullogh brick which built many a building in Dublin and environs

Tullamore Train Station​​ timetables​​ to acknowledge the prior ownership of the Grand Canal by CIÉ​​ and​​ the physical​​ link between Offaly, Kildare and Dublin​​ 

A sign from the new Edenderry E-Hive Remote Working venue

A bottle of Kilbeggan Whiskey reflecting trading barge links to the distilling industry in the past and to highlight the Ballycommon – Kilbeggan spur line off the Grand Canal; de-watered for decades

A piece of turf


County​​ Kildare

A St. Brigid’s Cross as she could work miracles!

Walking boots and a bicycle pump to symbolise the Greenway development for walkers and cyclists​​ through the three counties​​ of Offaly, Kildare and Dublin




The Green and Silver route and the River Barrow Navigation

Grand Canal, Royal Canal and River Barrow Navigation charts jointly produced in recent years by​​ 

Waterways Ireland and IWAI

County​​ Dublin

A Guinness Glass (empty) to link to that trade that came out of Dublin via the​​ Grand​​ Canal

An IWAI Dublin Green & Silver brass commemorative plaque

Grand Canal Offerings​​ – to be presented 1st​​ January 2020​​