Those of us familiar with the Grand Canal in the Naas/Sallins area will have been fortunate enough to have met Martin Fogarty, of Waterways Ireland, on our journey. Martin passed away on December 12th, 2021 after a short illness. We are shocked and deeply saddened.
We first met Martin in 2003 when making our maiden trip into Dublin. He was a steady fellow – patient, courteous and helpful. It was the start of a great friendship, and we always looked forward to seeing him on our next journey. He seemed to know we were in his “territory” before we had even asked him for assistance! The sight of Lock 16, Digby Bridge, set and ready for us on approach, was a pleasure to behold. And there, on the footboards, was Martin – ready, with a wave of his lock-key and a big, broad smile.
For many years, the Kildare Branch’s boating season has culminated with the Naas Rally. Martin was ever-present, easing our passage through the locks on the Naas Line.
Like many others, our 2020 boating plans went awry due to Covid. It was July 2021 when we finally made it out of Dublin and onto Martin’s territory, travelling in company with another crew who were less familiar with the Grand. We suggested they contact Martin in advance of the next leg of their journey. On reading back through my phone messages today, I see the final sentence was “Martin Fogarty – a great guy. Always very helpful”.
On July 20th, we passed through Lock 18, enjoying a long catch-up with Martin. As he waved us on and we shouted our thanks, he said “See you next year!” Alas, it is not to be. Martin Fogarty – a great guy.