Where it began ………..

Construction of the Grand Canal started in Kildare, at Sallins. 

In 1756, Thomas Omer, Engineer to the Board of the Inland Navigation, commenced work on the Grand.  Thousands of men are reputed to have been employed digging the channel and building the various structures along its length using stone from the Golierstown Quarry.  By 1759, a navigation channel two miles west of Sallins and eight miles towards Dublin was complete.  Six bridges and three locks were finished by 1763.    

Sallins – today

Today Sallins is a boating centre with both serviced linear moorings to the east of Sallins Bridge and grass moorings on the west side, extending to Soldier’s Island.   

The navigation and much of these early structures from the 1750s are still in existence, including the navigation channel itself with its stone walls, the six bridges and the three locks where the shape of the original structures can be seen. 

Sallins is a stop on the “Green and Silver” Tourism Route.  The Grand, Royal and Shannon form a triangular navigation extending from the Liffey in Dublin to Shannon Harbour on the Grand Canal; Clonmacnoise, Athlone and Lanesborough on the River Shannon; and Clondara, Mullingar, Enfield and Kilcock to Dublin on the Royal Canal. 

Kildare’s Industrial Heritage

Kildare is home to many interesting canal features constructed from the 1750s onwards, including:  

  • Corbally Canal and Harbour
  • Digby Bridge Four Pots overflow system
  • Liffey Aqueduct
  • Lowtown Transhipment Sheds, Agent’s House and Lockkeeper’s Cottage
  • Monasterevin Harbours and Lifting Bridge
  • Naas Harbour and Canal Stores
  • Robertstown Harbour, Hotel and Stables
  • Sallins Drydock
  • Skew Bridges on the Naas Canal and in Allenwood
  • Trading Barges on the Grand Canal