St Patrick’s Day 2012 – Newbridge

Kildare IWAI members descended on Newbridge for the St Patrick’s Day Parade. The entry consisted of Joe Rooney’s cruiser, a RIB and the IWAI trailer. The unusual site of boats out of water created great interest among the crowd gathered to watch the parade. More interesting still, was the sight of our own St Patrick and the famous Kildare serpent. Many people took leaflets highlighting the inland waterways of Kildare as well as copies of IWN.

Easter Rally 2012 – Ticknevin

The Rally was guests of  the Ticknevin Community Group who have done great work cleaning and maintaining the canal and surrounding areas. Boats travelling from the east remarked that this stretch of water now has plenty of depth and no problems due to the recent dredging work carried out by Waterways Ireland to remove New Zealand Pygmyweed CAISIE between Lullymore and Ticknevin.

The boats gathered on Good Friday, mooring at Ticknevin Bridge near Derrinturn. On Saturday morning, it looked like the children’s Easter Egg hunt was about to crumble in that there was only three children in the fleet and one of them was asleep! Just at that moment, there was an invasion of local Ticknevin children and the hunt got underway, later followed by a second hunt for the remaining chocolate treats. (It just goes to show that you can never write off an event at a Kildare IWAI Rally. The Easter Egg hunt went down as one of the Rally highlights).

While the children (and some parents) were hunting for eggs, the adults got busy with gloves and bags and litter pickers, cleaning both banks of the canal from Ticknevin bridge to Lock 20. The workforce and others enjoyed soup and brown bread when the task was complete. Food remained the theme for the rest of the evening with a well stocked barbeque and a range of bring your own culinary delights. The music and the chat continued well into the night and warmth was provided by Niall and his, now legendary fire, bright and hot enough to attract the attention of some of Ticknevin’s locals who joined the boaters at the end of the evening.

Kildare IWAI is very grateful to Robert Bergin & David Smullen (Barbeque) and Mary Hill & Felim Daly (Easter Eggs), the Garda Siochana in Derrinturn, Waterways Ireland and the community of Ticknevin for supporting this year’s Rally.

Afterwards, some boats cruised westwards to Daingean.   Heading the other way, Dublin featured in many members’ itinerary and one of the highlights of the year was a Kildare IWAI Gathering in Kilcock and the Midsummer Rally on the Royal.

Corbally Harbour Workparty – in association with National Volunteering Week 2012

A dedicated group of members and some local volunteers cleared rubbish from the towpath and harbour area. Waterways Ireland folks took away the rubbish; Kildare IWAI thanks Jenny Blackford and her staff for their continued support.

Kildare IWAI event on the Royal Canal at Kilcock – Saturday June 9th

En-route from Dublin to the Shannon, the members organised a Gathering in Kilcock Harbour on the Royal Canal. The people of Kilcock watched a parade of boats entering the Harbour with the Clinton Family on the lead boat. The flotilla represented many IWAI branches, with a strong representation from Kildare IWAI. Gerard Mc Geeney of the Kilcock branch of the Royal Canal Amenity Group (RCAG) was the man on the ground in Kilcock and at very short notice ensured a very warm welcome for the visiting fleet. Lord Mayor of Kilcock Martin O’Connor and representatives of the Kilcock Business Association, Kilcock Community Network, Kilcock Parish and the RCAG spoke to the large crowd of locals and visitors in the harbour, saying how delighted they were to see so many boats on the Royal Canal. Tributes were also paid to members of the RCAG who worked tirelessly to realise the potential of the Royal Canal. Special mention was made of the late Michael Clinton and Liam Fowler. IWAI President Greg Whelan spoke of the excitement of travelling new waters, sentiments echoed by Kildare IWAI officers. The enjoyable evening continued with a fantastic feast consisting of a barbeque provided by Ryan’s butchers Kilcock and various dishes contributed by each of the boats.  Many thanks to all involved.

Summer Cruising

The fleet were guests of Abbeyshrule Canal Group and enjoyed outstanding hospitality at the Midsummer Rally from Coolnahay to Richmond Harbour.  Many of the boats then proceeded north and spent a week at the Jamestown Festival before heading further north for a glorious sunny interlude on Lough Key availing of the new WI jetties there.  Heading back south, after awaiting a suitable weather window, the boats crossed Lough Ree early one morning and partook of a Raft Breakfast, a first for many.   Then it was down river and back into the Canal system.  Everyone enjoyed the Banjo Festival in Tullamore and the hunt for ideal sloes along the Kilbeggan Branch of the Grand Canal.

The crews celebrated the completion of their Green and Silver route at Ticknevin, Lowtown and Soldiers’ Island, near Naas.  The cruising season ended eight months after its start, on the Naas Branch with the annual Naas Canal Festival.

Naas Canal Festival 2012

As Hallowe’en approaches each year it can mean only one thing for Kildare IWAI…time once again for the annual Naas Canal Festival to close the cruising season. This year’s event saw 24 boats ascend the five locks into Naas Harbour.  Among the fleet were 72M and 53M who experienced a tight squeeze in some of the chambers. A combined force of WI and volunteer lockkeepers helped all boats through the locks. Well done all. With all the boats safely in the harbour, crews and guests assembled in the Canal Stores building for some light refreshment. The Kildare Youth Services, once again, lent us the building for the occasion.  Many thanks, KYS!  It simply would not be possible to run this event outdoors at this time of the year.

Thanks to the support of Tommy Lavelle of KYS and Naas Town Council, our proposal for an outside water tap for use by boaters, is now a reality.  Boaters who wish to use the tap to the rear of the Canal Stores, should contact a member of Kildare IWAI committee.

Saturday morning of the Festival saw a large crowd packed into the Canal Stores for a presentation by Les Saunders and Pat Mc Manus from the Charts Special Interest Group (CSIG).  Les and Pat described progress and showed results of the surveying and mapping, so far.  All present were impressed with the accuracy of the data collected and Kildare IWAI look forward to supporting this project as it develops.

After the talk it was time to launch an assault on the Limerick Road Bridge, a culverted road crossing at Jigginstown on the Corbally Branch between Naas and Corbally Harbours. Led by 72M with the Sona Samba band playing on her decks, nine barges and one cruiser took part in this event, designed to raise awareness among locals of the potential for water-based activity right on their doorstep. The sight of the boats and the music of Sona Samba had onlookers running for cameras, dancing on the canal bank and in all cases delighted to see the boats once again on this stretch of canal.

The recent planning permission by WI for the development of a slip and jetty at Jigginstown Bridge suggests that there may be an appetite and support for a campaign to raise the Limerick Road Bridge!

Saturday evening saw activity centred once again on the Canal Stores where the Zombie BBQ took place. There were some interesting transformations through the costumes on display. The harbour itself also got a makeover with chains of lights suspended over the water, forming a luminous lagoon between the boats, many of which also brightened up for the occasion.

Sunday’s weather was not good but the food provided by Naas Country Market was superb.  All in all participants and visitors had a leisurely day, exploring Naas, eating homemade soup and scones and catching up on stories of the past cruising season.

On Sunday evening, Kildare IWAI chairperson, Jim Connolly welcomed everybody at the Townhouse Hotel and thanked them for attending this year’s Festival. Mary and her staff in the Townhouse ensured we all had enough to eat. In true Kildare spirit, prizes were awarded for anything from best dressed boat to best border crossing! The winner of the top prize in the Kildare IWAI draw of a 3-night break including boat hire at Leitrim Quay Holiday Homes was Peter Smith of Newbridge. Well done Peter.

The Mick Clinton Perpetual Award for outstanding service to Kildare IWAI went to Pa and Teresa Keogh. The prizegiving ended with a few words from IWAI President Greg Whelan who attended with his wife Brenda.

At 8:30(am!) on Bank Holiday Monday, 72M fired up her engine and began the exodus from Naas. WI and volunteers were once again on hand to assist safe passage of boats through the five locks.

The Kildare Committee thanks all who participated in Naas Canal Festival 2012, by boat or otherwise. This event continues to go from strength to strength each year. Roll on 2013!


The AGM for Kildare IWAI took place on Thursday November 22 in the Townhouse Hotel in Naas and was attended by 25% of members.  The officers’ reports focused on the successes of Kildare IWAI in the last year and members were congratulated for their continuing support and involvement. Ongoing issues such as access to Dry Docks and new Permit Regulations on the canal system were also discussed.  The 2012 Committee agreed to serve for another year.

Christmas Walk

On December 28th Kildare IWAI joined forces with our near neighbours in North Barrow and descended on the town of Athy to work off the seasonal excesses.  Twenty members representing Kildare, North Barrow and Boyne met at Athy Dry Dock in cold and slightly wet  conditions where they were joined by local historian Frank Taaffe, who very kindly gave of his time and knowledge. Frank talked at length about the history of Athy and the importance of the River Barrow and Grand Canal to its development. The route took the walkers from the Dry Dock along the canal to the harbour, across the Horsebridge where the canal meets the Barrow and then along the river bank to the town square. A warming bowl of soup and an array of sandwiches awaited the gathering courtesy of Paddy Dunne’s pub. Sincere thanks to Barry Keatley, Kathleen Cross and all members of North Barrow IWAI, for collaborating with us on this event. Hopefully it will be the first of many.

AK 2012