CIC to Ardclough Mar 2013

St Patrick’s weekend cruise in company.

Audio Podcast from RTE 2013

Two miles an hour – A magical journey along the Grand Canal in County Offaly on board GCC 68M, narrated by writer Eugene O’Brien, with skipper Gerry Burke, boatman Andy Maloney, songwriter Wayne Brennan, artist Veronica Nicholson and various guests encountered along the way.  A Grand Experience, an Offaly County Council Mixed Bag Film, is available as a DVD from Mixed Bag Media On-Line Shop

Easter at Blackwood and Robertstown

Surveying the Naas and Corbally Branches

On May 28th 2013, Graham Liddy of the Charts Special Interest Group (CSIG) assisted by Ciaran Spring set out to create an accurate tracklog of the Naas Branch.

With a shore crew of Martin Fogarty from Waterways Ireland, and Pa, Beth and Paddy from Kildare IWAI, they succeeded in surveying the Naas Branch into the Harbour and 70% of the Corbally Branch to just before Hoare’s Bridge.  Unfortunately, at this point due to an overabundance of weed, the team was unable to proceed all the way to Corbally Harbour.  “We will return” said Graham “to finish the job ……… when the weeds are cleared.”

This work is part of an overall CSIG initiative led by Graham to create an accurate log of the canals from Clondra to Dublin on the Royal and from Dublin to Shannon Harbour on the Grand.  When the CSIG publish the resulting charts, they will be of benefit to many in Kildare including boaters, walkers, cyclists, tourists, rescue services and local authorities.

To view more information see CSIG.

Naas Canal Festival October 2013

Having enjoyed a glorious season, from April to October, travelling the waterways throughout the country, Kildare IWAI boats turned for home and up the Grand Canal in time to attend the Naas Canal Festival. Some were on the Erne, some on the Shannon lakes, some on the Barrow and some completed the Green and Silver route. There was talk of ”cancelling the Rally” because of low water levels on the summit with some boats going aground. Waterways Ireland was notified, their response was swift and soon levels were restored. Well done to WI. Disaster averted.

This year’s event saw 22 boats ascend the five locks into Naas harbour.  Among the fleet were 118B who travelled in their first season to Lough Derg and 72M who completed their Green and Silver, well done Ronnie and Mary. The flotilla was assisted through the Naas Branch locks, on both Friday and Saturday, by a combined WI and volunteer lock staff. Well done all. With all the boats safely in the harbour, crews and guests assembled in the Canal Stores building for some light refreshment.

Sona Samba band returned this year; they danced and played fantastic Samba music on the Main Street in Naas as members passed out flyers. We then “Sambaed” back down to the Harbour in the spilling rain Traditional Brazilian Music in Traditional Irish Weather.

Throughout Saturday, soup and fresh made scones warmed the hearts, as Arts, Crafts, homemade Preserves, Sales, Raffles and Auctions raised money for a Kildare IWAI friend. The Mayor of Naas Emer McDaid called in to show her support and wish us well. Saturday evening saw activity centred once again on the Canal Stores where the Monster BBQ took place. Special guests included Batman, Werewolves, Pharaohs, Pirates, a coven of witches and the wheelchair bound Father Jack pushed by Mrs Doyle, go-on, go-on, go-on!

The harbour itself also got a makeover with chains of lights suspended over the water, connecting the boats, many of which also brightened up for the occasion. Boat St Ledger, looking like a UFO had landed, with a truly spectacular array of blue lights, won “Best Lit Boat”.

Sunday afternoon saw the “Kildare inaugural Mixed Doubles Dart Tournament” sponsored by Spec savers! A huge success and great fun. Watch out Phil Taylor!

Sunday evening everybody retired to the restaurant of the Townhouse Hotel for prize giving. Branch chairperson Jim Connolly welcomed everybody 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 Endeavour Cup was awarded to Luke and Tiernan for their outstanding salesmanship at the special stall set up for the weekend.  The Mick Clinton Perpetual Award for outstanding service to the branch went to Beth, for her work on the Kildare IWAI Website.