So much to do …

… so little time. The Waterways Ireland annual report for 2013 is available for download here [PDF] but I haven’t had time to examine it yet.

Where is it?

A correspondent is anxious to identify the location shown in a painting of a bridge over a canal.

It is most likely that the scene is somewhere on the wider waterways of northern England. It is just conceivable that it might be in Ireland, though, so I said I’d put a copy up here and see if anyone can identify it. If you can, please leave a Comment below.

Unidentified canal bridge

Unidentified canal bridge. Click to enlarge

A canal is not just for Christmas …

… but I’d like to know more about Mr Christmas’s canals.

Off the Suir, near Mount Congreve.

Fair faa ye

The March 2015 edition of The Ulster Scot [PDF] is now available for downloading from the Ulster Scots Agency website (or wabsteid, as they say in Scots Scots).

I do miss the old days, when the Chief Executive of Waterways Ireland was known in Ulster Scots as the Heid Fector. Parity of esteem for the hamely tongue, that’s what I say.

I think my favourite word is bumfly.

 

How true these words are …

… even today.

Connected system

Limerick flooded again

The waves covered the quays in some places to a depth of three and four feet, and rolled in to the adjoining streets with resistless fury. Shannon-street, Charlotte’s Quay, and the Mall were completely inundated, and in the corn stores on Honan’s-quay, Harvey’s quay, &c, the water reached a height of four feet in some instances.

I already had a page about the floods in Limerick in November 2009; here is an account of the floods in Limerick in 1850.

Lagoon Flights

No, nothing (as far as I can see) to do with the Irish firm Harbour Flights, whose fleet’s mysterious non-appearance (and whose website’s mysterious disappearance) has been noted here. This time it’s Cardiff Business Council that wants to set up a seaplane service between Cardiff and Swansea.

A pan-Wales service would have a “massive” effect on inward investment and tourism, Mr Roberts said.

Hmm.

[h/t Antoin Daltún]

Blueways and traffic

I wonder whether it would be wise to issue some guidance to masters of larger vessels about (a) the likelihood of meeting numbers of canoeists, kayakers, stand-up paddleboarders (SUPpers) and others on particular stretches of water and (b) what to do on meeting them. Guidance to operators of the smaller craft might be useful too. I’m thinking in particular of the restricted visibility on parts of the Camlin and the prospect of encountering a fleet of SUPpers on a tight bend.

The Camlin and the Lough Allen Canal in effect enforce their own speed limits, but I don’t know whether there is any limit on the Shannon between Tarmonbarry and Lough Forbes. If there isn’t, perhaps a limit should be imposed to protect those on small craft.

 

Blueways

Longford Tourism and Waterways Ireland are holding an information meeting about Blueways in Longford tomorrow. It’s in the Backstage Theatre on Tuesday 24 March 2015 at 7.00pm. The blurb reads:

Are you an activity provider, accommodation provider, walker, boater, canoeist, outdoor enthusiasts?

Longford Tourism, in conjunction with Waterways Ireland is delighted to invite you to a Public Information Meeting regarding exciting new recreation and tourism products called Blueways.

Blueways are a series of innovative, safe and easy to use water and land-based trails. These provide for guided and unguided paddling, walking and cycling. Visitors can opt to paddle along the Shannon Blueway, on a 10km looped trail along the Camlin and Shannon Rivers, while the Royal Blueway provides 16km of off road walking and cycling from Cloondara to Longford Town.

To celebrate this exciting trails development, Longford Tourism will host the inaugural Longford Blueways Festival in April. So, come along and hear how you can get involved. All are welcome to attend.

I wish them well and I hope this initiative works. I think that the Blueways are more likely to be successful than any attempted revival of the cruiser-hire business (although I’d like that to work too). However, I would like to learn more about the Blueways business model (if that’s the right term). Who has to invest how much and who gets what returns? Clearly, Waterways Ireland spends money up front, but far less (I presume) than (say) canal restoration would require. But are there viable businesses, or at least viable supplementary income-generating activities, for small local service providers? How do they reach overseas markets? Or is the focus on domestic markets?

One point that strikes me is that Blueways allow for more interaction between tourists and locals: something that used to be a strength of the Irish tourism offering (I’m trying to keep up with modern marketing jargon here) until we decided we were too busy being rich and successful to waste time chatting to tourists (or, if you prefer, providing unpaid support services to the tourism industry). Indeed we felt that even paid employment in tourist enterprises was beneath us: we could get nice people from overseas to do that work instead. Did we, I wonder, hollow out Ireland, removing the Irishness, the distinctiveness (whatever it was) from the tourist experience?

If so, the Blueways’ opportunities for interaction with small-scale and local enterprises might put them back again. There are difficulties in making a living from small-scale operations, but there are benefits too. And the Blueways might tap into other local, small-scale developments: for instance, the recent startling growth in the number of craft breweries. The Lough Allen and Longford Blueways each have a local brewery — St Mel’s in Longford and Carrig in Drumshanbo — and the products of at least one other brewery, Co Roscommon’s Black Donkey, are available on the North Shannon. Maybe, now that KMcG is back, “Places to find good beer” might be added to places to stay, eat and go on the Blueways website.

A Blueway is defined there as

a recreational water activity trail that is developed for use by non-motorised water activity enthusiasts. It is defined by trail heads, put in and take out points and readily available trail information. Blueways can be developed on canals, rivers, lakes or along the coast and can incorporate other associated land base​d trails adjacent to the water trail.

So what about a Blueway for Lough Oughter, with sailing, canoeing and camping?

[h/t Carthach O’Maonaigh]

Are the Sheughers …

seeing sense?

A cynic (not that there are any of them around here) might say that DAHG feels that it has done as much as it’s going to do (admittedly at Waterways Ireland’s expense) by dredging the River Finn and that it has told Monaghan Council that, if it wants any more Sheughery for Clones, it will have to pay for it itself. The Council might like a canal, but only if someone else pays for it, so it will have to be content with a greenway.

And rightly so.