Invitation to book launch, and remembering Brian

Readers of this site will be aware that in the final months of his life Brian brought together a collection of his writing to be published posthumously. That book – Waterways and Means – is now finished, and we, his family, would love you to join us for its launch and to remember Brian.

When: Thursday 2nd June 2022, 5.30pm

Where: Flanagan’s on the Lake, Ballina, Co Tipperary

Please come, and spread the word to anyone who may like to join us. 


Waterways and Means is a selection of writings mainly on the late 18th and 19th century, a boom period for Irish waterways.  HM Treasury had cash to burn and influential Irish MPs were keen to bring that money home in the form of infrastructure investment.

As navigation by water became faster and easier, new possibilities opened up: fresh eggs and bacon to Liverpool for breakfast, a ready supply of turf to Limerick to fuel the distillery, bogs drained for arable land, and fast, comfortable trips to Kilkee to take the sea air.

Based on a collection of Brian’s extensive research and writings on Irish waterways, this book tells the story of those improvements and of many diversions along the way: waterways which were never completed, debauchery in the canals of Dublin, cargoes stolen, workers on strike and boats sunk.

It is a selection of what his family hope you will find to be interesting articles, rather than a comprehensive history of Ireland’s waterways.


The book will be available for purchase at the event at a special price of €30, and on the IWAI website after launch.  The event will be about remembering him, as much as launching the book.

Other launch events:

Waterways Ireland will be hosting a launch event on 1st June in Dublin for both the book and the archival materials that have been donated to them by Brian’s family.  As numbers will be limited at this event, please let me know if you would like to attend it and I’ll send details.

The Heritage Boat Association is hosting a launch of the book on Sunday 5th June at their 21st anniversary gathering in Ballinasloe.  If you are not attending the gathering and wish to attend this, please let me know as the HBA would like an indication of numbers.

Contact can be made by leaving a comment in response to this post. The comment won’t be published unless relevant to a wider audience.

Exciting news

The final proof of Brian’s book, “Waterways and Means – Power, money and folly in Irish Waterways History”, has just gone to the publisher. Watch out for more news here as we arrange for launch, and celebrations of Brian’s life, on 1st to 5th June in Dublin, Killaloe and Ballinasloe.

National Library archive news

This website has now been preserved for many generations to come by the National Library of Ireland as part of the National Collection.  You can access it directly at
and it will also be made accessible through the NLI's catalogue.

We, Brian's family, intend to keep the Irishwaterwayshistory domain for the foreseeable future, but Brian's work is now futureproofed.

We are working hard on the publication of Brian's book and intend to have it ready for a celebration of his life in the autumn.  In the meantime, stay safe.


Death of Brian J Goggin

Brian J Goggin

Today we have lost a much loved husband, father and grandfather, the author of the material on this website, Brian J Goggin.

Brian was dedicated to his research work on the waterways and loved to share the material he discovered. This website is the fruit of that labour, and it contributed to many friendships and interesting conversations over the years. He was an entertaining speaker and loved to share his knowledge with those who he hoped would share his passion for the history of the waterways.

Some of you may have met us as a family while we were on the River Shannon on our barge, Knocknagow. Brian loved to chat to everyone he met, particularly if they had stories about canals, boats, and related history. 

Beyond his work and personal interests, Brian was a loving and generous husband, and a hugely supportive parent. He chose to be called Grumpy by his grandchildren but delighted in making them giggle, reading bedtime stories with great animation, and encouraging them to drum on every surface possible. He was rarely without our dogs: at least one of Newby, Leavy, Pippa and Goldie are in almost every photo we have of him.

He was curious about the minutiae of the world in a way few are. He read widely, always diving deeply into other points of view and always broadening his knowledge. Even in his final days he was devouring books – and leaves behind a hefty collection that his family may one day read 2% of!

We’ll miss him for everything that he was, and everything that he helped the people around him to be. We’ll remember his constant encouragement, and his quiet efforts to help others succeed. We’ll remember his love of the waterways, and the times we shared with him there.

Remembering Brian

With Covid limiting events, we are not holding an open service. Instead we ask three things of you, depending on how you wish to remember Brian:

  1. Share a memory or appreciation

If you have a memory of Brian or a message to share please leave a comment on this post, or contact us at the email address below. That could be as a friend, a loved one, or simply as a reader of the website.

  1. Remember Brian’s love of the waterways

We can’t be together to remember Brian, but we can have a shared experience: remembering Brian by the places he loved so much.

If you want to remember Brian, find a stretch of waterway (he particularly loved the Shannon), or industrial heritage on the waterways, and spend some time in quiet reflection there, thinking of any memories you have of him.

  1. Celebrate his life and come to book launch next year

In a year’s time, we are hoping to have an opportunity to remember Brian, and to publish the first of two books. After his terminal diagnosis in August he worked intensely to arrange much of his writing so that it can be published posthumously, and left behind at least two books’ worth of material, which we will be preparing for publication.

We’ll publicise the event closer to the time, but we hope to see as many of you as possible there when the time comes – to celebrate his work, and to celebrate the legacy of our wonderful man. 

Anne, Carolan and Ian
Direct mails can be sent to


In my page about the Monivea navigations I wrote that I would be glad to hear from anyone who can provide more information about them, past or present.

Marian Hardiman has very kindly put up photos of the flax mill and a windmill near Monivea on Facebook.

She also drew my attention to the excellent site of Skehana & District Heritage, which is packed with interesting articles. A search said that there were 158 on Monivea alone.


New header image

Slightly early for September 2020. Lecarrow off Lough Ree.


There is a new video about Killaloe’s waterside heritage on the Heritage Week website here. The video was made in July 2020 by Joe O Dughghaill of Pine Valley Productions, Killaloe.

Before there was Effin

The name Effin Bridge has been given, in jest, to the lifting railway-bridge that crosses the Royal Canal just below Newcomen Bridge in Dublin. Here is an article about the bridges that preceded Effin Bridge at that site.

New header pic August 2020

Tralee Ship Canal

Around the Blackwater

That’s the Munster Blackwater. For some time I have had a page about it here, based on a boat trip from Youghal to (and a little beyond) Cappoquin and on road trips to the Bride and the Lismore Canal.

I thought it would be useful to visit the Blackwater by road, driving around the lower portion from Cappoquin to the Youghal Bridge and back again to visit the various quays and to see what could be seen from the land rather than the water.

I have put up a page here; it has links to individual pages on the places we visited (with photos). You can move from place to place on that page or follow the links on the bottoms of the individual pages to follow a clockwise route around the lower Blackwater from Cappoquin to the Youghal Bridge on the east side and back up on the west side.