The Ballinasloe Line

According to Ruth Delany’s The Grand Canal of Ireland [David & Charles, Newton Abbot 1973], the Ballinasloe Line of the Grand Canal was built between 1824 and 1828 at a cost of £43485 (plus £2769 for a wooden bridge across the Shannon), which the Grand Canal Company borrowed from the Exchequer Loan Commissioners.

The line was 14½ miles long with two locks: Fanning’s, at the junction with the Shannon opposite Shannon Harbour, and Kylemore, which you can see here on Industrial Heritage Ireland’s photo album. The line was closed in 1961. You can follow its course for yourself, from the Ballinasloe harbour, starting here; make sure you’re on either Historic 6″ [around 1840] or Historic 25″ [around 1900].

Fanning's Lock & GC entrance (ash) 04_resize

Fanning’s Lock from the Shannon

Ballinasloe Line 01

Fannings’s Lock and the Ballinasloe Line on the left; the Grand Canal and Shannon Harbour at top right [OSI ~1840]

My OSI logo and permit number for website sized to 480 pixels wide

Kylemore Lock

Kylemore Lock

The canal harbour in Ballinasloe

The canal harbour in Ballinasloe

The footbridge

Neither the OSI Historic 6″ map [~1840] nor the 25″ [~1900] version shows a footbridge across the canal near Ballinasloe, yet there was one — which has outlasted the canal.

The site of the footbridge

The site of the footbridge

It is marked on the OSI Street Map (which I do not have a licence to reproduce) and, from the Ortho aerial photos, it seems to be close to a complex of buildings whose purpose I know not. I presume that it was built in the twentieth century to provide access from those buildings to the river bank, on which there are some small structures, but I am guessing; I would welcome information.

Here are some photos taken from a boat moving down the River Suck past the site.

Ballinasloe Grand Canal footbridge 01_resize

The bridge from upstream

Ballinasloe Grand Canal footbridge 02_resize

Unidentified structure close to the river side of the bridge

Ballinasloe Grand Canal footbridge 03_resize

Closer view

Ballinasloe Grand Canal footbridge 04_resize

Structures on the bank

Ballinasloe Grand Canal footbridge 05_resize

The structure on the bank and that by the bridge

Ballinasloe Grand Canal footbridge 06_resize

Closer look at the structure on the bank

Ballinasloe Grand Canal footbridge 07_resize

Looking upstream at the bridge

Ballinasloe Grand Canal footbridge 08_resize

Probably not wheelchair-accessible

Information welcome.


4 responses to “The Ballinasloe Line

  1. As a child I remember Burnhouse factory empyied into the river Suck,crossing the canal on some kind of foot bridge . Maybe that is the bridge and pumping station ??

  2. Thank you for that. I see here that Burnhouse processed (inter alia) basking sharks, which was pretty exotic. bjg

  3. David O Connor

    One would wonder why
    Waterways Ireland didnt create a slipway at Ballinasloe Marina and reap the financial benefit from boats launched there to go through the lock gates a couple of hundred yards downstream.

  4. Why was the Ballinasloe section of the canal closed? It always seems such a waste and the money that was spent on opening the river suck waterways could have been saved

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