The Lough Owel feeder was the principal supply of water to the summit level of the Royal Canal. The lake is to the north of Mullingar. The canal forms a half-circle around the north side of the town; the feeder joins it there, east of the harbour and dry dock. There is now a proposal that a supply be taken from Lough Ennell, to the south of the town.
Here is the line of the feeder on the Ordnance Survey map of around 1840. It and the canal are marked in blue on the map.
You can drive up to the lake; the road runs quite close to the feeder. There is a parking place by the shore, close to the boats; the sluice house, where the feeder begins, is just a few yards on your left (west).
The Irish Times angling correspondent has commented on the clarity of the water.
There is a short path from the sluices to a footbridge downstream of the house. It follows a semi-circular route and is slightly raised; I don’t know why.
Here is the feeder coming out under the sluice house. It must have been a damp place to live.
I don’t know what the upwelling is. Two possibilities strike me. One is that some or all of the water is pumped or pipeds to the feeder from far out in the lake rather than flowing in to the intake above the sluice house. The other is that water from Cullion fishfarm, which is said to be recirculated into the system, is pumped into the feeder at this point. I hope that somebody will be able to tell me what the true explanation is. In the meantime, if the googlegods are smiling upon us, you will be able to see below an aerial photograph of what I presume to be the fishfarm, which is close to the feeder about one third of the way from the lake to Mullingar.
There are two small concrete structures near the sluice house; I wondered whether they might house pumps.
Heading back towards Mullingar, here (from downstream) is the bridge marked “Road bridge” on the two OSI maps of the sluice house above.
I could show you several more photos of the feeder en route to Mullingar, but when you’ve seen one small stream you’ve seen ’em all. Let us move rapidly to the canal harbour in Mullingar.
It’s an interesting feeder to visit. It’s not as impressive as the Milltown Feeder on the Grand, though.
All photos taken April 2012.