The Park Canal 01: it says in the papers

The Limerick Post of 19 November 2011 carried three stories, all by Marie Hobbins, about the waterways of Limerick.

One, “Riverside city spreads its wings“, was about refurbishment of the Shannon quays in Limerick, with trees, seats and lights as well as …

… spacious boardwalks offering “spectacular views of the river”.

The second story is “City’s waterways under scrutiny: Cleeves and Plassey overgrown with bushes“. It describes a meeting of Limerick City Council’s Environmental Strategy Policy Committee [its current membership is shown here]. Councillor Kathleen Leddin wanted willows and other vegetation cleared from the banks along waterside walks, especially the former Limerick Navigation towing-path from Limerick to Plassey and the Cleeves Bank, which is an embankment on the north bank of the Shannon, downriver from Shannon Bridge to [or perhaps beyond: I have been unable to find a formal description] Barrington’s Quay. She also wanted landing places and would like to see trips run from the city “marina” to Ardnacrusha Power Station.

Councillors and the canal

The third article is “Time to realise value of canal ‘jewel’” and it is about the Park Canal, the stretch of canal that bypasses the Corbally rapids, cutting from the Abbey River upstream to the Shannon a mile below Plassey. The article says that

Renewed efforts are being made to link the Park Canal with the University of Limerick.

This seems to be another instance of the Irish belief that, if you dig or restore a canal, prosperity will follow.

The report says that the canal got €3 million of Euroloot [remember that?] for upgrading [massive PDF: 95146 kb] some years ago but that it …

… urgently requires remedial work to carry out dredging, eliminate stagnation and carry out work on the lock gates to restore the flow of water.

It had been envisaged that the canal, earmarked as “the jewel in the crown of Limerick’s waterways,” would establish a viable transport link between the city and the University of Limerick.

Councillor Gerry McLoughlin is quoted as saying that there were proposals for a water bus, fishing, boating and water sports but that …

… there is no boating activity, either leisure or commercial that would provide transport to and from the university and beyond. […] here we have a natural amenity that would be of great benefit to the local community as well as tourists — the benefit to the city from cruisers from the Royal Canal would be hugely beneficial.

Councillor McLoughlin also believes that a “satisfactory restoration” would “pave the way for establishing a Viking project on Grove Island”, which is not actually on the canal. He also wanted …

… a link-up between King John’s Castle and the canal, which is in the middle of the city and so close to its medieval heart.

And Mayor Jim Long is quoted as saying that the Park Canal is “earmarked for further development”, that a report has been commissioned [he did not say from whom] and that the Council wanted to “link the canal up to UL”.

The report says that the Council is to meet Shannon Development and the unfortunate Waterways Ireland, who have apparently agreed to clean the canal.

What’s where

For background on the old Limerick Navigation, whereof the Park Canal is the furthest downstream of five sections, see here.

I have annotated an extract from an old OSI map to show some of the features to which the councillors referred.

Limerick to Plassey

The next page, The Park Canal 02: local government, discusses the nature of the councillors’ proposals.

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