Tag Archives: Blanchardstown

Rural nitwits and retirement communities

I’ve just been writing elsewhere to the effect that national politicians are a pack of nitwits. I was cheered therefore, in a sense, to note that local politicians, at least in Co Mayo, are (if possible) even more thick-headed than their national counterparts.

However, I am happy to be able to offer a solution, one that kills two birds with one stone. There are, it seems, many English pensioners living in poverty on boats on the canals and unable (or at least unwilling) to pay for the privilege. I had intended to suggest that Waterways Ireland should provide them with moorings away from the honeypot areas.

WI could then charge more for berths at, say, Hazelhatch, Sallins, Blanchardstown and Lowtown, catering for those in work who could afford a couple of thousand a year, while the pensioners, who don’t need to be within commuting distance of Dublin, could be accommodated in rural areas where their small additional spending would make a difference. That would help to increase those community and economic benefits to which the subsidy-seeking boat-owners draw our attention, bringing spending to deprived rural areas.

I was thinking of Pollagh, for instance: it has a pub, a shop, a church and a visiting burger van, and easy access to supplies of turf.

But the Mayo problem reminds me that Mayo too has lakes. So why not ship the boats to Mayo? As the canals byelaws provide that boats should not discharge any water other than from engine-cooling, these boats must be fitted with holding tanks or other non-discharging loos, so there would be no pollution problem. In fact Mayo could advertise itself to the world as offering floating retirement communities at modest cost, thus renewing its own population while solving a problem for boat-owners. I thnk this is a winner.

The Dublin to Lough Neagh Canal

Here’s another lunatic canal proposal: one I hadn’t come across before.

Proposal for making a line of navigation from Dublin to Lough Neagh

It is proposed by several noblemen and gentlemen of the county of Meath, and of the manufacturing counties of the north of Ireland, the river Boyne company, with several merchants of the city of Dublin and of the commercial towns of the north, to complete, by private subscription, together with such aid as parliament may be pleased to grant, a navigable canal, from the royal canal at Blanchardstown, near Castleknock, in the county of Dublin, to Navan, Kells, Balieborough, Monaghan, Armagh, and Lough Neagh.

The object of this undertaking is to open a direct intercourse between the metropolis and the manufacturing towns of the north; and it is conceived, by the proposers for this undertaking, that a canal, large enough to navigate twenty-five ton boats on, would answer the trade; and in consequence of many locks being already made, rising from the city of Dublin to Castleknock, they think such a canal could be carried on very cheaply from thence to Navan, where another ascent takes place, through the locks of the Boyne navigation to the level of the town of Kells, and the river Blackwater, at Glevin’s bridge, three miles north of that town.

Claven's Bridge over the Blackwater near Kells

Claven’s Bridge over the Blackwater near Kells

My OSI logo and permit number for website

The country northward appears so fit for inland navigation, that no doubt can be entertained of being able to cut cheap canals through it. It is therefore most humbly hoped, if a line for a canal in this direction should be found to answer the expectation, that parliament will be pleased to allow the undertaking to become a part of the intended system of inland navigation of Ireland, and to a share of whatever bounty parliament may grant to accomplish the same.

The advantages that would arise to the nation from this undertaking, are too obvious to take up the time of this honourable house with any comment upon them.

A Atkinson Esq (late of Dublin) Ireland exhibited to England, in a political and moral survey of her population, and in a statistical and scenographic tour of certain districts; comprehending specimens of her colonisation, natural history and antiquities, arts, sciences, and commerce, customs, character, and manners, seats, scenes and sea views. Violent inequalities in her political and social system, the true source of her disorders. Plan for softening down those inequalities, and for uniting all classes of the people in one civil association for the improvement of their country. With a letter to the members of His Majesty’s Government on the state of Ireland Vol II Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, London 1823

The 120′ Irish steam-powered narrow boat

Read about it here.

An unofficial temporary Royal Canal closure?

A correspondent writes:

Trees in the cut (photo reproduced by kind permission of the copyright owner)

 I walked the stretch of the Royal Canal from Drumcondra to Leixlip last Sunday. Just before Callaghan Bridge there was considerable work being done felling trees along the bank. Hopefully no boater tried to pass this way over the weekend […]. Several trees lay across the width of the canal, and a very large section of what looked like plywood was also floating on the surface.

I understand from WI’s website that winter closures affect locks from the 8th eastwards, but no Marine Notice suggests closures just west of the 12th (although closures were expected from the 33rd westward). Perhaps anyone planning to navigate on the long level between the 12th and 13th should check with Waterways Ireland.

 

Alexey Grigoryevich Stakhanov

There has been such interest in my posting on Stakhanovite homoeroticism that I thought I would post a few close-ups of the mural. The light fittings get in the way a bit, but you can pretend that they represent the fires of passion.

 

 

 

 

The chap at the bottom of that last one may represent Diogenes addressing a meeting of the directors of the Royal Canal Company.

 

Stakhanovite homoeroticism

I see in the blatts — well, the Sunday Business Post, actually, although I do realise that other newspapers are read in the servants’ hall — that the Twelfth Lock Hotel at Blanchardstown, on the Royal Canal, is to be sold by public tender on 1 March 2012. No estate agent — the only contact details are for a solicitor and a FRICS FRICI, which means a surveyor (I think) — so there is nothing on tinterweb.

The Twelfth Lock Hotel

The hotel is described thus:

Unique Hotel Opportunity

‘THE TWELFTH LOCK HOTEL’, Castleknock Marina, Royal Canal, Castleknock

Purpose built, 10 Bedroom Hotel, with Loune Bar/Restaurant, private Lounge, Beergarden/Smoking Patio, outer garden and private car park. In unique setting alongside the picturesque Royal Canal Marina.

Older folk will note the link to this story.

I stayed in the hotel once; it was fine. I’ve been in the bar a few times, and noted three things. The first was a range of beers that was wider and better than most Irish pubs serve (which is admittedly not saying much). The second was that the bar food was tasty and served in generous quantities. The third was the mural (I’ve cropped the lower part of the photo to omit the customers) of chaps building the canal.

Twelfth Lock Hotel mural

The hotel is in a wonderful location, off a quiet road but close to the railway, the M50 motorway and the Wonderful O of the junction with the Royal Canal crossing in the middle.

Crossing the Wonderful O

 

Boat descending the twelfth lock (a double). The building on the left at the top is the hotel

 

Across the canal are flats is where the Blanchardstown Mills stood; the site has unsuspected depths.

Flats

I don’t really know the status of the “marina”. It seems to consist of a short run of pontoons with gated access. I think it’s a good idea to have such an arrangement; perhaps something similar could be done on the Grand Canal.

The marina (2005)

The marina (2009)

 

But who runs it and controls the allocation of spaces? I don’t know: although the gateway seems to have Waterways Ireland branding, there is also this sign:

Castleknock Marina sign

Its website doesn’t seem to have changed much for several years and the “How goes it” page, showing progress in raising funding, doesn’t seem to work. There is a hire firm too.

Hire firm

It would be nice if the hotel, marina and hire firm were to continue in operation.

 

 

 

Clontarf to Clondra

The Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club, recreating the Club’s 1925 trip, entered the Royal Canal sea lock from the Liffey on Saturday morning, 16 April 2011; some boats have reached Abbeyshrule this evening, and they hope to reach Clondra tomorrow evening, which will be four days from the Liffey.

That’s very fast: for Blanchardstown to/from Clondra, IWAI Dublin Branch estimated 5 days X 8 hours and I estimated 6 days X 7 hours, plus another day from the Liffey to Blanchardstown (12th Lock). I understand that CYBC has been doing very long days; I’ll get details later. In the meantime, well done CYBC.