My attention has been drawn to this Dáil written question by Joan Burton TD (Dublin West, Labour) and the answer by Éamon Ó Cuív TD (Minister, Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs; Galway West, Fianna Fail).
The layout on the kildarestreet site is not perfect, so I reproduce some of the list here:
The following are the details requested by the Deputy in respect of non-navigable stretches of canals that are within the control of Waterways Ireland and are being or could be restored:
- Kilbeggan Branch (8.2 miles long) in Co. Offaly and Co. Westmeath
- Part of Naas & Corbally Branch (Corbally Extension) (4.4 miles long) in Co. Kildare
- Barrow Line Part of Mountmellick Branch (0.25 miles long) in Co. Kildare (remaining 11 miles filled in).
- Part of Royal Canal (11 miles long) in Co. Longford, currently under restoration
- Longford Branch (3 miles long) in Co. Longford.
The Royal Canal main line is currently under restoration and the remaining work necessary to return it to full navigation between Dublin and the Shannon is due for completion in 2010.
- 46 miles long in Co. Cavan, Co. Monaghan, Co. Fermanagh and Co. Armagh.
Approval has been given to Waterways Ireland to restore the stretch between Lough Erne and Clones. Present indications are that this stretch could be re-opened by 2013.
And (perhaps because the economy was so successful) we could have waterways everywhere:
It is intended, subject to availability of resources, to carry out feasibility studies and preliminary designs in relation to the Longford Branch, the Kilbeggan Branch and the Corbally Extension, along with extensions to Annagh Upper near Dowra on the Shannon Navigation and to Lough Oughter on the Erne System with a view to possible re-opening. Consideration will also be given to the carrying out of preliminary analysis and assessment of the Mountmellick Branch, as well as the Boyne Navigation (which is primarily a river navigation) and the extension towards Mohill on the Rinn River, as future possibilities for restoration.
“The Irish economy entered severe recession in 2008,” according to Wikipedia’s useful summary of the financial crisis, but Craggy Island (nach maireann, comme on dit) still hoped to drag Ireland into the Canal Age.