Tag Archives: Operations

Ballygalane on the Blackwater

Lismore Canal lock 28_resize

The Lismore Canal lock

The only lock on the Lismore Canal is at Ballygalane, on the River Blackwater. Here is a new page about the canal, with photos of some of its important features.

Big it up for the Kingstown Blazers

Hats off to the Irish Sailing Association for its successful campaign to persuade owners of diesel-powered pleasure craft to pay the Mineral Oil Tax. The ISA reckoned that, if more folk paid up, the nasty foreigners might allow boaters to continue to use patriotic green diesel:

It may already be too late to save the present diesel supply system in Ireland, but the very least we can do is to strengthen the country’s case by paying the tax. If we don’t do that, we won’t have a leg to stand on.

There have been other press releases since then, and the ISA has said that

The issue for leisure sailors is not the price of diesel but its availability.

Which suggests that it’s only a series of misfortunes that has prevented 99.75% of owners from paying the tax they should have paid. Perhaps the dog ate their chequebooks.

But the ISA put its shoulder to the wheel, its nose to the grindstone and its money where its mouth was, calling on other people to pay up. And, by golly, they did. It is no doubt as a result of the ISA’s call that the number of folk paying Mineral Oil Tax in 2015 (for 2014) was …

30%

… up on the previous year’s figure.

Admittedly that just meant it went from 20 to 26, so the non-compliance rate is still around 99.75%, but let us not mock honest effort. If the number continues to increase at six a year, there will be full compliance by the year 3677, which will be good; I look forward to recording the event.

For the record:

Year Payers Litres Amount
2010 for 2009 38 n/a n/a
2011 for 2010 41 n/a n/a
2012 for 2011 22 141,503.29 €53,398.58
2013 for 2012 23 301,674 €113,841.45
2014 for 2013 20 279,842.4 €105,561.74
2015 for 2014 26 289,151 €108,934.80

The income generated by the tax is about 10% of the amount the ISA gets from the state every year.

 

A canal is not just for Christmas …

… but I’d like to know more about Mr Christmas’s canals.

Off the Suir, near Mount Congreve.

How true these words are …

… even today.

Connected system

Blueways and traffic

I wonder whether it would be wise to issue some guidance to masters of larger vessels about (a) the likelihood of meeting numbers of canoeists, kayakers, stand-up paddleboarders (SUPpers) and others on particular stretches of water and (b) what to do on meeting them. Guidance to operators of the smaller craft might be useful too. I’m thinking in particular of the restricted visibility on parts of the Camlin and the prospect of encountering a fleet of SUPpers on a tight bend.

The Camlin and the Lough Allen Canal in effect enforce their own speed limits, but I don’t know whether there is any limit on the Shannon between Tarmonbarry and Lough Forbes. If there isn’t, perhaps a limit should be imposed to protect those on small craft.

 

Blueways

Longford Tourism and Waterways Ireland are holding an information meeting about Blueways in Longford tomorrow. It’s in the Backstage Theatre on Tuesday 24 March 2015 at 7.00pm. The blurb reads:

Are you an activity provider, accommodation provider, walker, boater, canoeist, outdoor enthusiasts?

Longford Tourism, in conjunction with Waterways Ireland is delighted to invite you to a Public Information Meeting regarding exciting new recreation and tourism products called Blueways.

Blueways are a series of innovative, safe and easy to use water and land-based trails. These provide for guided and unguided paddling, walking and cycling. Visitors can opt to paddle along the Shannon Blueway, on a 10km looped trail along the Camlin and Shannon Rivers, while the Royal Blueway provides 16km of off road walking and cycling from Cloondara to Longford Town.

To celebrate this exciting trails development, Longford Tourism will host the inaugural Longford Blueways Festival in April. So, come along and hear how you can get involved. All are welcome to attend.

I wish them well and I hope this initiative works. I think that the Blueways are more likely to be successful than any attempted revival of the cruiser-hire business (although I’d like that to work too). However, I would like to learn more about the Blueways business model (if that’s the right term). Who has to invest how much and who gets what returns? Clearly, Waterways Ireland spends money up front, but far less (I presume) than (say) canal restoration would require. But are there viable businesses, or at least viable supplementary income-generating activities, for small local service providers? How do they reach overseas markets? Or is the focus on domestic markets?

One point that strikes me is that Blueways allow for more interaction between tourists and locals: something that used to be a strength of the Irish tourism offering (I’m trying to keep up with modern marketing jargon here) until we decided we were too busy being rich and successful to waste time chatting to tourists (or, if you prefer, providing unpaid support services to the tourism industry). Indeed we felt that even paid employment in tourist enterprises was beneath us: we could get nice people from overseas to do that work instead. Did we, I wonder, hollow out Ireland, removing the Irishness, the distinctiveness (whatever it was) from the tourist experience?

If so, the Blueways’ opportunities for interaction with small-scale and local enterprises might put them back again. There are difficulties in making a living from small-scale operations, but there are benefits too. And the Blueways might tap into other local, small-scale developments: for instance, the recent startling growth in the number of craft breweries. The Lough Allen and Longford Blueways each have a local brewery — St Mel’s in Longford and Carrig in Drumshanbo — and the products of at least one other brewery, Co Roscommon’s Black Donkey, are available on the North Shannon. Maybe, now that KMcG is back, “Places to find good beer” might be added to places to stay, eat and go on the Blueways website.

A Blueway is defined there as

a recreational water activity trail that is developed for use by non-motorised water activity enthusiasts. It is defined by trail heads, put in and take out points and readily available trail information. Blueways can be developed on canals, rivers, lakes or along the coast and can incorporate other associated land base​d trails adjacent to the water trail.

So what about a Blueway for Lough Oughter, with sailing, canoeing and camping?

[h/t Carthach O’Maonaigh]

Navigations under threat

Limerick City & County Council [why don’t they shorten it to Limerick Council?] is examining options for an improved road from Limerick to Foynes, which is the main port on the Shannon Estuary. The options are set out on this website and you can download a PDF map that makes it easier to see the details.

The Red Route would cross the Deel Navigation just below Askeaton: the existing route does the same so there might not be any extra interference with the navigation. But the Red Route would also cross the Maigue and the Blue Route would do so just below the new quay at Adare. No doubt the Adarians would welcome a bypass but I imagine that some will be watching to ensure that navigation on the Maigue is not impeded.

Meanwhile we learn that some folk and some other folk want the railway line from Foynes to be reinstated. I have no idea why they think that’s a good idea: it’s not as if there were vast piles of incoming freight piled up at Foynes, unable to be shifted by road. Rip up the tracks and make a greenway, that’s what I say.

Crossing the Barrow

The trackway [towing-path] on the River Barrow changes from the east {left) bank to the west at Leighlinbridge and back again at Graiguecullen/Carlow.

It seems to me that there may have been some difficulties in getting horse-drawn boats from one side of the river to the other and I have found no evidence on how it was done, so here is some speculation instead.

The Liffey link lottery

In The Grand Canal of Ireland [David & Charles, Newton Abbot 1973], Ruth Delany says

In 1784 the construction of a link with the River Liffey had been discussed.

John Brownrigg had suggested a link from the Grand Canal Company’s harbour at James’s Street, but the plan eventually adopted was that of the Circular Line, the four-mile canal we have today, joining the Liffey via the Grand Canal Docks at Ringsend.

However, I have found a piece of evidence showing that the company considered the Liffey link ten years earlier, in 1774. Delany says that there are no board minutes for two years between 1773 and 1775, which would explain why this earlier plan has not hitherto been noticed. The evidence is from the Hibernian Journal; or, Chronicle of Liberty 19 October 1774.

The Trustees for executing the Canal of Communication between the Canal and the Harbour of Dublin, Toll free, confiding in the Favour of the Public for the Support of a Work of so great national Utility, have unanimously resolved upon the following Scheme, grafted upon the State Lottery for this present Year, for raising a Fund for that Purpose.

The Necessity of this Application to the Public at present, will appear from a Report of the Committee of Works of the Canal Company, certifying that the Works contracted for by Mr Traill between the Liffey at or near Sallins and the City Bason, are in such Forwardness as to render it absolutely necessary to proceed in making the above mentioned Communication early in the next Year; the said Report is in the Hands of the Secretary to the Canal Company.

2 prizes of                      £2000          is £4000
4 prizes of                         £750          is £3000
5 prizes of                         £150          is   £750
10 prizes of                          £50          is   £500
20 prizes of                          £40         is   £400 *
40 prizes of                             £5        is   £200
180 prizes of                            £1/10   is   £270
600 prizes of                           £1         is   £600
19150 prizes of                          £0/6     is £5740 *
First drawn first three days £40          is   £120
Last drawn                          £200          is   £200
£15780

NB Not quite two Blanks to a Prize; and the Publick will take notice, that £35 is accounted for more than the Tickets will amount to.

Ten per Cent to be deducted from the Prizes for the Use of the Scheme.

15000 Tickets, 4 Numbers each, at £1 1s each to Subscribers for a Lot not less than 50 Tickets.

Price to Non-subscribers, one Guinea each Ticket.

Subscriptions are now receiving, and Tickets delivering out at the Navagation-house [sic] in Grafton-street, where the Prizes will be paid immediately after the Arrival of the Numerical Book from London. The Securities required from the Subscribers, viz Bankers Notes, Government and Fire-office Insurance Debentures, and City of Dublin Bonds, are to be lodged in the Bank of Thomas Finlay, Esq, and Company.

The Names of the Trustees for carrying the above Scheme into Execution, may be seen at the Navigation-House [sic], in Grafton-street.

There’s an idea for DAHG.

 

 

* sic

Shannon history

Folk interested in the history of the Shannon Navigation, and in particular in the work of the Shannon Commissioners in the 1840s, may like to get hold of an article “Steam, the Shannon and the Great British breakfast”, published in the Journal of the Railway & Canal Historical Society Vol 38 Part 4 No 222 March 2015.