Tag Archives: Sallins

Sallins delay?

Waterways Ireland has readvertised for a contractor to build a houseboat facility at Sallins on the Grand Canal:

Waterways Ireland seeks tenders from experienced and competent contractors for the construction of a House Boat Mooring Facility in Sallins, Co Kildare.

Work begins at Sallins

New moorings: Waterways Ireland press statement here and marine notice here.

Chambers, pots

Folk knowledgeable about canal engineering and artefacts might be able to contribute to a current discussion, over at the Helpful Engineer’s website, of the Four Pots overflow and the side chambers at Lock 16 (Digby Bridge) on the Grand Canal.

Naas

An account of the official opening of the Naas Branch (County of Kildare Canal) in 1788.

Sallins houseboat facility

Waterways Ireland is seeking tenders for building a “houseboat facility” at Sallins. The interesting bits:

  • 210m of fixed timber moorings for long term mooring
  • 45m of fixed timber moorings for transient moorings
  • metered water supply
  • metered electricity
  • sewage pump-out
  • anti-erosion netting for the canal bank.

During construction, the canal will be closed to navigation but will remain in water. I wonder why.

IRBOA, the Irish Residential Boatowners Association, seems to have vanished, at least from cyberspace: I can’t find its website.

 

FF -v- SF on C18 economic development

More from the splendid KildareStreet.com, this time an actual Dáil debate, with real people speaking, on 30 May 2013. The debate was initiated by Micheál Martin [head honcho in FF, Cork South Central], who asked the minister …

… his plans for capital investment in Waterways Ireland in the coming year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

There are three odd aspects to that question.

The first is that Micheál Martin should already know that the capital expenditure allocation for WI within RoI for 2013 is €4 071 000: I can understand that he wouldn’t have wanted to plough through the vast wodges of budgetary bumpf, but I’m sure he would have read the highlights on this site.

The second oddity is that Micheál Martin must have known that the minister would not himself have any plans for capital expenditure: they would be WI’s plans.

The third oddity is that FF didn’t seem to have any particular reason for asking this question: the rest of the debate (see below) seems rather desultory. Could it be that it’s trying to reclaim the waterways limelight from the Shinners, who’ve been keeping an eye on WI dredging as well as on thon sheugh?

To be honest, it all seems a bit pointless: waterways may be interesting to me, and presumably to readers of this site, but they’re hardly of great national importance. A serious debate, by informed participants, might be useful, but (with all due respect to the contributors) there was little sign of that here.

Jimmy Deenihan did actually give some interesting, albeit minor, details about WI’s plans for this year. I omit the first two paras and the last, which are boring boilerplate bumpf that will be familiar to regular readers.

Jimmy Deenihan [FG, Kerry North/West Limerick]: While the Waterways Ireland 2013 business plan and budget is the subject of ongoing discussions with the co-sponsoring Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland and will require formal approval by the North-South Ministerial Council, I have provided an indicative funding allocation of €4.071 million to Waterways Ireland for capital projects in this jurisdiction in the coming year. This will facilitate capital works by Waterways Ireland in developing, restoring and improving infrastructure for water based and activity recreation and tourism, consolidating facilitates and improving access to the waterways across the navigations.

I am advised that the Waterways Ireland draft 2013 business plan has a development schedule providing for 1354 m of additional moorings across the navigations. Works planned within this jurisdiction include a range of major projects such as upgrading Bagenalstown Lock on the Barrow; provision of a slipway and stabilisation of the dock walls at Grand Canal Dock, dredging the Grand Canal; development of houseboat facilities at Lowtown and Sallins; lifting the bridge at Tullamore depot; bridge upgrades, works on weirs and locks on the Shannon; and commencement of work on the Belturbet Service Block on the Shannon Erne and purchase of plant and machinery.

I said that I would welcome information about what “lifting the bridge at Tullamore depot” means. The answer was provided in the Comments below; here is a photo of the bridge in question.

The (currently non-lifting) lifting bridge at Tullamore

The (currently non-lifting) lifting bridge at Tullamore

 

Most of the rest is unsurprising.

The FF follow-up came from Seán Ó Fearghaíl [FF, Kildare South], who said:

I welcome the many positive developments to which the Minister referred but one of our concerns is that since 2011 the funding available for Waterways Ireland has been cut from €35 million to approximately €32 million.

Studies over the years have shown that waterways tourism is one of the activities that is most likely to generate return visits. As a regular user of places like the Shannon Navigation, one never ceases to be amazed at the number of non-nationals one meets on that waterway who have been coming back to Ireland year in, year out. I wonder to what extent the funding the Minister has available to him should be augmented by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. These waterways are of immense value to the local populations privileged to live in the catchment area of each amenity, along with their huge tourism importance. What sort of interaction does the Minister have with tourism bodies north of the Border and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport? Is anything planned for the waterways under the auspices of The Gathering?

What has happened in Kildare this week? We had Bernard Durkan [FG, Kildare North] the other day and Clare Daly [Socialist Party, Dublin North, but originally from Newbridge, Co Kildare] a moment ago; now we have a new chap from Kildare South.

Anyway, it can’t have come as any surprise to Mr Ó Fearghaíl that WI’s budget has been cut: so has everybody else’s, and the budgets were announced last December. I note that he didn’t ask how the Clones Sheugh was to be funded, never mind the Cavan Sheugh to Lough Oughter. But his question is the sort that a journalist might ask: vague, unfocused, couched in generalities, lacking in evidence of research into the subject. I would like to know more about his “Studies over the years”, with particular reference to the balance between and the allocation of the costs and benefits of investment in waterways; generating return visits is not in itself terribly useful (I really do not want Great Aunt Maud here again).

Not that the minister offered many hard facts in his reply:

I have seen for myself the provision of moorings at Killaloe and Ballina. Those have made a major difference to both towns in different counties on either side of the Shannon. The result of that investment is obvious and local people would accept that.

As regards involvement from Fáilte Ireland, Waterways Ireland is augmenting Fáilte Ireland’s promotion of the waterways. Waterways Ireland is providing funding on an annual basis for the promotion of tourism on its waterways. It is a North-South body, which is also very important, because Tourism Ireland promotes the entire island and the waterways network of more than 1,000 navigable kilometres can really be pushed on an all-island basis and we are doing that. I have tried to minimise the reduction in funding for Waterways Ireland because of its North-South significance and its potential and considerable work has been done. We have improved facilities for tourists so we are now ready to proactively promote this great facility.

Any, like, figures? Statistics? References to analyses? How much of WI’s budget is being diverted to the tourism bods and what is the benefit?

Next (and last) up was Peadar Tóibín [SF, Meath West], with “now for something completely different“:

A number of groups are actively trying to create a green way along the Boyne from the estuary to its source. The Boyne is littered with internationally recognised heritage monuments and would be a fantastic tourist attraction that would bring people into the region. People who holiday in the region visit Trim Castle and Newgrange on coach trips and as ar result Meath does not get the full value of their tourism. The Boyne Canal runs from Navan to Drogheda. It is not covered by the Waterways Ireland network. Would the Minister agree that such a canal should be brought within the ambit of Waterways Ireland, along with other canals, and would he consider the funds that might be available to help with the development of such a green way along the River Boyne?

The minister’s reply is interesting:

We have no plans to extend the present 1,000 kilometres of navigable waterways. The focus of our investment in capital development will be from Clones to Lough Erne to the value of €35 million.

What? No Cavan Sheugh? No Kilbeggan, Longford or Mountmellick Branch?

Oh, and note that the figure of €35 million is being quoted for the Clones Sheugh, although the last estimate I had form WI was higher than that.

The minister continued:

As regards the green way, I do not have direct responsibility but any way I can help through Waterways Ireland, I will do so. As a keen cyclist and walker, I am all for encouraging green ways wherever possible. If the Deputy has a proposal I can forward to Waterways Ireland for discussion, I will gladly take it.

Well, well. A Monaghan greenway is being developed; why not a Clones greenway too, instead of an expensive canal?

Residential boating

Thanks to KildareStreet.com for alerting me to this written Dáil answer, to two questions, on Inland Waterways Development on 30 May 2013.

Clare Daly [Socialist Party, Dublin North]: To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will engage with local stakeholders to develop a waterways strategy that facilitates those who want to live on houseboats.

Clare Daly [Socialist Party, Dublin North]: To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will outline the contact he has had with Waterways Ireland to promote and facilitate houseboats as an alternative lifestyle choice, potential amenity and tourist asset.

Jimmy Deenihan [FG Kerry North/West Limerick]: I propose to take Questions Nos. 34 and 36 together. As the Deputy will be aware, I directly engage with Waterways Ireland through the Inland Waterways meetings of the North South Ministerial Council. I should say that officials in my Department also have ongoing engagement with Waterways Ireland and meet directly with the organisation on a regular basis. The issues referred to by the Deputy are operational matters for Waterways Ireland. However, I have been informed by Waterways Ireland that they have installed facilities for houseboats at Shannon Harbour and are in the process of developing facilities at Lowtown and Sallins.

I am also informed that Waterways Ireland is currently in negotiations in relation to the change of use of berths in Grand Canal Dock from short term mooring to long term mooring to facilitate houseboats. These developments are part of Waterways Ireland’s recognition of the potential amenity, tourism and lifestyle benefits that well managed houseboat locations with suitable houseboats can bring to the navigation network within its remit.

As regards engagement with local stakeholders in the development of a water strategy that facilitates houseboat dwellers, again this is an operational matter for Waterways Ireland. I encourage and support such engagement with local stakeholders. Waterways Ireland has informed me that they will continue to take into account the views of all its stakeholders when formulating policy in relation to the use of the waterways.

So “well managed houseboat locations with suitable houseboats”? Some current adopters of the “alternative lifestyle choice” may be worried about that. I don’t know what Ms Daly hoped to achieve there, but I don’t think Jimmy Deenihan was giving much away.

 

Boats to return to Corbally Branch

Well, canoes, but better than nothing.

PS for “upstream” read “downstream”, as far as I can see.

A Winn for the Grand

In today’s Sunday Business Post Jasper Winn, the paper’s Hardy Outdoor Correspondent, describes a five-day walk along the Grand Canal, from Harold’s Cross to Shannon Harbour. He did it in winter, camping out on the bank overnight despite its being so cold that the canal froze over, and finishing some of his days’ walks in the dark.

The SBP operates a paywall so you may not be able to see the page, but this is the link in case you want to try.

Dublin’s canals in 1801

Grand Canal

The formation of canals was scarcely known in Ireland until the year 1765, when the Grand Canal was begun by a company of enterprising men, who were incorporated in 1772 by an act of parliament; boats began to ply to Sallins in 1783, to Athy in 1791; it is a cheap and pleasant mode of travelling, at the rate of 3½ miles an hour. This Canal is carrying on to Philipstown, Banagher, and Birr. From the first lock at Kilmainham, a cut has been made to the river Liffey at Rings-end, extending 3 miles, having 12 neat bridges to accommodate the different roads to Dublin. At the seventh lock on this line, the great basons and docks are, 4000 feet long, and 330 feet average breadth, capable of containing 400 sail of square-rigged vessels. On the 23rd of April 1796, it was opened at high tide; when his excellency Earl Camden in the Dorset yacht, commanded by Sir A. Schomberg, with a number of barges from the canal, cutters, and boats highly decorated, were admitted under a discharge of 21 pieces of cannon, and had room to sail in various directions. There were 60,000 people present; it was the best aquatic fête ever seen in this kingdom. John Macartney Esq addressed his Excellency, and was knighted.

Royal Canal

The Royal Canal is another proof of national spirit and national industry. The subscribers were incorporated in 1789; it is now finished beyond Kilcock, 14 miles, and is proceeding rapidly to Kinnegad. On Sunday the 20th of December 1795, the first excursion was made in a barge to Kilcock, with the Duke of Leinster and Marquis of Kildare, amidst the acclamations of the people.

J S Dodd, MD The Traveller’s Director through Ireland; being a topographical description not only of all the roads but of the several cities, towns, villages, parishes, cathedrals, churches, abbeys, castles, rivers, lakes, mountains, harbours, the seats of noblemen and gentlemen on those roads: their antiquities and present state respecting parliamentary representation, patronage, trade, manufactures. commerce, markets, fairs, distances from each other, and natural curiosities; with an account of their foundations, vicissitudes, battles, sieges, and other remarkable events that have occurred at them — insomuch, that this work comprehends in itself, an accurate Irish itinerary, an extensive Irish gazetteer, an Irish chronological remebrancer [sic], and an epitome of the ecclesiastical, civil, military and natural history of Ireland, from the earliest accounts to the present year, and every information necessary for the resident, or the stranger. Embellished with  two elegant maps; one of the roads and post towns in Ireland, the other of the city of Dublin, compiled from the most authentic authorities Dublin 1801