Tag Archives: Rivers

Grand Canal, Dublin

Grand Canal, Dublin

800px-Grand_Canal_Dublin_2006_Kaihsu_TaiGrand Canal, Dublin

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Kaihsu Tai

 The Grand Canal (Irish: An Chanáil Mhór) is the southernmost of a pair of canals that connect Dublin, in the east of Ireland, with the River Shannon in the west, via Tullamore and a number of other villages and towns, the two canals nearly encircling Dublin’s inner city. Its sister canal on the Northside of Dublin is the Royal Canal. The last working cargo barge passed through the Grand Canal in 1960.

DublinGrand Canal, Dublin

The Grand Canal was opened in 1756 to link the Liffey at Dublin with the Shannon. It effectively closed in 1960, the last commercial trip being a barge load of Guinness, but since 1986 there have been various improvements and repairs. Grand Parade on the left, moorings for the city centre on the right.   © Copyright John Gibson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


The idea of connecting Dublin to the Shannon was proposed as early as 1715,[2] and in 1757 the Irish Parliament granted Thomas Omer £20,000 to start construction of a canal. By 1759 he reported that 3 km (1.9 mi) in the Bog of Allen and 13 km (8.1 mi) of canal from the River Liffey near Sallins towards Dublin were complete. By 1763 he had completed 3 locks and 6 bridges towards Dublin and was concentrating on establishing a water supply from the River Morrell near Sallins. At this point the Corporation of Dublin realised that the canal could be used to improve the water supply to the city, and put up the money to complete the canal into the city. But when the canal was filled, the banks gave way and the city didn’t obtain its water. By 1768, £77,000 had been spent on the project and little more was forthcoming.

800px-View_from_Luas_bridgeView from Luas Bridge

Peter Clarke at en.wikipedia, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publishes it under the following licenses:   This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


The Grand Canal nowadays begins at the River Liffey in Grand Canal Dock and continues through to the River Shannon with various branches, including a link to the River Barrow waterway at Athy.

From Grand Canal Dock it passes through Ringsend and then traverses the southside, delineating the northern extremities of Ballsbridge, Ranelagh, Rathmines, Harolds Cross and Crumlin. This section is the Circular Line and has seven locks. At Inchicore can be seen the path of the original main line to the Grand Canal Harbour, the City Basin (reservoir) and Guinness brewery. Most of the route of this line now runs along side the Red Luas Line.

InchicoreGrand Canal near Tyrconnell Road, Inchicore/Inse Chór

Inchicore used to be a village but today it has become a suburb of Dublin. The Grand Canal travels through Inchicore and here it passes The Black Horse Inn, on the left, and the LUAS Red Line Black Horse/An Capall Dubh tram stop, on the right.  © Copyright P L Chadwick and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 From Suir Road Bridge, the lock numbering starts again at 1 as the canal heads west through the suburbs of Dublin West and into Kildare. At Sallins the Naas/Corbally branch diverts southwards while the Grand Canal continues west passing Caragh, Prosperous and Robertstown, its highest point. Just outside Sallins, the Grand Canal passes over the River Liffey at the Leinster Aqueduct. Just east of Robertstown is the location where the Blackwood Feeder used to join the canal, whilst just to the west can be found the busiest junction on the canal where the Old Barrow Line, Milltown Feeder and the entrances to the Athy & Barrow Navigation. Further west, the canal passes Edenderry, Tullamore and Rahan before it reaches the Shannon at Shannon Harbour in County Offaly. In total the main line of the canal is 131 kilometres (81 mi) with 43 locks, five of which are double locks.

800px-Leinster_AqueductLeinster Aqueduct over the River Liffey

Chris55 at en.wikipedia, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publishes it under the following license:  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.


In December 1792, there was a major accident on the Grand Canal. A passage boat left Dublin bound for Athy. It seems that one hundred and fifty people, many of them drunk, forced their way onto a barge, in spite of the captain warning them that the boat would capsize if they did not leave. Near the eighth lock, five men, four women and two children drowned when the boat capsized. The rest of the passengers escaped.

On the evening of Saturday, 6 April 1861 in Portobello Harbour, a horse-drawn bus, driven by Patrick Hardy, had just dropped a passenger on the canal when one of the horses started to rear. The horses backed the bus through the wooden rails of the bridge. The bus, horses and six passengers inside the bus, plunged into the cold waters and were drowned. The conductor was able to jump clear and the driver was pulled from the water by a passing policeman.

Winter on the Grand Canal, Dublin

Seen here on Canal Road between Charlemont and Rathmines Road.

© Copyright Dean Molyneaux and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Canal & River News – July 20th

Canal & River News 20-7-2012

St Giles Hospice Dragon Boat Challenge 2012

21 July 2012

 The Washlands,  Burton upon Trent,  Staffordshire

The third St Giles Hospice Dragon Boat Challenge takes to the water on Saturday 21st July 2012 on the River Trent.

The event is being run in conjunction with Gable Events an approved operator of the British Dragon Boat Racing Association.

Teams consist of 10 paddlers and a drummer (with the steerer) provided. Teams need a £50 entry fee to secure their place and then need to raise a minimum sponsorship of £830 (£75) per person. In addition to the entertainment on the river there will be refreshments/childrens entertainment and craft stalls on site – so lots going on!

Funds raised from the challenge will go towards helping local people living in the community with cancer and other serious illnesses.

Anyone interested in entering a team should contact myself either on 01543 434542 or email jenni.dawson@st-giles-hospice.org.uk

Historically one of England’s major trading rivers, the River Trent rises in the Staffordshire hills near Stoke-on-Trent. It grows in stature as it flows through Burton-on-Trent, Shardlow – where it becomes navigable – Nottingham, Newark and Gainsborough to Trent Falls. There, it joins the River Humber.

Canal News – July 12th 2012 – Canal & River Trust Launched

Canal News – July 12th 2012

12 July 2012  Canal & River Trust launches today

Today is an historic day; the day in which the Government places 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in trust for the nation and the new charity, the Canal & River Trust, is launched.

Marsworth, Grand Union Canal

From today, the 10 million people who visit and love the waterways will have the chance to play a greater role in making them more beautiful than ever. Here at the Trust we’re very excited about this new approach to caring for our canals and rivers, and of course we’re delighted to have the Prince of Wales as our Patron.

The move, part of the Public Bodies Reform programme, is the largest single transfer of a public body into the charitable sector and will give communities the opportunity to get involved with the running of their local canal or river.

To mark our launch, we have unveiled our first appeal, 50 projects across the nation that will breathe new life into towpaths and riverbanks. By pledging money or time, people can get involved in projects such as creating new habitats for rare water voles, planting linear orchards for people and wildlife, and restoring neglected towpaths. Take a look at our appeal projects, learn how to become a Friend of the Canal & River Trust and find out how you can get involved with our work.

 Archimedes – One of the few working boats on the Regents Canal.

The Regent’s Canal is a nine-mile man-made stretch of water connecting the Grand Union Canal at Little Venice to the River Thames. The first section of the canal from Little Venice was opened in 1816 and the final section at Limehouse Basin in 1820. The canal has 13 sets of locks.  © Copyright Stephen Craven and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Actor and comedian, Hugh Dennis, who is supporting the Canal & River Trust’s appeal, comments: “For me, as a Londoner, the Regent’s Canal provided a small slice of rural tranquillity right in the middle of a chaotic and bustling city, and its towpath a route to work, my running track, or just a place to watch the world go by. The Canal & River Trust needs your help to make your towpaths even more special. Volunteering or making a small donation will make a huge difference to the people and nature along your local waterway.”

We’re very grateful to the many committed people and organisations who’ve helped us get where we are today, and have invited a number of the organisations who’ve supported us to say a few words about their hopes for the years ahead. Find out what our supporters are saying

Corporate partners

We’re pleased to have already won the support of three major corporate partners. £1m of funding is being pledged to support our conservation work thanks to players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. Google is working with us to encourage people to discover and enjoy the wildlife along their local waterway by literally putting towpaths on the map – Google Maps. And The Co-operative Bank will offer those who enjoy or live on the waterways the option of supporting our conservation work through everyday banking products.

Defra is also helping us get off to a great start by committing to a landmark, 15-year grant funding agreement as the bedrock to us maintain our waterways. In addition to this, we are funded through commercial income including money from waterside property dowry, boat licences and moorings. Every penny donated by the public to the Trust will be spent directly on conserving, restoring, and enhancing the waterways.

Prince of Wales

We’re proud to have the Prince of Wales as our Patron.

Wyrley & Essington Canal, Brownhills

Canal News – Waterway Watcher & Waterscape

Canal News

Waterway Watcher

Trent and Mersey Canal near Burston, Staffordshire

Approaching Long Meadow Bridge, No 87. This is an accommodation bridge between pastures by the River Trent (off to the right) and the railway (off to the left). No public route crosses the canal here.  © Copyright Roger Kidd and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

  Volunteers get £28m and the job of cleaning up England’s waterways

Posted by Waterway Watcher on February 11th, 2012

Volunteers get £28m and the job of cleaning up England’s waterways

04 February 2012

Defra has created a £28m Catchment Restoration Fund to fund volunteers who want to reduce pollution in rivers and canals.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has created a £28m Catchment Restoration Fund to fund volunteers who want to reduce pollution in rivers and canals.

But there is a question over whether the main threats to the health of watercourses, which are reduced flow and diffuse pollution, can actually be tackled by volunteers.

The fund is part of a £92 million Defra commitment to clearing up England’s rivers and lakes and improve the landscape through which water flows.

Making the announcement, Environment Minister Richard Benyon said: “We’ve all seen examples of rivers choked up with rubbish and weeds and the devastating effects on wildlife and the scenic beauty of these precious places.

“With only a quarter of our lakes and rivers currently providing a home to a wide range of birds, fish and mammals, there is still much more we can all do.”

He celebrated the return of the otter to several waterways, and said he hoped “communities and charities” would take up the offer “and I hope it will lead to us soon celebrating the same sort of success for other treasured wildlife, such as water voles, kingfishers and salmon”.

The money covers work over three years, providing up to £10m each year, in 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15.

The fund will support work that aims to:

• restore more natural features in and around waters

• reduce the impact of man-made structures on wildlife in waters, or

• reduce the impact of small, spread-out (diffuse) sources of pollution that arise from rural and urban land use.

The Environment Agency will administer the fund. Formal applications and expressions of interest for projects starting in 2012/13 are invited by 29 February 2012. A second phase of applications for funding in 2012/13 will run until 18 May 2012.

It covers all rivers, groundwater, lakes, canals, estuaries, coastal waters, wetlands and protected areas such as Bathing Waters, Drinking Water Protected Areas and Sites of Specific Scientific Interest with water related features.

The overriding threat to waterways’ health

The Environment Agency itself issued a study last month which characterised the worst threat facing many watercourses as being simply the water drying up.

The report said that over-abstraction and the predicted impact of climate change could see, by 2050, river levels in England and Wales in summer drop by 80%, with rivers “transformed into puddles of warm, stagnant mud”.

The study, The Case for Change: Current and Future Availability, uses more up-to-date figures and is more precise in its forecasts than an earlier one produced by the Agency, and concludes that “important habitats could be lost”.

Reduced river flow concentrates pollution in the remaining water, worsening its effect on aquatic life. Principal pollutants are no longer due to ‘points of pollution’ from individual industrial sites, since these have mostly been eradicated. Instead they are of ‘diffuse’ sources, such as hydrocarbons in run-off from roads and car parks, and nitrates from fertiliser use.

The lead applicant for the EA funding must be a charity or an organisation with charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purpose. Local authorities or private sector companies can be involved in delivering a project, but only as partners.

A key condition of obtaining funding is “to aim to achieve improved status or prevent deterioration in one or more quality elements in one or more water bodies in England through reductions in pollution, improvements in ecological or morphological conditions, OR, aim to achieve objectives for a Water Framework Directive Protected Area in England.”

Defra therefore hopes that volunteers will use the fund to do the job of cleaning up pollution, but it is open to question whether diffuse pollution and reduced water flow can successfully be tackled by work of this kind.

Deregulation of the environment

The move is in line with Defra’s ongoing attempts to shift the burden of responsibility for protection of the environment from government bodies and business to charities and volunteers in communities.

Other moves in this direction include the transformation of British Waterways into a charity, which is no longer subject to the same degree of public scrutiny.

The timetable for this was confirmed earlier this week by Environment Minister Richard Benyon, along with a promise of £1bn of taxpayers’ money to help it look after England and Wales’ network of 200-year old canals and rivers.

He said that giving the new Canal & River Trust charitable status “will mean new opportunities for revenue through donations, charitable grants and legacies, increased borrowing powers, efficiencies and volunteering activity”.

A further clue to Defra’s philosophy on deregulation this week was the refusal of Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman to deny that “environmental red tape” will not be slashed under Cabinet Officer Oliver Letwin’s zealous campaign to “reduce the burden on business” of all legislation.

Mrs Spelman was questioned repeatedly by Labour MP Joan Walley, Green MP Caroline Lucas and Tory MP Zac Goldsmith of theEnvironmental Audit Committee.

It was put to her that at a 12 January meeting, Letwin told senior Defra officials, and representatives from both the Environment Agency and Natural England that he wanted all environmental guidance to be replaced with a single 50-page document.

The request was reportedly met with “disbelief” by those present.

Mrs. Spelman responded by saying she was “not in a position to confirm or deny the story. I was not at the meeting”.

The rush to enter the lock

Cromwell Lock. The lock gates open, the lights go green and suddenly there is this mad rush to get into the lock. But there’s plenty of room for all.  © Copyright Jonathan Thacker and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


Cromwell Lock

Monday 20 February 2012 – Monday 12 March 2012

UPDATE (15 February 2012): Due to unforeseen circumstances, this stoppage has been delayed for a week. The work is now currently planned in for three weeks starting the 20th February.

Intermarine, on behalf of British Waterway’s Major Works Team, will be re-decking and altering the upstream floating visitor mooring pontoons. This will be whilst concurrently extending/altering/re-decking the downstream lock approach mooring pontoons.

During this restriction, Intermarine will advise craft owners upon visiting site of safe passage.

We apologise for any inconvenience which may be caused, although best attempts will be made to keep disruption to a minimum.

Please expect delays of up to 1 hour maximum.

During work to the moorings, mainly the floating mooring above the lock, all craft are asked to please refrain from mooring here until the work is fully complete.

 Please note this restriction will cover the eventuality of potential problems and issues with water levels.

Approaching Cromwell Lock

Looking northwards and downstream towards the lock. The large arrow and floating barrier on the right direct boats into the lock channel. The lock-keeper’s house is just in view on the left.  © Copyright Trevor Rickard and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Canal News – Update from Canal & River Trustees by Water Watcher

Update from Canal & River Trustees, Dec 2011

Posted by Waterway Watcher on December 22nd, 2011

22 December 2011

The Transitional Trustees of the Canal & River Trust report:

1. Introduction

Since our last update in October we have continued to make good progress in forming the Canal & River Trust and, as 2011 draws to a close, we thought it would be useful to bring you up to date. A huge amount has been achieved over recent months towards transforming British Waterways in England & Wales into the Canal & River Trust. While the Parliamentary process looks as if it will now take longer than we had previously been advised, putting pressure on an April launch date, all the building blocks needed to establish the new Trust next year are falling into place.

Our knowledge and understanding of the waterways continues to grow apace, and we are grateful to all those inside and outside BW for their willingness to discuss openly the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. We have been hugely encouraged by the growing support and commitment to the Trust amongst stakeholders and the public and passionately believe that this enormous goodwill will be the bedrock on which we can all build a better and more stable future for our waterways.

2. Government Funding

We said in our October statement that we needed to persuade Government to increase their offer of £39m a year for 10 years. This remains one of the most important unresolved pieces of the Trust’s jigsaw. It is all taking a lot longer than either party would wish but given the challenge this is perhaps not surprising. We are still in detailed discussions with Defra that we hope to be able to bring to a conclusion early next year. We are pleased to report that all the meetings with Defra have been constructive and understanding.

At a recent All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group meeting the Waterways Minister, Richard Benyon, confirmed that the discussions were ongoing and being conducted in a professional and cooperative atmosphere. He expressed confidence that an agreement would be reached and reiterated his commitment to give the Canal & River Trust “the best possible start within the current funding restraints of government”. The Chair of the APPWG and MPs present were all positive about the creation of the Trust and expressed their encouragement for a fair and reasonable settlement to the funding discussions.

To read the full article go to :  http://www.waterwaywatch.org/