October 14: Kilcock Harbour Water Quality

Kilcock Harbour has been reopened for use following work carried out by Kildare County Council to resolve the ongoing water quality problems that has plagued the harbour for years. See marine notice  MN 140  (October 2016)

October 7th: Royal Canal Way, Westmeath

A section of the Royal Canal Way, between Abbeyshrule and Longford bridge was official opened on the 7th October. This completes the Westmeath section of the Greenway. See report in the Westmeath Examiner.

Hopefully we will see similar action in the near future on the Kildare section of the Royal Canal Way. (Kildare County Council take note)

August 24th: Walk from Thomastown to Hill of Down

thomastown-walkAlthough the weather was not the best 24 people travelled by coach from Dublin and Maynooth to  walk from the 18th Lock at Thomastown to the Hill of Down. After a very enjoyable lunch, in James Moran’s pub at Hill of Down we travelled to Longwood harbour and Boyne aqueduct, where we had a very enlightening chat and cup of tea with a member of the Ribbontail Paddlers. A very enjoyable day particularly enhanced by the hospitality provided by James Moran

August Heritage Week; Pictures from our series of Heritage walks

We ran 14 very successful guided walks on both the Royal and Grand Canal during Heritage Week. We estimated that, overall just under 450 people took part: See Paul O’Rourke’s report on one of our Grand Canal walks  in; News Four 

Heritage week 2016Heritage Week 1

2016 walk2016 walk 2

Heritage Week 2

July 27th; ‘Centre Parcs’ Holiday Village, Co Longford

An Bord Pleanála has given final approval for the €232m holiday park at Ballymahon. They have included 21 conditions which includes providing grants for local infrastructure. It has also been suggested that an off road walking/cycleway should linked ‘Centre Parcs’  and the Royal Canal Way. See details in the Irish Times 27th July.

July 1st;  Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford Royal Canal Way 

The Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Mr. Shane Ross T.D. has announced the release of funding for the completion of the Royal Canal Way projects in Kildare, Meath, Longford and Westmeath. – See more at: Royal Canal Way Funding

June 25th; Royal Canal Coach tour

The RCAG annual coach tour was revived after a number of years with a coach trip that ran the length of the canal. The tour started in Dublin at Ashtown,with pick-ups in Maynooth and Enfield. Bus Tour 2016 4It then followed the course of the canal, with the first stop in Thomastown, where we were met by members of the local group who laid on tea and biscuits on-board their barge. Then on to Mullingar harbour where we had lunch. The very impressive restored harbour and ticket office in Ballymahon was our next port of call, Bus Tour 1where we enjoyed refreshments provided by the Ballymahon group. The tour concluded in Richmond Harbour with a first class meal and sing along in the Richmond Inn.

May 4th; Royal Canal Greenway Part 8; Upper Sheriff St. to Ashtown

Dublin City Council have issued the following notice in relation to the Royal Canal Way.                                                                                                                                                  ‘Notice is hereby given of the proposed construction by Dublin City Council of the above scheme, consisting of phase 2, 3 and 4 running from Upper Sheriff St. to Ashtown. Anyone wishing to make a submission or comment on the proposed development can do so by writing to the Executive Manager, Planning Department, Dublin City Council, Block 4 Floor 3 Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8 before 16.30 hrs on Friday 24th July 2015. See details at Royal Canal Way Part 8 

March 2nd; ‘Centre Parcs’ Holiday Village, Co Longford

Following the granting of planning approval for the proposed €233 Holiday Village at Ballymahon, it is been suggested that an off road walking/cycleway should linked the village to the Royal Canal Greenway. See Independent Westmeath and Dublin Galway Greenway Website

February 2nd; Promoting Ireland’s Canals and Waterways: Dial Report

Maureen O’Sullivan TD asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will make the use of canals and waterways more accessible to boat owners and operators; and her views that these waterways are being utilised to the fullest, in terms of recreational and tourism potential. See Heather Humphreys TD  Reply

January 14th; The Royal Canals Missing Link: In memory of Noel McGeeney

Rachel Masterson, a granddaughter of Noel McGeeney made the following video as part of a video production course (Making TV Remember) organised by  the “Out-Take Media Group” in Longford. The video looks at Noel’s involvement in the restoration of the Royal Canal and his wish to have the Longford Brach Line fully reinstated. I believe Rachel’s project is a fitting tribute to Noel who worked hard to save the Royal Canal from destruction and have it developed as an amenity. Although the main line opened 2010, Noel’s wish (he passed away in Feb 2015), to have the Longford Branch Line, the ‘Missing Link’ fully restored remains just a dream.


Sunday December 27th; Pat Newman, RIP 

We are sad to report the passing of Pat Newman from Keenagh Co Longford. To Pat’s wife Lucy, son Paul and daughter Hilda, family and friends we extend our deepest sympathy. Pat as Chairman of the Keenagh/Foigha branch of the Royal Canal Amenity Group, for many years played a pivotal role  in the restoration of the canal in the Longford area. May he rest in peace. See Tribute by Damien Delaney IWAI

December 15th: Royal Canal Greenway – Confey to Maynooth.

Kildare County Council has started the planning process for this section of the Greenway. See details

P1240862November 27th: Sinking of the Longford 1845

Mass in memory of the 16 people who lost their lives on the 25 November 1845, when the passenger boat (Longford) sank on the Royal Canal at Clonsilla was celebrated in St Mochtas Church Porterstown. After Mass and prior to laying a wreath at Porterstown (Kennan) Bridge, tea/coffee and delicious home-made cakes were served in the Parish Centre, for which we thank the Parish Committee. Details and information on the Longford sinking can be found on the Irish Waterways History website; Sinking of the Longford

November 12th; Closure of Canal & Towpath Level 8

The Level 8 on the Royal Canal, near Ratoath Road will be closed from November 2015 to March 2016. This is to facilitate construction of a new widened canal area with canoe facilities and improved berthing arrangements. The towpath will also be closed at the works location. A diversionary route signpost is at the site.

October 30th; Kildare-Meath section of the ‘Royal’ Greenway

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has decided to “shelve” development of the Cycleway between Athlone and Galway after hundreds of landowners said they would oppose the project. As a result, funding has been made available for work to start on the Kildare-Meath section of the Royal Canal Greenway (hopefully in early 2016). See report in the Irish Independent (30 Oct. 2015).

October 18th; Mullingar to Athlone Cycleway

The official opening of the Mullingar to Athlone cycleway took place in Moate, Co Westmeath on Sunday the 18th. This cycleway links the Royal Canal Greenway with the Shannon at Athlone and is one more section of the East – West, Dublin to Galway cycle/walkway to be completed. See Irish Independent (11 October 15)

October 15th; Annual General Meeting  

Our AGM took place at our registered office in Enfield County Meath, at which our ongoing plans for next year were discussed.

October: Budget 2016.

information and comments on how the 2016 budget affects Waterways Ireland, see the Irish Waterways History website

September 24th: Notice of Annual General Meeting.

The Annual General Meeting will take place on Thursday the 15th October next, at our registered Office in Enfield County Meath. Any RCAG member who have not yet received notification (by post or email) can contact us at;  or Phone; (01)68 77034 for a copy of the AGM notice and agenda

September 18th: Meeting with Waterways Ireland.

Members of the RCAG Executive Committee met Engineering and Marketing personnel from Waterways Ireland, in what turned out to be a very productive meeting. The topics discussed ranged from engaging in a joint approach to marketing and promoting the 150 km. long Royal Canal amenity, to addressing ongoing engineering and development concerns along the length of the canal. For updates watch this space.

August 14th: Waterways Ireland Heritage Plan.

Waterways Ireland  have launched a public consultation for their Draft Heritage Plan. The consultation will run for 12 weeks until November 6th. 2015. See full Details.

June 25th: Royal Canal Kilcock; Ongoing pollution problem.

At a public meeting with Kildare County Councillors it was stated that, following the most recent survey to find the source of the canal pollution it was discovered there were two fractured pipes in the vicinity of the new flower garden at the entrance to Bawnogues. A costing/survey of whether it is feasible to repair or replace these pipes has also been sanctioned. However, it was also noted that repairing or replacing the pipes may not fix the pollution problem. And it is also doubtful if KCC has the funding to carry out the work.

June 4th: Waterways Ireland.

Waterways Ireland have announced the appointment of Éanna Rowe as Regional Manager for the West, responsible for the management, maintenance & development of the Shannon Navigation.
Éanna was previously Head of Marketing & Communications with WI.
He is a graduate of the Institute of Public Administration and of Athlone
Institute of Technology Éanna holds a Degree in Public Management and a
first class honours MBA.

May 26th: Fund raising Marathon; Longwood to Dublin.

On Monday the 25th May 55 transition-year students from St Mary’s College, Rathmines set off from Longwood on the Royal Canal to raise funds for SPIRASI; a humanitarian NGO that works with asylum seekers, refugees and other disadvantaged migrant groups. The marathon involved the students doing a sponsored 60 km walk along the banks of the Royal Canal from Longwood to Dublin. They departed Longwood about 11.00am on Monday morning and arrived in Maynooth just before 5.00pm, where they stayed overnight. Members of the Royal Canal Amenity, who supported the event, met the walkers upon their arrival in Maynooth Harbour. This morning, the 26th they departed to continue their marathon along the canal to Dublin.

April 30th: Canal draft bye-laws.

According to Minister Heather Humphreys discussions between the Department of Heritage and Waterways Ireland regarding the new draft bye-laws for Ireland’s canals are still “ongoing”.  see full report in Afloat

April 24th: Royal Canal, Shannon and Camlin Blueway

This first class amenity was opened today by the Minister of State for Sports and Tourism Michael Ring TD. The Blueway caters for a wide range of leisure activities including; walking, cycling, kayaking, canoeing, and scuba diving. The project was brought to fruition by Waterways Ireland, working in partnership with the Irish Sports Council, Canoeing Ireland, Longford County Council, Longford Tourism, Fáilte Ireland and local volunteers. The amenity is a fine example of what can be achieved when state agencies and local enthusiasts work together towards a common goal. See Waterways Ireland Report

April 22nd: Walking in the footsteps of the missing 1,490.

Six people from Strokestown, Co Roscommon  completed a walk along the canal from Clondra on the Shannon to Spencer Dock in Dublin over  four days. The walk was a re-enactment of a journey taken by 1,490 men, women and children from Strokestown in 1847. The emigrants walked along the Royal Canal under the supervision of a bailiff. as they made their way to Dublin to board emigrant ships for Liverpool and Canada. See report in the Journal and the Irish Times.

April 16th: Pat O Leary RIP;

We are sad to report the passing of Patricia O’ Leary (Pat) after a short illness. Pat, along with her late husband Allen, were founder members of the Royal Canal Amenity Group and both worked tirelessly with the group on the canals restoration. To Pat’s family and friends we extend our deepest sympathy and our appreciation of her great contribution  to the Inland Waterways of Ireland  and  Royal Canal Amenity Group. May she rest in peace.

March 13th: Development of the Ulster Canal.

Check out this Link to the ‘Irish Waterways History’ website for an interesting perspective on how Waterways Ireland’s reduced budget is being spent to fund the proposed Ulster Canal. It is well worth a look, particularly for boat owners who struggle to navigate the underfunded Royal and Grand canal systems.

March 12th: Another step closer to Moscow.

Plans to complete the Royal Canal Greenway /Cycle Path in the Dublin area have been announced by Dublin city council. The 7 km route will run from Dublin’s docklands area to Ashtown and is estimated to cost €10 million. The work will complete the capital’s section of the proposed national cycleway from Dublin to Galway, which is part of Ireland’s contribution to the EurVelo Route 2. The cycle path, when completed in 2020, will extend from Galway along the Royal Canal, across England and Europe to Moscow.  To read the full article click on Irish Times

March 11th: Dail Debate.

Click on this Link to read the response by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys (under whose remit Waterways Ireland falls), when asked in the Dail if she would encourage a more widespread use of the Royal Canal.

February 19th: Noel McGeeney RIP;

It is with sadness that we note the death of Noel McGeeney. Noel from Longford town was a life long member and former Chairman of the RCAG. May he rest in peace


Minister Humphreys announces new Heritage Council Community Grants Scheme. Speaking today Minister Humphreys said: “I am very pleased to be announcing this new scheme, which will provide funding for local heritage projects across the country. My Department is providing direct funding of €250,000 for the scheme. When combined with core funding from the Heritage Council and with private sector funding it is expected this will generate a total investment of up to €1 million, see more


November: Longford.

Waterways Ireland have published a study on the restoration of the Longford Branch of the Royal Canal, and it’s available for download at Longford branch feasibility study. Go to pages 41 to 60 to see the various options proposed, which range from  partial to full restoration. The associated costs for each of the proposals are also included.

However it is worth noting recommendation 6.5 which states; Given the current financial climate and because of the associated costs, environmental issues and uncertainty regarding planning approval, it is not recommended to pursue this project any further at this time.                                                                                             The recent work undertaken in regard to the shared walkway/cycleway has protected the asset as a publicly owned recreational amenity and it is recommended that any outstanding property issues be resolved and finalised in order to complete the protection of the asset.

Sept 24th:  AGM.

The RCAG AGM was held at our registered office in Enfield.

July: Dublin;

Completed Greenway between Ashtown and Castleknock  officially opened. See report.