Royal Canal Greenway Voted Best Greenway in Europe

The Royal Canal Greenway, Ireland’s longest greenway, has been awarded first place in the ‘Excellence Award’ category at the 11th European Greenways Awards.

The Awards, which took place on the 22nd November 2023 in Rome, saw the Royal Canal Greenway compete against routes such as Greenway of the Trabocchi Coast, Italy and The European Bridge and a cross-border Polish-German greenway, to be named as the leading greenway in Europe. See Link;

Kilcock; We were sorry to hear of the death of Frances Clinton of Kilcock. Frances and her husband played a major role in the restoration of the Royal Canal in Kilcock and Maynooth. May they RIP


December; Christmas Jumper Guided Walk 27th December

Our annual guided walk went ahead with a small number of people.

We were unable to provide our usual refreshments due to the restrictions. However we hope to be back by late spring / early summer 2022 conducting guided walks.

Ballynacargy; Watson Mills 

The RCAG were sorry to hear of the passing of Watson Mills at Mullingar Hospital on Wed 15th Dec. at the age of 96.

Watson was a tireless advocate for the restoration of the Royal Canal for 50 years and  a former Chairman of RCAG.

He was an authority on the history and heritage of his native area of Ballynacargy, a keen fisherman and a generous friend to his neighbours.

Noel Spain and Derek Whelan represented the RCAG at Watson’s funeral service in Mullingar on Friday the 17 December.

May Watson’s gentle soul  Rest in Peace.


Royal Canal report, IWAI Newsletter

Click on picture to enlarge


Unfortunately all our events and plans for 2020 had to be cancelled due to Covid-19. We hope to get back to some form of normality late spring 2021



It is with great sadness that we report the death of Dr Ian Bath which took place on Saturday 13th

Dr Bath was Honoured Life President of the Royal Canal Amenity Group which he founded in 1974 with a view to saving and restoring the Royal Canal

For Dr Baths campaign and early work in saving and  restoring the canal see;


Royal Canal Greenway.

Fingal Council have recently awarded a design contract to DBFL , a Waterford based company for the section from Confey to 12th Lock, the most difficult and narrowest part of the canal and probably the last to be completed. The contract is for the Planning and Design of a Pedestrian and Cycle route of 8.1Km which meets the standards set out for a Greenway in the NTA’s National Cycle Man

Work on the Maynooth to Confey section has started, and is due to be completed mid year


Dredging has been carried out on the branch line (missing link) from the railway bridge in Longford to Churchlands bridge which is about a 2.55km length of the branch, heading from Longford to the main line of the canal. The project is a joint waterways Ireland and Longford County Council project. Hopefully the work will continue and result in the full re-watering and opening of the branch.



Royal Canal Greenway.

Over the course of the winter months a further 30 kms has been added to the Royal Canal Greenway bringing the total cycle track now completed to 114km (78% of the total canal length).

The Royal Canal Greenway can now claim to have the longest continuous cycle track in the country at 94km from Richmond Harbour, Clondara all the way to Moyvalley Bridge in County Kildare. This is twice the length of either the Waterford or Westport Greenways (both about 45 km) the two best known cycle-ways in the country. Further stretches have been completed between the Blackwater Aqueduct and Cloncurry Bridge, Enfield -7km, and Ferns Lock to Maynooth Harbour -10km. Work should commence in Sept on the stretches between Maynooth and Confey, and Spencer Dock to Newcomen Bridge.

Fingal Council have recently awarded a design contract to DBFL , a Waterford based company for the section from Confey to 12th Lock, the most difficult and narrowest part of the canal and probably the last to be completed. The contract is for the Planning and Design of a Pedestrian and Cycle route of 8.1Km which meets the standards set out for a Greenway in the NTA’s National Cycle Manual.

April Clean-up Day.

As part of National Spring Clean Day organised by An Taisce, the Clean-up Groups on both the Grand and Royal Canals in the Dublin area make a special effort in April each year. The wide publicity given to the event allows us tap into a wider circle of volunteers and this year proved how valuable this can be for local groups. Nationwide on RTE television gave very good coverage to our campaign this year.

On the Royal 105 volunteers turned out, an all time record. At 12th Lock 25 volunteers joined us ( up from 6 last year). Overall, between Spencer Dock and 12th Lock 1.5 tonnes of litter was removed and we are grateful to Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council for the disposal of the hundreds of bags collected along the 10km stretch.

On a related environmental issue RCAG in association with Enfield Tidy Towns Committee have recently provided 100 Rambling Roses to pupils from Enfield schools to be planted along the Royal Canal. This is a further step in our biodiversity programme which we hope to promote along the canal through various local groups. Fruit bushes have earlier been planted


The Royal Canal we have endured difficult conditions over the past two boating seasons with low water on the summit level (particularly acute in 2017). The good news as we enter a new season is that the water level in Lough Owel have recovered by almost 1 meter from their historic low and we can expect to require little or no water pumping from other sources during the coming year. A number of HBA boats have left Grand Canal Basin in early April and had reached Coolnahay Harbour by end of the month.

While the longer term solution to the water supply problems of the Royal are still not solved we have reason to be hopeful that the coming season will avoid the difficulties of last year when only a handful of boats made the voyage to the Shannon.

Barge Trips.

After a 10 year break in which no boat hire was available on the Royal Canal it is good to see ‘Jennys Barge Trips’ now making regular trips between Kilcock and 12th Lock. Leixlip native, Jenny Wren, has been making a name for herself through some exciting promotions using social media to reach new markets.


Royal Canal news round up, reproduced from Inland Waterways News (



July 15th; Plaque unveiled to Eddie Slane

Family, friends and old acquaintances of Eddie Slane attended the unveiling of a plaque at the 10 Lock to commemorate Eddies Trojan work, over many years as he campaigned to have the Royal Canal restored and developed as a Linear Parkway

”Family event” Eddie’s wife Teresa, granddaughter Gemma and daughter Patricia


July 3rd; Beehives on the Banks of the Royal Canal

Beehives have now been installed on land adjacent to the canal in the Ashtown area. This is a joint initiative between Waterways Ireland and the RCAG. First indications are that the bees have settled in well and are finding lots to feed on along the canal corridor and the adjacent Tolka Valley Park. Initially there are two hives but it is hoped to supplement these in coming years,


June 28th; Death of Dick Warner, Inland Waterways Enthusiast and Environmentalist

See Irish Times article (28 Juue2017) on the life and times of Dick Warner who died on the 16 June.

June 21st Summer Solstice  Walk

We had a very successful Midsummer walk from the 10 Lock at Ashtown to the 12 Lock at Blanchardstown. Over 100 people took part and enjoyed music and refreshments, including strawberry’s and cream on the banks of the Royal at the 12th. Again, as in previous years the event was organised and managed by Noel Spain and his family

 May 27th; Royal Canal Bicentenary Celebrations

The Royal Canal Amenity Group and Waterways Ireland celebrated the Bicentenary of the Royals Canals complication to the Shannon (on the 26 May 1817).

To mark the occasion, President Michael D. Higgins unveiled a plaque in Richmond Harbour, Cloondara, Co Longford.

He also stated that “It is my hope that here in Ireland we can also encourage more of our citizens to become engaged in supporting the ongoing maintenance and preservation of our Royal Canal, to understand its value as a portal to our past and to treasure this important connection with a past that has shaped and formed our nation.”  See full speech Also see report in Afloat  and a selection of pictures from the event

April 22; Canal Clean Up Day

The Canal Clean-Up Day took place on Sat. 22nd April. The Royal Canal Clean-up Group organised the event on the Royal, with groups at Spencer Dock, 1st Lock Charleville Mall, Cross Guns Bridge, Ashtown and Castleknock. A very good turn out of eager volunteers was reported.

Similarly there were numerous groups out at a number of venues along the Grand Canal. All the groups removed and bagged a large amount of rubbish from the banks and the water. There were canoes helping out on Royal between Cross Guns  and Charleville Mall.

A very hearty ”Well Done” to all the Volunteers who turned out and to all who were involved in the organising of the event.

April 5th; Royal Canal Amenity Group 41st. Annual General Meeting.

Our 2016 AGM took  place in Enfield on Wednesday the 5th. The annual accounts were passed and the existing board of directors were returned. A wide range of discussion took place on our future plans – ranging from the upcoming bicentenary of the Royal on the 27th May to water levels, towpath upgrading, our beekeeping project and upcoming tours and walks.

April 1st: Royal Canal Walk, 5 Lamps festival

There was a very good turnout at this walk -somewhere in the region of 50 to 60 people. The walk started in the city basin and proceeded to the 5 lock at Shandon Mills. From there the walkers went east along the canal to the 1st lock at Charleville Mall. Peter Clarke’s engaging commentary was well received and this pictures shows him in full flow along the walls of Mountjoy Prison

March 30th: Towpath from Bond Bridge Maynooth to 14th Lock

This section of the towpath, which was closed for upgrading work since November 2016 is now reopened However it may be closed for further work later in the year.


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;

Heritage Week 2We 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