Built amid the 18th-century canal fever that swept across Ireland, the 144km Grand Canal stretches across the country from Dublin to the Shannon.
From its historic origins, when horse-drawn barges originally travelled this water route, the canal today has emerged as a relaxing haven for anyone seeking the leisurely pace and secluded spots along its banks.
Two hundred and fifty years of history are waiting to be discovered along the banks of the Grand Canal. Much of it can be seen from the water, or on foot, from the towpaths. The canal enters the heart of Dublin through Inchicore, where flocks of Mute Swans gather every autumn, delighting tourists and locals alike. The city canal stretches offer close access to the museums and galleries, theatres, shopping and nightlife. Travelling by boat offers you the option to change your scenery, as outside Dublin the canal passes through more rural countryside, with village life providing a different type of entertainment.
If venturing out on the calm peaceful waters you have a choice of transport. It's easy to rent barges, canoes and kayaks along the route, ensuring you have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery, to fish, and to explore the small towns and villages that line the canal. When you grow tired of onboard life, hike the Grand Canal Way (a National Waymarked Way) which parallels the canal, or spend the night in a canal-side guest house or hotel.
The most relaxing way to see the Irish landscape is by water; a landscape full of shallow marshes, alive with birds and wildlife, and rolling farmland. There is a variety of wildlife along the route and the canal offers the best opportunity to get close to kingfishers, herons and even otters.
For everyone with an interest in the Grand Canal as it runs through Dublin please visit
Click to view our Navigation Guide.