Waterways Ireland | News Centre | News | News Article

Posted: 04/09/2021

Stories from the Waterways

SDG Climate Resilience - In this Stories from the Waterways, we join our Asset Manager Sharon Callanan. She explains the importance of our infrastructure and the steps being taken by Waterways Ireland to maintain and secure them for current and future users of these shared heritage corridors. Central to this work is also ensuring that they are climate resilient and support local biodiversity both on land and underwater #SDGs

Sustainable Tourism - we are celebrating the sustainable development of recreation facilities along our Inland Waterways. This year we are focussing on how Waterways Ireland aligns its works and practices with the UN #SDGs. The importance of sustainable tourism and recreation on our waterways is ever apparent. Facilitating #netzero transport, recreational facilities and also improving access to these heritage corridors in a sustainable manner is Waterways Ireland’s priority.


WasteShark - In this Stories from the Waterways join our Dublin Docklands Development Manager Máirín Ó Cuireáin as she deploys our Waste Shark to collect litter from Grand Canal Dock. This innovative piece of technology helps tackle an age old issue of litter in our environment and is the first unit to be purchased on the island of Ireland, showcasing Waterways Irelands commitment to pioneering new approaches and developing best practice along the inland waterways. It complements the tremendous work of our Operations Staff and local volunteers and in doing so delivers on several #SDGs as well as protecting local wildlife.


Blue Green Yonder - In this installment of Stories from the Waterways we witness the calming, restorative and enjoyable effects of our shared outdoor heritage. We join Caroline Dixon, her son Adam and their extended family as they take a trip on the Erne with activity provider Trevor of Blue Green Yonder, based out of our Enniskillen HQ Activity Hub. A huge thank you to the Dixon family for taking part in this film.


Johnny Butler - Before the days of Waterways Ireland, at the turn of the 20th Century, a young boy was born in Portumna Workhouse.  His name was Johnny Butler.  Though not the ideal start for a young life we follow local historian David Broderick as he shines a light on this truly remarkable young man and the career he forged in the Board of Works at Portumna Bridge, a predecessor to Waterways Ireland.  This is an initiative of the Waterways Ireland Heritage Plan 2016-2020.


Lock Gate Replacement Programme - Join us as we follow the work of Martin Grattan and all the traditional craftsmen in our Tullamore Depot.  Here, replacement lock gates are masterfully crafted, based on original archive drawings, to ensure the smooth operation of the locks throughout the canal network. We are committed to the preservation and development of this traditional skill-set within the organisation and are proud to be the bearers of this rich intangible cultural heritage.  This is an initiative of the Waterways Ireland Heritage Plan 2016-2020.


Royal Canal Citizen Science Project - In the latest Story from the Waterways we meet the Lesley Whiteside of Baltrasna Boreen Biodiversity Group. Along with her son, local volunteers and representatives from Butterfly Conservation Ireland and Birdwatch Ireland they monitor local biodiversity along the Royal Canal outside Mullingar.


Canals Health Check - Join Professor Joe Caffrey as he undertakes an ecological health check of our canals. Waterways Ireland undertake detailed sampling of the canals by monitoring plants, water chemistry and invertebrates under our Water Framework Directive monitoring programme. These metrics provide an excellent indicator of the waterways overall health.


Barge Family Reunion - We are delighted to launch the first of the Stories from the Waterways 2020 – Barge Family Reunion. In this feature we see a magnificent community event hosted by the Heritage Boat Association at Portumna to mark 60 years since commercial traffic ceased on the Grand Canal.


Upper Ballyellen Lock Gate Replacement - As a follow up to last year’s Stories from the Waterways, we re-join Martin Grattan and his team as they install a new set of lock gates at Upper Ballyellen Lock on the Barrow Navigation.


Royal Canal Amenity Group - In this film you see footage from the early days of the RCAG (filmed by Charlie Hayden and donated by his son Brian) right up to the present day. Without their tenacity and commitment, the present day Royal Canal could be a very different place.


Mapping the Barrow - In this episode of ‘Stories from the Waterways’ we following staff from our Environment & Heritage and Operations Section as they collect imagery along the historic Barrow Navigation using the Google Trekker camera. In 2019 the Royal Canal, Barrow Line and Barrow Navigation were captured allowing people to experience these wondrous navigations from home. We also see how it can support local businesses like the Mullicháin Café in St. Mullins. This is an initiative of the Waterways Ireland Heritage Plan 2016-2020.


Island Explorers - In this 'Stories from the Waterways' feature we explore the role of our Education Officer, Manus Tiernan. By engaging with younger people, which is a core strategic aim of Waterways Ireland, we help raise awareness, foster a sense of place and encourage them to use and appreciate the waterways into the future. Our Island Explorers programme is one such initiative whereby students discover the rich heritage of Devenish Island with local historian Séamus MacAnnaidh as well as the biodiversity of Lough Erne with ecologist Billy Flynn. The programme also provides students with the opportunity to experience rowing a traditional currach with the wonderful community currach group of Row the Erne. All this rich tapestry of history, wildlife, heritage and culture is brought to life both off the water and on, with access to the island facilitated by Erne Tours.


The Lock Keeper - In this feature we follow Stephen Brierly, a third generation Lock Keeper on the Grand Canal, as he goes about his duties bringing boats along the Circular Line to Grand Canal Dock.  Stephen is a true ambassador for Waterways Ireland and the canals, with a passion, enthusiasm and dedication that makes a trip on our waterways so memorable for boaters and onlookers.  This is an initiative of the Waterways Ireland Heritage Plan 2016-2020.


The Waterways Ireland Archive - In this feature we see how the lifetime collection of Royal Canal material, donated by Dr. Ian Bath, is digitised as part of our wider collection. Waterways Ireland are constantly adding to our archive and welcome donations from other groups or private individuals. Our archive, based in Enniskillen, is open to the public by prior appointment and we welcome queries to archive@waterwaysireland.org. This is an initiative of the Waterways Ireland Heritage Plan 2016-2020.


Anna Burke - Here Anna tells us about what her barge means to her and why she loves life on the water. This video was made as part of a one day workshop, funded by the Waterways Ireland Heritage Plan 2016-2020, with visiting students from the James Madison University (Virginia, USA) as part of a study abroad programme with Scarriff Community Council. Special thanks to the Burke Family and the Heritage Boat Association.


Acres Lake Floating Boardwalk - We looked back at the approach taken by the Waterways Ireland Design Team to develop a floating boardwalk as part of the North Shannon Blueway. This project combines innovative engineering solutions to deliver a project that is mindful of the surrounding ecology, landscape and which provides an important recreational asset to the local area. This is an initiative of the Waterways Ireland Heritage Plan 2016-2020. Thank you to all those who helped with this – great to be able to show the great work being undertaken by staff throughout the organisation.


Lough Derg Stories - Lough Derg provides a true sense of place to the communities and users around the lake and in this feature we discover what the lake means to boaters, anglers, community groups, historians and swimmers. This is a continuation of the Stories from the Waterways series and is cofunded by Galway County Council, the Waters and Communities Programme and the Heritage Council

Crinniú @ Portumna - If you couldn't attend the recent Crinniú @ Portumna here is the lowdown on the event from heritage boats, traditional skills to an entertaining and energetic flea circus. This event was community centred heritage day developed by Waterways Ireland in partnership with the Galway County Council Heritage Office, OPW Portumna Castle, the Waters and Communities Programme and the Heritage Council with generous support from the local community, GAA Club and other organisations.


Google Trekker Loan Programme - A collaborative project between Waterways Ireland & the Google Trekker Loan Programme, kindly supported by Clare County Council. You can access the imagery from Lough Allen to Loop Head via maps.google.com on your PC or laptop or via the Google Earth app on your smartphone or tablet!


Row the Erne - This film brings to lifethe work of the fantastic community group Row the Erne, who meet every Saturday to do just that - row on Lough Erne. Olivia Cosgrove tells us about the founding of the club and how it gives novices an opportunity to get on the water and experience the waterway landscape from a unique perspective.


Brickmakers of Pollagh - The story of how clay, brick making and the coming of the Grand Canal led to a cottage industry in Pollagh, Co. Offally. The Devery family tell the story. This is a collaborative project between the Waterways Ireland Heritage Plan 2016-2020 and the Offaly Heritage Office.


Ribbontail Paddlers - Having started a canoeing club in Co. Meath a group of parents took on the job of sympathetically restoring an old lock-keepers cottage to serve the local community on the Royal Canal.  This is a collaborative project between the Waterways Ireland Heritage Plan 2016-2020 and the Meath Heritage Office.


Portna Workshop - Replacing lock gates or sluice gates is are rare occurrence on our waterways. Joiner Bradden Braillie who works on the Lower Bann Navigation is used to dealing with technologies that are hundreds of years old and explains how it’s all done.


The Callows - Archaeologist Christy Cunniffe visits the Callows on the banks of the Shannon Navigation in Co. Galway, site of a once thriving community now almost completely vanished.  This film is a fitting legacy to the resilient families who once populated this ‘island of land’ between the Shannon and Grand Canal. This is a collaborative project between the Waterways Ireland Heritage Plan 2016-2020 and the Galway Heritage Office.


Graiguenamanagh Regatta - The Langton family have been competing in the Graiguenamanagh Regatta on the Barrow Navigation for generations. In 2018 Paul and his daughter Hannah participated in the famous Kilkenny regatta – watch to see how they got on and how everyone comes together on the Barrow for a wonderful community event. This is a collaborative project between the Waterways Ireland Heritage Plan 2016-2020, Creative Ireland and the Kilkenny Heritage Office.


Athy Boat Tours - A great community initiative, Athy boat tours takes people for a leisurely trip down the Barrow Line, through an old lock gate. Skipper Chris McKenna is our guide. This is a collaborative project between the Waterways Ireland Heritage Plan 2016-2020 and the Kildare Heritage Office.


Ballyconnell Looped Walk - Two Cavan friends enjoy their weekly stroll by the Shannon-Erne Waterway, taking in all the pleasures of walking by the water. This is a collaborative project between the Waterways Ireland Heritage Plan 2016-2020 and the Cavan Heritage Office.​


Back to top