Posted: 21/05/2019

Year of events to mark Shannon-Erne Waterway 25th Anniversary begins

Cruiser on the SEW

The Shannon-Erne Waterway begins its 25th year of operation on Thursday 23rd May 2019: the start of a year of community, heritage and fun events all along the waterway linking Lough Erne in Fermanagh, through Co Cavan and into the River Shannon in Co Leitrim, taking in many towns and villages along its 63km length.

The largest cross-border infrastructure project of its time, the works involved the restoration of the locks, dredging of the navigation channel,  the installation of an electro-hydraulic lock operating system and the use of smart cards to operate the locks and service blocks which were placed at six locations along its length.

The Shannon-Erne Waterway has welcomed 1000's of local and international boaters over the years, and introduced northern boaters to the south and southern boaters to the north, all bringing an economic dividend to places like Leitrim Village, Keshcarrigan, Ballinamore and Ballyconnell.

On the 23rd May the first of the years events, the Paddles Up Transition Year Programme reaches its climax with a group of 100 students crossing the border on a 10km kayak paddle from the South to the North. Further events are planned for the year including a visit of the Heritage Boats to the Ballinamore Festival, exhibitions of heritage materials, oral history recordings and much more.

Communities and activity clubs along the Shannon–Erne Waterway interested in organising events between 23 May 2019 and 23 May 2020 are asked to contact Waterways Ireland to be added to the events calendar (email to To find out more about what's on visit or follow us on Facebook.

The Paddles Up Programme is a 6 week Learn to Paddle programme involving learning the basic skills of kayaking and water safety and culminating in a Finals Day 10k paddle. The students completing the programme will receive a qualification awarded by Canoeing Ireland the National Governing Body in either a level one or two Kayaking Proficiency Skills.

The Shannon-Erne Oral History Project is inviting contributions from people with memories of the waterway over the last twenty five years. To get involved isit

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