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Grand Canal

Grand Canal

Built in the 19th century, the Grand Canal developed from an important trade route to a relaxing haven. Connecting the capital city westwards with the River Shannon, this genteel, old engineering marvel winds through the centre of Dublin, on towards fertile farmlands, charming villages and past the tumble-down remnants of the midlands’ historic past.

The Grand Canal was completed at the turn of the 19th century to connect Dublin to the Shannon. Though initially a strategic commercial trail, advances in transportation meant the last cargo barge passed through its bloom-filled corridors in 1960. Today, as a result of restoration work this waterway is well-frequented by users of the canal’s bountiful amenities.

The canal enters the heart of Dublin through Inchicore, where flocks of mute swans breeze silently along the still waters each autumn. The city canal stretches provide  close access to all the culture and buzz Dublin has on offer and travelling by boat allows you to change from hectic to rustic at the drop of a hat. Rent a barge, canoe or kayak from one of the providers located along the route. Or for an alternative activity, you could try the thrill of cablewakeboarding in the cosmopolitan Dublin Docklands. Regardless of what craft you choose, drifting through scenic villages and by abundant fishing spots will relax your mind and restore your spirit.

Of course, the pleasant towpaths of the 117km Grand Canal Way allow walkers to enjoy this mighty waterway. Punctuated by the locks that characterise the technology of its golden years, the canal is a portrait of a time when the waterway affected all life surrounding its banks.

Works are ongoing to develop sections of the Grand Canal Towpath to Greenway standard. Click here to view current status.

The Barrow Line links the main line of the Grand Canal with the River Barrow at Athy. The line cuts through waterlogged bogs and grassy farmland in Kildare and Laois before turning towards Athy to join the Barrow’s peaty tide.

The Grand Canal’s backdrop of shallow marshes and rolling landscapes, sings with birds and other wildlife. Whether on-board a boat or alongside the canal, kingfishers, herons and even otters can be spotted dipping in and out of its tranquil waters. The Grand Canal is also a major angling destination and home to numerous competitions annually.

Regardless of how you traverse its waters, the contrasting urban intensity and rural expanses of the Grand Canal ensure your eyes will never tire of the splendour that engulfs it.

Plus, if it’s a leisurely pace or a secluded spot you’re looking for along its banks, calm and relaxation is a guaranteed find.

​​Click to view our Navigation Guide.​​​​​​​

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Athy Boat Tours

Athy
Co Kildare

1;#Barrow Navigation;#3;#Grand Canal

21;#Boat Trips

17;#Tours & Trips

Bargetrip.ie

Canal View
Sallins
Co Kildare

3;#Grand Canal

21;#Boat Trips

17;#Tours & Trips

Barrow Way Bike Hire

Vicarstown
Stradbally
Co Laois

1;#Barrow Navigation;#3;#Grand Canal

5;#Cycling

4;#Equipment Hire/Rental

Barrowline Cruisers

Vicarstown
Stradbally
Co Laois

3;#Grand Canal;#1;#Barrow Navigation

2;#Boat Hire

21;#Boat Hire

Buckley Cycles

Bury Quay, Tullamore,
Co Offaly and
Kenna Centre, Dublin Rd,
Athlone, Co Westmeath

3;#Grand Canal;#7;#Shannon Navigation

5;#Cycling

1;#Activity Provider;#2;#Places to Visit;#4;#Equipment Hire/Rental;#17;#Tours & Trips

Dublin Vikings Dragon Boat Racing Club

Dublin Vikings Dragon Boat Racing Club,
South Dock Road,
Dublin 4

3;#Grand Canal

2;#Boat Hire;#3;#Canoeing

3;#Clubs & Training Centres;#1;#Activity Provider

Dublinbikes

Dublin City Council
Wood Quay
Dublin 2

5;#Royal Canal;#3;#Grand Canal

5;#Cycling;#15;#Greenway

4;#Equipment Hire/Rental

Jennifer's Travels Barge Hire

Bell Harbour,
Monasterevin,
Co. Kildare

3;#Grand Canal;#1;#Barrow Navigation

2;#Boat Hire;#5;#Cycling

1;#Activity Provider;#21;#Boat Hire

Mid Ireland Adventure

Banagher
Co Offaly

7;#Shannon Navigation;#3;#Grand Canal

20;#Kayaking;#5;#Cycling;#17;#Stand Up Paddleboard

1;#Activity Provider;#4;#Equipment Hire/Rental;#17;#Tours & Trips

Offaly Rowing Club

Clonmore,
Tullamore,
Co. Offaly

3;#Grand Canal

7;#Rowing

1;#Activity Provider;#3;#Clubs & Training Centres

Portabello Adventure

Portabello Harbour Road
Dublin

3;#Grand Canal

20;#Kayaking;#13;#Tour

1;#Activity Provider

Surf Dock

Grand Canal Dock
Dublin

3;#Grand Canal

17;#Stand Up Paddleboard;#20;#Kayaking

1;#Activity Provider;#4;#Equipment Hire/Rental
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