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Tour 2007

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April 2007

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5 - Croghan to Lock 12 - Grand Canal, Shannon and Dublin Lines.

Wednesday 4th April 2007

Thinking that we would not get off until late we did not think to get up early, so were rudely awaken by TWO narrow gauge turf trains rattling across the bridge, with only a couple of hundred feet gap between them. Soon we were up, surprised to find a thick frost on the roof of the boat and were greeted by a rather hapless Turf Board bod, who was manning the bridge. He apologised for leaving it down and was sorry that it did not work from the outer controls. He tried to operate the bridge from the cabin, but still no luck. Soon the manual wind windlass came out, Neil assisted by watching the pulley and drive belt, but it was soon obvious from the slipping belt that all was not well. the Turf bod seem to think that a complaint to the power station on the emergency number might carry more weight from an irate boater, with the call made Neil did not hold out much hope. The turf bod then phoned up his mate Peter, who came bounding along the trackbed on a tractor. Peter was a bit more Au Fait with the workings of the bridge and established that the solenoid brake on the motor had failed, so while he held it off with his boot, the other bod manually wound up the bridge and amazingly we were through by 08:50.
We wanted to go down to Dublin and had found out via Brian Goggin that the best way was to phone up Enda Riley, one of the W.I. supervisors in Dublin and he would sort it out. After an answerphone message Enda eventually got back to Neil, saying that he normally needed 48 hours notice and he had one of the Dublin lock keepers off sick, but he would phone back within the hour to see what he could do. Enda phoned back within the hour saying that it had all been sorted and that assuming we had no trouble getting down, we should be able to get to Ringsend Basin the next night.
We had limited time on this, our first bash in Ireland, so surprised Enda by saying that we would only wanted to spend a day down in Dublin. We had to get to the top of Lock No 12, on the outskirts of Dublin that night, so we did not need any more problems for the rest of the day.
We were really out in the wilds now, at Cartland Bridge there were some stop gates to protect this heavily embanked section. Once the short branch to Edenderry had been passed (11:00) we were up on the VERY straight embanked section. Neil sat on the front and was amazed how clear the water was. The water was poled at 6ft deep and the track of barges could easily be seen, where the silt was removed from the bottom.
At the centre of this embanked section is the Blundell Aqueduct, known locally as The Tunnel, where the canal passes over the road between Edenderry and Rathnagan. At the end of the embankment the canal passes up Lock No 20. The next item of note was the Kilpatrick turf briquette factory, this has supposedly closed, but there was still signs of recovered turf. The final, derelict Bord Na Mona lifting bridge was on the next section, its rusty chains holding up the deck. This bridge is one of the classic sights on the Grand Canal and it would be a shame if it was demolished and not restored as a relic.
The next bridge is Shee Bridge, as this is the only skew bridge on the canal, it is thought that this is a corruption of that name. From the next bridge the moored boats of Lowtown Marina come into view, just before the moorings begin the canal passes over the the River Slate. Just before the marina buildings, the new Barrow Line goes off to the right. The Old Barrow Line goes off above Lowtown Summit Lock No 19, boats travelling from the Barrow to the Shannon Lines would thus waste a lock full of water off the summit pound until this other link was formed. The Miltown Feeder enters on the Old Barrow Line, just above Old Lock No 19. The old Lock No 19 was restored to navigation in the mid 1990's.
At the end of the marina buildings we spotted the hallowed diesel tank and pump, the only diesel now available on the main Shannon Line of the canal. At the end of the rather full Lowtown moorings is New Lock No 19, James Conroy was in waiting with a few gongoozling boaters. One lady told of tales of doom going down to Dublin and thought that we were mad going down there and that she would never take her boat down there. It was nice on the way back. a couple of days later to wave to her, as she was a liveaboard at Hazelhatch, we had not heart to tell her that the day we came up from Portobello we also popped up and down the Naas Branch!
After passing the junction with the Old Main Line (14:15) we carried on through Robertstown. There was actually an occupied boat on the visitor mooring before Binn's Bridge. Just after the bridge the canal is beside the main street of Robertstown, there is a Centra supermarket, a takeaway and a couple of bars. Once past the wharf side moorings (which was surprisingly clear of boats) is one of the intact, but again under threat Grand Canal hotels.
Once out of Robertstown the canal swings round on an embankment until Healy's Bridge is past. Looking back through the bridge you can see the course of the now abandoned and filled in Blackwood Feeder canal. The canal is now heading across to the Liffey Valley, after a shallow cutting near Prosperous the canal descends the spaced out (annoyingly so for walking) three locks, No 18, 17 and 16. Above Lock No 17 an unconverted Grand Canal Company barge No 31 was moored up on the offside.
Beyond here is a dog leg in the canal as it passes over the Leinster Aqueduct over the River Liffey. The old course used to carry straight on. After the aqueduct there is a triangular junction to the short Naas Branch (14:15). The small island is known as Soldiers Island. We were observant and spotted the entrance stones to the filled in dry dock just before the moorings and bridge at Sallins.
Sallins was quite busy and as we had made good time, we decided to to moor up before the winding point and do a food shop. (16:30-17:00) Beyond Sallins there is a shallow cutting that had recently had a lot of trees hacked back and the towpath restored, it was here that we encountered the bottom for the first time!
After a reed fringed section the next lock we encountered was No 15, with a sad abandoned lock cottage beside it, the nearby Lock No 14 had a similar cottage, but this had been nicely restored. The canal runs dead straight to Ponsonby Bridge, here there is a slight change of direction, after which the canal runs dead straight again until after Hazelhatch. Beside the Double Lock No 13 are the immaculately restored mills that form the Lyons Mills restaurant complex (LINK). As you can see from their website we could not afford to eat there! Beyond the mills is the restored Lyons House and estate, owned by Tony Ryan, guvnor of Ryanair.
We had some fun at the double lock...rather a lot of water went down the towpath! In the fading light we passed through the extensive liveaboard colony at Hazelhatch, clustered around the bridge and The Hatch pub. We carried on to moor up in the cutting just above Lock No 12. Once past Hazelhatch we did not see another boat, apart from the trip boat on the Circular Line all the way down to and including Ringsend Basin! It was also apparent that not many boats venture below Hazelhatch, seeing as the canal immediately became much shallower and filled with weed and silt. After arrival at 20:20 in the half light we sat down to a Chicken "jar" curry that had been bubbling away for an hour. Predictably Neil cooked rather too much rice!


The knackered Bord Na Mona Cavemount / Croghan Lift Bridge


The track / narrow gauge railway leading away from Croghan Lift Bridge. Grand Canal.


Croghan Lift Bridge. The knackered barrier and self operation "consol"! Grand Canal.


Croghan Lift Bridge. Neil and one of the Bord Na Mona bods examines the broken bridge. Grand Canal.


Bord Na Mona lift bridge. The nearest bod is holding the broken solenoid brake open with his foot! while the other bod winds the bridge manually. Grand Canal.


Passing through the Bord Na Mona Lift bridge. Grand Canal.


Passing through the Bord Na Mona Lift bridge. Grand Canal.


Leaving Bord Na Mona Lift bridge. Grand Canal.


Toberdaly Bridge. Grand Canal.


Grand Canal.


Rhode Bridge. Grand Canal.


Cartland Bridge and stop gates. Grand Canal.


Cartland Bridge and stop gates. Grand Canal.


Georges Bridge. Grand Canal.


Colgan's Bridge. Grand Canal.


Downshire Bridge, spanning the entrance to the Edenderry Branch. Grand Canal.


Downshire Bridge, spanning the entrance to the Edenderry Branch. Grand Canal.


View down the Edenderry Branch. Grand Canal.


The long straight embankment after Edenderry. Grand Canal.


Grand Canal.


Blundell Aqueduct. Grand Canal.


Blundell Aqueduct "The Tunnel". Grand Canal.


The canal is so clear you can see the bottom 6ft down, the centre swept clean by passing barges. Grand Canal.


Grand Canal.


Lock No 20. Grand Canal.


Lock No 20. Grand Canal.


Lock No 20. Grand Canal.


Lock No 20. Grand Canal.


Hartley Bridge. Grand Canal.


Kilpatrick turf briquette factory. Grand Canal.


Kilpatrick briquette factory Bridge. Grand Canal.


The derelict Bord Na Mona lifting bridge. Grand Canal.


Grand Canal.


Shee or Scow Bridge. Grand Canal.


Bond Bridge. Grand Canal.


River Slate Aqueduct, Lowtown Marina in the distance. Grand Canal.


Lowtown Marina. Grand Canal.


Lowtown Marina, Barrow Line off to right. Grand Canal.


Lowtown Marina, the Barrow Line goes off to right. Grand Canal.


Lowtown Marina, the only diesel on the Shannon and Dublin Lines of the Grand Canal.


Lowtown, Lock No 19. Grand Canal.


Lowtown Marina. Grand Canal.


Lowtown, the Old Barrow Line goes off to the left. Grand Canal.


Binn's Bridge Robertstown. Grand Canal.


Binn's Bridge Robertstown. Bars and Centra supermarket. Grand Canal.


The old Grand Canal Company hotel and wharf at Robertstown. Grand Canal.


The old Grand Canal Company hotel at Robertstown. Grand Canal.


Robertstown. Grand Canal.


Robertstown. Grand Canal.


We are now on the Dublin Line of the Grand Canal.


Looking back at Robertstown. Grand Canal.


Bonynge or Healy's Bridge. The Blackwood Feeder used to enter by the white van. Grand Canal.


The cutting near Prosperous. Grand Canal.


Burgh or Cock Bridge. Grand Canal.


Lock No 18. Grand Canal.


Lock No 18. Grand Canal.


Lock No 18. Grand Canal.


The original condition GCC Barge No 31, below Lock No 18. Grand Canal.


Landenstown Bridge and Lock No 17. Grand Canal.


Landenstown Bridge and Lock No 17. Grand Canal.


Looking back at GCC Barge No 31. Grand Canal.


Digby Bridge and Lock No 16. Grand Canal.


Digby Bridge and Lock No 16. Grand Canal.


Leinster Aqueduct. Grand Canal.


Leinster Aqueduct, the River Liffey below. Grand Canal.


Leinster Aqueduct. Grand Canal.


Soldiers Island, The Naas Branch goes off the the right here. Grand Canal.


The filled in dry dock at Sallins. Grand Canal.


Sallins. Grand Canal.


Sallins Bridge. Grand Canal.


Sallins Bridge. Grand Canal.


Sallins. Grand Canal.


The cutting below Sallins. Grand Canal.


Railway Bridge below Sallins. Grand Canal.


Lock No 15 in the far distance. Grand Canal.


Lock No 15. Grand Canal.


Lock No 14. Grand Canal.


Looking back at Lock No 14. Grand Canal.


Devonshire Bridge. Grand Canal.


Grand Canal.


Ponsonby Bridge. Grand Canal.


Henry Bridge. Grand Canal.


Double Lock No 13 in the distance. The Lyons Mill restaurant complex to the right. Grand Canal.

http://www.villageatlyons.com/


Double Lock No 13. Grand Canal.


Double Lock No 13 and the Lyons Mill restaurant complex. Grand Canal.


Whoops! Double Lock No 13. Grand Canal.


Double Lock No 13. Grand Canal.


Double Lock No 13. Grand Canal.


Aylmer's Bridge in the distance. Grand Canal.


Hazelhatch. Grand Canal.


Hazelhatch Bridge. Grand Canal.


Hazelhatch. Grand Canal.


Hazelhatch. Grand Canal.


Leaving Hazelhatch. Grand Canal.


Looking back at Hazelhatch. Grand Canal.


"The Hulk", one of Thomas Omer's Lock houses...not near a lock! Grand Canal.

The Tour Continues...


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