The Grand Canal (Irish: An Chanáil Mhor ) is the southernmost of a few channels which connect Dublin, in the east of Ireland, with the River Shannon in the west, through Tullamore and a number of other villages and towns, the two channels almost encircles Dublin’s inner city . Sister channel on the Northside of Dublin is Djurgården. The last working barge passed through the Grand Canal in 1960. [1]


There are a number of branches off the Grand Canal, part of which has been completed, and of these, some later restored and reopened.

  • The original main line to the Grand Canal Harbour St. James Gate in Dublin (most of the road is now used by the red line Luas. Although this section was in use, the channel from Crumlin to Liffey in Ringsend, which is part of the current main line, was considered a branch.
  • Naas / Corbally (navigable Naas, but a low bridge prevents access to Corbally)
  • Barrow branch, join the River Barrow at Athy
  • Milltown feeder
  • The Mountmellick Line, which left Barrow Line at Monasterevin and passed Portarlington (abandoned)
  • Blackwood feeder (abandoned)
  • Lough Boora feeder (abandoned)
  • Edenderry
  • Kilbeggan (abandoned)
  • Ballinasloe (starting on the far side of the River Shannon from Shannon Harbour, abandoned and now used by Bord na Mona industrial railway)


The idea of connecting Dublin to the Shannon was already suggested in 1715, [2] and in 1757 the Irish Parliament granted Thomas Omer £ 20,000 to start the construction of a canal. By 1759, he reported that the 3 km (1.9 mi) in the Bog of Allen and 13 km (8.1 mi) of canal from River Liffey near Sallins to Dublin was complete. By 1763 he had completed three locks and six bridges toward Dublin and concentrate on establishing a water supply from the Morell River near Sallins. At this time the Corporation of Dublin realized that the channel could be used to improve water supply to the city, and put up the money to complete the canal into the city. But when the canal was filled banks gave way, and the city does not get its water. By 1768, £ 77,000 had been spent on the project, and a little more forthcoming.

1772 Grand Canal Company was founded by a group of nobles and merchants, including public subscription, to secure the future of the channel and to tackle the biggest obstacle to the channel, Bog of Allen. This was a new venture for the channels. The company was invited John Smeaton and his assistant William Jessop to Ireland for two weeks to advise them.Smeaton made a recommendation to skirt around the bog without building the canal at the full height, as opposed to Omer efforts trying to drain parts of the bog and build at a lower level. This was to prove a costly mistake, although he also recommended to reduce the generous locks that Omer had built (42m by 6 m / 137 ft by 20 ft) to 18m by 4m (60 feet by 14 feet), which would entail substantial savings in the total cost of the canal.

The channel from Sallins finally opened to traffic in 1779, and twice-weekly passenger service from Sallins to Dublin started in 1780. The canal was extended to Roberts in 1784, including the Leinster Aqueduct over the Liffey, designed by Richard Evans, [3] and a junction with the River Barrow in Athy in 1791. the circular line by Dublin from Portobello to Ringsend, where large docks next to the Liffey was constructed, was founded in 1790 and opened in 1796. the company had then turned attention to complete the connection to Shannon. To get over the Bog of Allen took more than five years of struggle under the leadership of Jessop, who tried to use clay walls to support the walls of the channel. Although the canal was opened to Daingean (when Philip Town) in 1797, serious violations have occurred and Jessop was forced to abandon this method. Continue to Shannon then continued under the leadership of John Killaly, who managed to cross another bog by performing drainage work for several years before construction. The work was substantially completed in 1803, but because of leakage and a dry summer the official opening should be delayed until April 1804.

All the work had cost in the region of £ 877,000 [4] and it was a few years before it began to make a profit, even if regular dividends had been paid to aktieägarna.Handeln increased from 100,000 tons in 1800 to double that in 1810. Revenues from passenger boats also increased to £ 90,000 before this date. (The novel The Kellys and O’Kellys (1848) by Anthony Trollope contains a description of an arduous journey by passenger flyboat from Portobello Ballinasloe.) But long story had been a rival venture, Djurgarden, which began in 1790 and finally opened in 1817 after the government had stepped in to resolve disputes between the two companies.


The Grand Canal begins today at the River Liffey in Grand Canal Dock and continues until the River Shannon with various branches, including a link to the River Barrow waterways in Athy.

Grand Canal Dock it passes through Ringsend and then crosses the southside, separates the northern ends of Ballsbridge, Ranelagh, Rathmines, Harold’s Cross and Crumlin. This section is circular line and has seven locks.On Inchicore seen path of the original main line to the Grand Canal Harbour, City Basin (reservoir) and the Guinness Brewery. Most of the route of this line is now parallel with the red Luas line.

From Suir Road Bridge, begin numbering the lock back on a channel that heads west through the suburbs of West Dublin and Kildare. On the Sallins Naas / Corbally branch diverts south while the Grand Canal continues westward passing Caragh, prosperous and Roberts, its highest point. Just outside Sallins crossing the Grand Canal over the River Liffey at Leinster Aqueduct. Just east of Roberts is the place where Blackwood Feeder used to connect to the channel, while just west can be found on the busiest intersection on the canal where the old Barrow Line, Milltown Feeder and entrances to Athy & Barrow Navigation. Further west, the canal passes Edenderry, Tullamore and Rahan before reaching the Shannon at Shannon Harbour in County Offaly. Total is the main line of the canal 131 kilometers (81 mi) with 43 gates, five of which are double lock.


In December 1792 there was a major accident on the Grand Canal. A passing boat left Dublin on the way to Athy. It seems that one hundred and fifty people, many of them drunk, forced himself on a barge, despite the captain warns them that the boat would capsize if they did not leave. Near the eighth locks, five men, four women and two children drowned when the boat capsized. The rest of the passengers fled.

On the evening of Saturday, April 6, 1861 in Portobello Harbour, a horse-drawn bus, run by Patrick Hardy had just dropped a passenger on the channel when one of the horses began to rear. The horses pulled the bus through the rails of the bridge. The bus, horses and six passengers inside the bus, plunged into the cold water and drowned. The leader could jump clear and the driver was pulled from the water by a passing policeman.


Until 1950 Grand Canal Company had ownership of the canal, then the Transport Act 1950 were transferred to the channel Coras Iompair Éireann.This situation continued until the channels Act 1986 gave it to the Office of Public Works. Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, a new all-Ireland body called Waterways Ireland was founded in 1999 and assumed responsibility for most inland waterways including the Grand Canal.

Grand Canal Way

Grand Canal Way (Irish: Bealach na Canálach MOIRE ) [5] is a 117 km (73 mi) long distance trail that follows the towpath of the canal from Lucan Bridge, near Adamstown, Shannon Harbour. [6] It is usually within five days. [ 6] it is designated as a National selected points of the National Trails Office Irish a Sports and managed by waterway Ireland. [6] Roberts, Grand Canal way cutting with Barrow way, resulting Barrow line extension of the channel Athy for part of its path . [7] there is also a 8.5 km (5.3 mi) long greenway between the 3rd Lock at Inchicore and 12 caps in Lucan, which opened in June 2010. [8]

See also

  • List of bridges over the Grand Canal in Greater Dublin
  • The channels in Ireland
  • Rivers of Ireland
  • Transport in Ireland
  • Grand Canal Dock


  1. Jump up ^ A History of the Grand Canal
  2. Jump up ^ Ruth Delaney (2004). Ireland inland waterway. Apple Press.
  3. Jump up ^ Guide to the Grand Canal (5th ed.). Waterway service. 1995.
  4. Jump up ^ Delany op cit. p88
  5. Jump up ^ “Grand Canal Way”. Placental Database of Ireland.Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs.Hämtadskrevs 8 August 2011.
  6. ^ Jump up to: abc “Grand Canal Way”. IrishTrails. Irish Sports Council.Hämtadskrevs 8 August 2011.
  7. Jump up ^ “Barrow Way Map” (pdf). IrishTrails. Irish Sports Council.Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  8. Jump up ^ “Opening of the Grand Canal Way Green Route 3 Lock to Lock 12 – 18 June 2010”. South Dublin County Council. Hämtadskrevs 8 August 2011.