EDENDERRY CANAL & HARBOUR
In the early 1700’s the concept of linking Dublin to the River Shannon was first explored. However it was not until the 1750’s that this concept started to become reality. Construction of the Grand Canal began in 1756, taking 48 years to fully complete, with the entire canal being opened to trade and passage boats in 1804.
The Grand Canal begins at Shannon Harbour in Co. Offaly, ending at Grand Canal Dock in Co. Dublin, totalling a distance of 82 miles (132km). Edenderry is connected to the Grand Canal via a 1 mile stretch from the Downshire Bridge to the Harbour in Edenderry town centre. This spur off the canal was officially opened in 1802 and for over two hundred years has brought business, tourism, sport and culture to Edenderry.
Fáilte Ireland has recently launched a campaign known as “Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands” to promote tourism in the Midlands. In the past number of years the number of boats and barges which have docked in Edenderry has declined. The Edenderry Chamber of Commerce has highlighted the Edenderry branch of the Grand Canal as a valuable asset to the town, one which can be utilised to increase tourism and in turn benefit the businesses and residents of Edenderry and wants to market Edenderry as the “Gateway to the Hidden Heartlands.”
To date a number of meetings have been held between the Chamber of Commerce and a number of key groups, including Waterways Ireland and the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI). As a result of those meetings the boating community made a very welcome return to Edenderry over a number of weekends in mid-October.
The Chamber of Commerce welcomed the President of the IWAI John Doran and Vice-President Alan Kelly along with many of the boating community to Edenderry where they enjoyed the best of what we have to offer as they moored in Edenderry. On the back of the successful return to the town, the Chamber of Commerce are currently in discussions with the IWAI about future events on the boating calendar, including the potential return of the Easter Rally to Edenderry.
Behind the success, work continues with the Chamber Committee as we seek to make events such as this a normal, frequent sight once again. Various projects are in progress as the Chamber, in association with other local community groups endeavours to make improvements to the harbour areas in regards to issues such as security, landscaping and infrastructure required by the boating community. Successful execution of projects such as these will ensure that Edenderry is in a positive position for years to come to continue our 200 year connection to Ireland’s waterways.