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May 2013 – IWAI Dublin Rally, FESTA and Docklands Summer Festival review and photos


The Dublin branch of Inland Waterways Association of Ireland’s Dublin Rally takes place throughout May each year. Members of the boating community travel to Dublin along both the Royal and Grand Canals, some come in one canal and leave by the other (Green & Silver Challenge), and then take part in a host of activities along the Dublin stretches of the canals, moor at Grand Canal Dock for the Dublin Docklands Festival and finally depart back along the canals. This year during the inbound journey along the Grand Canal, FESTA, an artistic intervention, took place which celebrated the past and present history of labour and leisure in the Rialto area and all along the canal.

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Dublin Rally: Boaters began their journey along the Dublin end of the Grand Canal on Friday 10th May, participated in the FESTA parade on Saturday 11th (more details below), and travelled to Grand Canal Dock for Sunday 12th where they met up with their Royal Canal counterparts. The Rally and FESTA were officially launched by then Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Naoise Ó’Muirí and a drinks reception and barbeque took place that evening.

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Over the course of the next few days a plethora of events took place, including the annual Liffey Cruise, trips to the restored Martello tower in Killiney, the Lord Mayor’s coach and Dun Laoghaire’s Maritime Museum, a cheque presentation to the Irish Cancer Society by the Heritage Boats Association from the proceeds of their “River Rats” charity calendar, barbeques, nights out and of course the 2013 Dublin Docklands Festival. Boats then departed back along the canal from Wednesday 22nd to Saturday 25th, taking in a barbeque at Mespil Road Bridge/Lock 4 on Thursday 23rd and a final meet up in the Lower Deck pub on Friday 24th May.

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FESTA: Taking place on 11th and 12th May, FESTA, an “artistic nuisance” created by Kathryn Maguire, artist in residence at Common Ground’s Studio 468, celebrated the history of labour and leisure in Rialto and other areas through which the Grand Canal flows.

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Artworks produced by Kathryn included “US Again”, a floating mirrored shed, and “The Exchange”, a floating garden created by St. Andrew’s Community Centre’s Gardening Group using Dolphin’s Barn brick. There were also a series of talks – the FESTA Dialogues – on a barge at Suir Bridge, a nature trail and boat rides on Dubhlinn courtesy of IWAI. FESTA culminated on Sunday 12th in Grand Canal Dock where hundreds of origami boats, made by young people from the local communities and members of the boating community, were launched around the floating artworks, all accompanied by jazz musician Nick Roth’s “Water Project”

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Dublin Docklands Summer Festival: A weekend of celebration on Grand Canal Dock took place on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th May with entertainment and competitions of all kinds on water and on land, organised by Waterways Ireland and Docklands Business Forum, in association with Dublin City Council.

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There were food markets, funfairs, live music from bands and djs, children’s creative workshops, canal barge tours, a race night at Shelbourne Stadium, ‘Come try it (kayaking and stand up paddle boarding) sessions’ with Surfdock, skateboard, urban sports and creative  workshops with Kings of Concrete, art exhibitions, wakeboard, dragon boat and street performance displays, an IUSRU raft race, the Gibson Hotel’s charity (rubber) duck race, a flyover by the Coast Guard helicopter, Maldron Hotel’s golf water challenge and a screening of Disney’s the Lion King on a floating cinema.


Photographs courtesy and copyright of Inland Waterways Association of Ireland, Surfdock, Robert Harte, Dublin Docklands Festival, Kings of Concrete, Waterways Ireland and Dublin City Council.

For further information and more photos please see:

Inchicore Environmental Group – June Clean Up Photos

Inchicore Environmental Group is one of the groups who voluntarily clean up a stretch of the Grand Canal on a monthly basis. They clean the stretch between Suir Road Bridge and Blackhorse Avenue Bridge, and hope on each of their cleanups to find one small blackspot to focus on in addition to the usual run. This would be an area of high visibility and would give people a lift as they see it. On the last clean-up which took place on June 29th,  there were weeds cleared near the workmans club and the recycling centre at Grattan Place.

The next clean up is due to take place on July 17th, for further information please contact

Canal Lock during and after clean up..

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Rubbish generated by the clean up



And a well earned cuppa and some buns afterwards


For information on this and other clean up groups please see our earlier article: Canal Clean Ups – How to get involved…

Lord Mayor’s Canal Volunteer Appreciation Night


On May 29th, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Naoise Ó’Muirí held an appreciation night in the Mansion House for some seventy or eighty volunteers and enthusiasts involved with both the Royal and Grand Canals.




Members of the Grand Canal Sub Committee pictured with the Lord Mayor.

This night was organised by Mick Kinihan of the Inland Waterways of Ireland, who sits on both the Grand Canal Sub Committee and the Royal Canal Sub Committee. It was a great night for all and it is hoped that it will become an annual event.


The Lord Mayor welcomed and thanked all the volunteers and enthusiasts for their efforts in maintaining and promoting both of these beautiful amenities and gave a lovely speech about the Canals, the role of Lord Mayor and a history of the Mansion House, which was followed by a speech from Breffnie O’Kelly, founder member of The Friends of the Grand Canal Clean Up Group, and member of the Grand Canal Sub Committee. Breffnie has kindly allowed us to transcribe her speech below. Before and after the official reception, there was a lot of mingling and networking between all the attendees, and afterwards the Lord Mayor posed for photographs with practically every one there.

“I’m honoured to represent the Grand Canal Subcommittee this evening to say our thanks to you Naoise O Muiri,  Lord Mayor of Dublin.

Lord Mayor, I just looked up your website  to get a flavour of “a day in your life”…… and after a few minutes on your face book page I felt exhausted !!!! On Tuesday of this week you hosted the Olympic Medallists. Last night it was a networking group of business people in Raheny and Clontarf. This evening it’s us…..the Royal and Grand Canal working groups, volunteers and enthusiasts. In the meanwhile, you have your “day job” two young daughters and a nearly three month old baby. You are a busy man, the first citizen of Dublin and your invitation this evening means a lot to us.

The purpose of this evening I think is to celebrate our shared interests.  

This evening, for one night only, the eighteenth century  Royal and Grand Canals flow into the  19th century Mansion House while we 21st century people enjoy the whole connection. Because it is all about connection and community.

Each of us in the room this evening is connected by the fact that we have all identified something we love and have “gone for it” in some way! In one way or another each one of us has  said “Yes,  I like this canal, I’d like to get more connected with it ….I’ll clean it, I’ll put a boat on it, I’ll learn about it, I’ll campaign for it”….and in doing this, we have learnt more about the canals and more about how good it feels when we take action and see where that action then takes us.

In my case I’d like to share with you my own experience of taking initiative and getting something very simple going.

I walked out my front door one Saturday morning six years ago with 8 litter pickers and 30 bags and headed for Leeson St. bridge.  I was feeling  excited and a bit shy too.  I had emailed everyone who signed an attendance sheet at a public meeting about the Grand Canal, organised by Chris Andrews.  I had emailed them to see if they’d like to join me to help Clean The Grand Canal and I was wondering if anyone was going to show up.

Six years on, that walk out my front door has taken me on a much bigger journey than I had planned. I’ve met great new friends and neighbours…. I feel I now know nearly half the people on Baggot St from our monthly Grand Canal Clean Ups. I have found out just how willing people and businesses are to help.  Starbucks on Mespil Rd advertise our Clean ups and carry us up delicious coffee and bickies every month.

I’ve discovered a world of fellow canal enthusiasts, championed in my neck of the woods by the human whirlwind of kindness and positivity that is Mick Kinahan of the Irish Inland Waterways Association.

I’ve been amazed at the democratic, informed  and genuinely committed  engagement I’ve encountered from Dublin City Council in the persons of  Bruce Phillips, Sheila Dunne, Martin McDonagh, Derek Farrell and Sid Daly. 

Derek Higgins from Waterways Ireland has proved to be three men in one…with a productivity rate that astounds.

Sam Field Corbett has been a fun and “can do” accomplice in every way.

I feel like something has been created which is more than the sum of it’s parts.  People from very different worlds,  who woudn’t otherwise know each other are now meeting, planning, creating and working together for a common goal.   Through our concern with the beautiful watery world of the canals, we have become closer to this natural world within the city, but we have also become more widely and deeply connected to each other.  And I’m very thankful for that.”

Canal Clean Ups – How to get involved

Hi all,

There are a number of voluntary groups who go out of their way in sunshine or in rain to keep the canal looking beautiful.  If you would like to get involved, here’s how…


Who: Friends of the Grand Canal

When: First Saturday of every  month

Where: Meet at 10am at Leeson Street Bridge, City Side

Clean: Between Mount Street Bridge and Harold’s Cross (depending volunteer numbers)



Who: Dolphin’s Barn Grand Canal Cleanup Group

When: Second Sunday of every month

Where; Meet at 1pm at  Dolphin’s Barn Bridge, Parnell Road Side

Clean: Between Sally’s Bridge and Herberton Bridge

Contact:  0871736590


Who: Rialto Environment Group

When: Last Saturday of every month

Where: Meet at 11am at Herberton Bridge

Clean: Between Herberton Bridge and Suir Road Bridge



Who: Inchicore Environmental Group

When: Last Saturday of every month

Where: Meet at 11am at Bulfin Estate Residents Association Hall

Clean: From Suir Road Bridge to Blackhorse Bridge



If you know of any other groups who are active along the Canal, or if you would like to start up a group in your area, please contact for further information

Ringsend Summer Gathering

The first Ringsend Summer Gathering is set to take place on the weekend of 14th – 16th June 2013.

It is a three day festival organised by local groups and voluntary bodies in the Ringsend area. Running as part of The Gathering 2013, the festival is coordinated by the Ringsend Community Services Forum and is a coming together of local groups who wanted to do something for The Gathering that our local community can be proud of.

Over the three days there will be many events, such as boat races and a regatta,  family picnics and a treasure hunt, local musicians, a comedy night, a BBQ and a ceilí night.

For a full programme of events and to find out more information, log on to

Docklands Senior Providers Annual Book Sale



The 4th Annual Docklands Book Sale will take place on June 11th through to June 13th in the National College of Ireland (NCI).

All books will be sold for 1 euro and there will be a selection from thousands of books.  The proceeds from the sale will be distributed to partnering agencies for older people who provide critical services for older people living in the Docklands area (Crosscare’s Care Local, Docklands Senior Forum, Lourdes Day Care Centre, NASCADH CDP and Ringsend Community Centre). 

Dublin City Council the DDDA and the HSE support the event.

 All help at the booksale will be gratefully accepted so if you would like to donate books or volunteer your time at the book sale please contact Olive at 8183328.


What: Book Sale


Where: National College of Ireland (IFSC Campus)

May 2013 on the Grand Canal – IWAI Dublin Rally, FESTA 2013 and Dublin Docklands Summer Festival

The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland’s 29th Dublin Rally takes place over the month of May, beginning on the Royal Canal over the May bank holiday weekend.

The Grand Canal then becomes involved from the 10th of May when boats will be inbound towards Grand Canal Dock from the 10th to 12th. The Liffey Cruise takes place over the weekend of 18/19th May and boats will depart along the Grand Canal from 21st to 25th May.

For a full programme of events please follow this link

The Rally will incorporate FESTA 2013 and the Dublin Docklands Festival

FESTA 2013    10th to 12th May 2013

Visual artist Kathryn Maguire, the current studio 468 artist developed FESTA over the last eight months.  FESTA is an “artistic nuisance” created by visual artist Kathryn Maguire to celebrate the impact and influence the Grand Canal has had on labour and leisure in Rialto and other areas through which it flows. Kathryn has produced floating artworks US’ Again (a floating mirrored shed) and The Exchange (a floating vegetable garden created by the men’s Gardening Group based in St Andrew’s Community Centre using the iconic Dolphin’s Barn bricks). 

FESTA is a central part of Inland Waterway’s Dublin Rally on the Grand Canal on May 11th and 12th 2013. FESTA also includes a series of events including public talks – the Festa Dialogues – on a barge docked at Suir Bridge on Saturday May 11 from 2pm, featuring experts in the field of ecology, the built environment and the Grand Canal. Free ticketed boat rides and a nature trail will also take place. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

FESTA culminates on Sunday May 12 at 4pm with a spectacle in Grand Canal Dock, when hundreds of origami boats, made by young people from the Canal Communities, will be launched around the floating artworks. Children (aged 10+) are invited to a free workshop at 2.30pm at the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre in Grand Canal Dock to make the final origami boats to be included in this spectacular launch, all accompanied by jazz musician Nick Roth’s ‘Water Project’.

For more information & to register for FESTA dialogues and the nature trail please email:

Dublin Dockland’s Summer Festival. 17th to 19th May 2013

A celebration on Grand Canal Dock with a weekend of entertainment and competitions on both the water and the land. With everything from open air DJ’s, Come Try it Sessions, Wake Boarding demonstrations to international food markets, the Docklands Summer Festival promises an entertaining and fun filled weekend for all.

New Waterways Ireland Website launched by Minister Deenihan

Waterways Ireland’s new website has been launched by Minister Deenihan and Martin Cullen, Director SMS&P, Microsoft Ireland. The launch took place in the heart of Dublin’s Digital Docks at the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre on Grand Canal Basin on Thursday 18th April 2013.

The new website aims to actively recruit people into recreational waterside activity through an entire activity section, events section and by enabling related business and event organisers to load their information onto the site so that it can be more effectively promoted and shared with the public.

Minister Deenihan at the launch confirmed his support stating “Waterways Ireland has developed a user friendly and attractive website as part of its marketing plan and is engaging meaningfully with business and the community to maximise the opportunities available. Increasing recreational use of our waterways has a social, health and economic benefit and this website is a key tool to assist Waterways Ireland in achieving it.”

The Waterways Ireland website is cutting edge in its systems and design using Sharepoint 2013 to optimise viewing experiences across different mobile platforms (from phones to tablets). The new functionality also allows users to share and collaborate with others. The new Fast Search enables a search-driven result page of all site content which really assist consumers in finding what they need quickly.  Additionally from a Waterways Ireland perspective it is a comprehensive, easily-managed and integrated platform able to meet the business need.

Additionally Waterways Ireland has grasped the potential of social media and begun the process of meeting the needs of the recreational waterway users, local communities and tourists through Facebook and Twitter, to name a few.

Martin Cullen, Director, SMS&P Microsoft Ireland commented on the process “We’re delighted to see SharePoint 2013 enable Waterways Ireland connect with the information and people that matter most to them through social, video, Skype and Yammer. With the enterprise social capabilities built right in to Sharepoint, Waterways Ireland and waterway enthusiasts will be able to quickly access and share information share all the information and great experiences Waterways Ireland has to offer through its new website.”

Head of Marketing, Waterways Ireland Éanna Rowe assured“Waterways Irelands aims to attract increasing numbers of people to our canals, rivers and lakes, because of the considerable economic and social impact on communities, villages and towns all across this island. In many instances the waterways are the only economic driver and a backbone of the community. The tactics used by Waterways Ireland through the new website and other marketing tools are all aimed at maximising the opportunities available for business and community.

Peter McVerry Trust – Long Walk Home

The Peter McVerry Trust supports young homeless people to break the cycle of homelessness and move towards independent living through the provision of a continium of core services. To find out more about the organisation, please visit their website:

This year is the 30th anniversary of Peter McVerry Trust.  We are running our 2nd Long Walk Home – Grand Canal Challenge – 80km walk  between Shannon Harbour and Dublin over the May Bank holiday to raise vital funds towards our work with young homeless people. Walking along grass verges and gravel footpaths you will pass beautiful stone bridges, quaint lock keepers’ cottages, historic buildings and pretty villages. You will walk across the Bog of Allen, glimpsing distant views of the Slieve Bloom mountains and admire the canal boats at Lowtown and Sallins. All in aid of Peter McVerry Trust’s work with homeless youths.

To find out more, or to download a brochure and/or application form, please follow this link: