Monthly Archives: July 2013

Information on feeding swans


Information On Feeding Swans And Other Wildfowl

The activity of feeding bread and food to swans and ducks is a long standing tradition for people and families using the canals. However, much of the foods we regularly feed to swans is actually unsuitable for them, contains little nutritional value and causes digestive and other health problems for them.  Stale and mouldy breads in particular can be damaging to water fowl by damaging the waterproofing function of their feathers, which can result in the birds contracting a form of cold, flu or even hypothermia.  Birds also need gritty grain materials to help their digestive systems function properly.

Swans normally find enough food in the wild without supplementary feeding. It is only during the winter in freezing weather that extra food can be helpful.



  • Grains: wheat, corn, barley etc. (Specially formulated wildfowl/swans feed mixes can be purchased from some pet food shops/suppliers.)
  • Fresh Raw vegetables: green lettuce, spinach, celery, chopped carrots, chopped/diced potatoes.
  • Unprocessed, sugar-free and fruit free muesli mixes
  • Grasses found along the canal bank
  • All food should be bite sized and thrown onto the water so that they can swallow water with the food.
  • Feeding swans/ducks on land:
    • encourages them onto land bringing them into harm from cars, dogs etc.,
    • Encourages pests such as rats and mice
    • Results in erosion of the bank edges.



  • Processed Breads – especially white bread, chips, cake, crackers, cookies, biscuits, processed cereals (Cheerio’s etc), popcorn, crisps.
  • Sugary, starchy or fatty foods, junk food, fast food, cooked or processed food.


For further information, please see:



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.”