The Royal Canal – Programme Five

Manchan Magan 2

'Manchán Magan explores the Royal Canal'

Novelist, broadcaster and travel writer Manchán Magan journeyed on the Royal Canal. He is a very experienced traveller and his television travelogues have taken him to every corner of the globe.

On this trip he travelled west from Mullingar in the midlands along the canal’s towpath. Mullingar is at the summit level, the highest point of the Royal Canal at 95m above the River Liffey. From here 25 locks descend east to Dublin and 21 locks descend west to the Shannon. Manchán walked and cycled to where the Royal Canal joins the River Shannon. The organisation that manages all inland waterways on the island of Ireland is Waterways Ireland which was set up under the Belfast Agreement.

In olden times, the Royal Canal was a hive of industrial activity with barges loaded with goods drawn by horses on the towpath. Now, it has been restored and is a magnet for walkers and cyclists. Its calm waters are ideal for pleasure boating and canoeing and is a major attraction for bird watching and nature enthusiasts.

Each lock and harbour tells another chapter of the story of the canal and his journey took him into Co. Longford through Abbeyshrule and Killashee. On his way into Abbeyshrule, Manchán crossed the River Inny Valley on the Whitworth aqueduct, one of the Royal Canal’s most impressive structures. Near the end of his journey Manchán reached the village of Cloondara and its centrepiece Richmond Harbour, which was completed in 1817.

This is the final stretch of the Royal Canal’s journey from Dublin’s Spencer Dock to the River Shannon. All of its 145km of construction, with its 13 harbours and 46 locks ends here.

You can visit the featured trail, Royal Canal Way, to find out more.

 

Other suggested trails in the region:

1. Mullaghmeen White Walk

2. Westmeath Way

3. Commons North Woodlands Walk

4. Drewstown Woods Girley Bog Loop

 

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