As the canals of Ireland gradually open up, we’re getting to see a side of the country that was hidden for most of the twentieth century.
In the 1970s a campaign was fought and won to stop the Grand Canal from being paved over and turned into a road and as a result a new view of our heritage began to come about. It took time but we began to see the bigger canals being opened up to boats, bikes and walkers and also to wildlife.
Recently, local authorities have seen the value in clearing the long forgotten smaller canals that link rivers and lakes or bypass shallows; there are a few like this along the Shannon. Many if these were used to carry turf, or in the case of the Lough Allen Canal, coal from the Arigna Mine.
Now these little canals are quiet havens for a stroll or a hike and are often mapped as loops of varying lengths. Because they flow so slowly wildlife has happily taken up residence. Kingfishers, otters and other
This year The Leitrim Canal Run/Walk sees it’s fifth outing and you can join up here. As usual it’s in support of the North West Hospice.
We’ll be posting some more about canal walks around Ireland during the spring. There are some lovely walks around Limerick in particular that we’ll take a look at.