Photo: Aishling Conway
The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) Kildare will return again to Naas Harbour to celebrate the Naas Canal Festival which runs from Friday October 27th to Monday October 30th.
This year’s Festival is a very special event as 2017 marks 30 years since the Naas Line of the Grand Canal was re-opened to boat traffic.
In the early 1980s, a fledgling IWAI Kildare, supported by IWAI Dublin, highlighted the potential for tourism development of the Grand Canal in Naas. 30 years on and a large fleet of boats is expected to attend the Festival in Naas Harbour.
On Friday 27th and Saturday 28th the travelling boats will be assisted through the locks by staff from Waterways Ireland, IWAI Kildare volunteers and members of the 23rd Kildare – Sallins – scouts, who are eager to put their lock operation training into practice.
If you have never seen a lock being used or you have never seen a boat cruise the canal, this October weekend will not disappoint.
As well as the flotilla of vessels old and new, there will be a number of public events in the lead up to and during the Festival.
A Waterways Exhibition will run in Naas Library from Monday October 23rd to Friday 27th featuring material from IWAI, the Heritage Boat Association and Waterways Ireland.
There will be a variety of activities taking place on Sunday afternoon, October 29th, from 1pm to 5pm, including music from The Water Gypsies, Waterways Information Talks, an Exhibition by Sean Curran Art, boat trips on the canal by bargetrip.ie, the launch of a new children’s book by author Emma-Jane Leeson who will host readings from her book on a Barge.
Of course, the boats themselves will also be on display and the boat owners will be on hand waiting to answer your questions or even give you a tour; don’t be shy about approaching them.
In the spirit of the founders of the IWAI, who established the Association in 1954 to campaign against the installation of fixed-span bridges across the River Shannon, IWAI Kildare will use the Naas Canal Festival to continue to showcase the leisure potential and historical significance of the Grand Canal in this area.
The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) is a voluntary body representing over two thousand enthusiasts, with 23 branches across the island of Ireland.
The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) is an energetic, fun, voluntary organisation with members from all corners of the Island of Ireland, all sharing a keen and passionate enthusiasm for the waterways of Ireland.
The IWAI advocates the navigation, use, maintenance, protection, restoration and improvement of the inland waterways of Ireland. It was formed in 1954 to promote the development, use and maintenance of Ireland's navigable rivers and canals.
IWAI Kildare was established in 1984. In the early years IWAI Kildare was assisted by IWAI Dublin to restore and enable the re-opening to navigation of the Naas Line of the Grand Canal main line. Currently, IWAI Kildare aims to promote the use of the waterways of Co. Kildare by running rallies throughout the county.
IWAI Kildare is actively campaigning to re-open the Corbally Line of the Grand Canal from Naas Harbour to Corbally Harbour. This stretch of waterway is in good condition but passage for boats is blocked by a number of culverted crossings, including the road from Naas to Newhall which crosses the canal near Jigginstown.
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