Boyne Canal groups are planning ferry service

 

The Boyne Canal could reopen to the public and provide a ferry service between the Battle of the Boyne site and the Brú na Boinne interpretative centre within two years, according to An Taisce and the Boyne Canal Action Group.

Along with Inland Waterways Ireland, the two groups organised a colourful open day yesterday which had events for children and adults at the start of the canal which is across the road from the Battle of the Boyne site.

They want to highlight the benefits of reopening the canal, which once transported goods such as flour, the 27km from Drogheda to Navan.

The navigation belongs to An Taisce and its spokesman Ed Wheeler said: "We are enthusiastic about having the first part of the canal reopened within two to three years.

"It is one of the earliest canals in Ireland and a piece of industrial archaeology that is better preserved in working form," said Mr Wheeler.

The first three miles of the canal have been restored by volunteers from three groups working at weekends and during holidays.

They recently received grants from Meath County Council and the Heritage Council.

Part of the navigation runs parallel to the southern side of the river Boyne but some of it is on the opposite side and other parts are in the river itself.

The grant from the Heritage Council will be used for initial designs of two bridges, which will be used to take passengers from one side of the canal across the river to the opposite side.

"We plan to licence out and franchise out the use of the canal for carrying passengers, so instead of visitors coming from Dublin by bus to Newgrange they can spend the whole day or even days in the area and go by boat from the battle site to the interpretative centre for Newgrange," he added.

The chairman of the Boyne Canal Action Group, Frank Godfrey, said: "The canal has been neglected since it went out of use in 1910 and now with the first three miles usable again we are going to start on the next section. Ultimately we want the whole canal to reopen as far as Navan with a footpath running beside it."