The Barrow. Our River Your Journey

River Barrow Scenery

Barrow Navigation Timeline

Chronological History of the Barrow Line of the Grand Canal

1751 Establishment of Commissioners of Inland Navigation.

1756 Work commenced on the Grand Canal Scheme.

1763 Thomas Omer, engineer, reported three locks and 10 miles of canal dug from Clondalkin westward.

1765 Dublin Corporation took over the works.

1772 The Company of the Undertakers of the Grand Canal were incorporated.

1785 Following the completion of city sections, and subsequent extensions bringing the Grand Canal as far as Robertstown, the Barrow Line from Robertstown to Monasterevin was completed.

1791 Barrow Line to Athy completed, thus linking the Grand

Canal to the Barrow Navigation.

Chronological History of the Barrow Navigation

1537 An act of parliament was passed referring to the River

Barrow and ‘other waters in the county of Kilkenny’. Under this act, it became illegal to build a weir across the river to raise water levels for fishing or milling without putting a ‘King’s Gap’ or flash-lock into the weir to allow boats to pass.

1703 Committee of Irish House of Commons appointed to bring in a bill to make the River Barrow navigable.

1709 Reported by Colonel Smithwick and others that the River Barrow could be made navigable from Athy to the sea for £3,000.

1715 2 George I, c 12 (Ir) authorised work to be carried out to make many navigations in Ireland including the River Barrow, and set up local commissioners for the purpose.

1751 25 George II, c 10 (Ir) established Commissioners of Inland Navigation.

1759 Burgesses of Carlow and the adjoining counties sought £2,000 from the commissioners to remove obstructions in the River Barrow from Monasterevin to the sea.

1761 Work commenced at Carriglead and continued through the 1760s and 1770s between St. Mullins and Graiguenamanagh.

1783 Work completed upstream to Clashganna.

1790 Barrow Navigation Company incorporated and took over the completed works. Total tonnage carried 16,000 tons.

1800 Trackway from St. Mullins to Athy completed, 10 lateral canals and locks finished and 4 of the original locks were enlarged to accommodate boats of up to 80 tons. Total tonnage carried 19,828 tons.

1803 Contract agreed with the Directors General of Inland Navigation to complete the navigation to a depth of 5 ft and to reduce tolls in return for an additional grant.

1812 Estimated that over £220,000 had been spent on the navigation, more than half of which had come from public funds. The navigation had been completed to Athy but the depths in the river were still very unsatisfactory.

1830 Navigation still reported to be very unsatisfactory. Total tonnage carried 58,100 tons.

1834 New lateral canal and lock constructed at Clogrennan.

1845 Tonnage rose to 88,000 tons, evenly divided between upriver and downriver traffic. Half of the total was shipments of corn, meal, malt and flour.

1871 Dividend of 6% paid to shareholders.

1894 57 & 58 Victoria, c 26 transferred the entire undertaking of the Barrow Navigation Company to the Grand Canal Company for £32,500.

1922 Canals and Inland Waterways Commission reported frequent delays caused by defects in the navigation and low water levels in summer.

1935 Upper Barrow drainage scheme increased silting in the lateral canals and led to an increase in currents in winter. £18,000 compensation paid to Grand Canal Company.

1950 Navigation transferred to Córas Iompair Éireann (CIE).

1959 Commercial trade withdrawn by CIE.

1986 Navigation transferred to The Office of Public Works (OPW).

1996 The inland waterways under the control of the OPW were transferred to the Waterways Service of the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, part of Dúchas The Heritage Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht & the Islands.

1999 Waterways Ireland was established as one of the six North/South Implementation Bodies under the British Irish Agreement and has responsibility for the management, maintenance, development and restoration of inland navigable waterways principally for recreational purposes.