IH News 2020

Brian J Goggin RIP

It is with great upset that I post to record the passing of one of Ireland’s greats in the area of industrial heritage research – Brian J Goggin, who has passed away due to cancer.

I first encountered Brian in his role as editor of the IWAI magazine, in which capacity, I had sent a photo to him for consideration for publication. This was of frogs swimming in frogspawn on the Royal Canal (reproduced below). I am happy to state that Brian published it.

Frogs in spawn, Royal Canal, Longford.
Frogs in Spawn, Royal Canal, Longford, 17 March 2004. Copyright Ewan Duffy

As time went by and the prospect of the Ulster Canal being “restored” reared its ugly head, I became what I thought was a lone voice in the wilderness in opposing such restoration. It was to my great (and pleasant surprise) that I found a bedfellow in opposing this waste of taxpayers’ money in Brian – a former President of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (and boat owner) no less!

Initially, I was unaware of Brian’s views about the Ulster Canal and, upon seeing him at the back of an IHAI AGM for the first time, I ignored him, thinking that he had been brought on board to bolster the IHAI stance of tacitly supporting restoration of the Ulster Canal.

Brian, being of a gregarious nature, unlike me, approached me at, I believe, the IHAI AGM in Belmont Mill in 2009 to compliment me on my website (an earlier version of this one) and from there, a friendship was formed. Over the years, Brian and I have exchanged emails back and forth about waterways and IH matters with many snippets of information passing between us (although, if I am to be honest, it was more information from Brian to me than vice versa).

Included in this collaboration was Brian generously offering me the chance to include my research into the bridges of the Royal Canal between the sea lock and Phibsborough in Dublin in a book that he was working on. This was subsequently published by the Railway and Canal Historical Society in 2014 as “The Royal Under the Railway: Ireland’s Royal Canal 1830 – 1899” – an 8 chapter work documenting previously unpublished historical matters about the Royal Canal (Chapter 7 was my contribution).

Like myself, Brian has maintained a website ( on which he has published his research (into the inland waterways and navigations of Ireland), the maintenance of which I hope can be secured and the information thereon – if not the site itself – transferred to another host, in order that it can be preserved for future use by others.

Ireland has lost the most significant researcher into the history of its inland waterways and navigations and I wish to extend my deepest condolences to his wife Anne and their children on their loss.

Ewan Duffy

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