Canal “houseboat” Go Fund Me

I have had a look at the GoFundMe page for this emoting session (no, I am not giving you the link) and I despair. From the page:

” Hi, I am raising money to help my friend get his house boat back after Waterways Ireland wrongfully took it from the canal, after the same Waterways Ireland officials told him to take his time getting his permit and congratulated him on building a great houseboat. “

First off, do you have evidence that WI “wrongly took it from the canal” or do you know more about the canal and WI regulations than they do? If so, I would be happy to give you an opportunity to explain why they are wrong with reference to the relevant regulations.

Second, whilst I obviously wasn’t there when WI officials talked to the owner, I would imagine that he fell foul of classic public sector behaviour of damning you with faint praise whilst mentally running through the list of offences you have committed. In addition, telling you did great is just a way of being polite – it in no way indicates compliance with the rules (in fact, I would suggest that if the structure was compliant, he would never have heard from WI). The claim that he should take his time getting a permit was probably a case of them realising that his permit application was only going to have one outcome – that which occurred.

“Anthony has a very good job with Kildare County Council.” But according to reports elsewhere, he can’t afford rent. If he has a very good job, why can he not pay for a room in someone’s house. A quick search on today and I found a room in a house in Naas for €470/month.

“Not only does this houseboat meet all the Canal sizing guidelines of Ireland, it also is aesthetically pleasing and adds to the surroundings.”

What are “Canal sizing guidelines”. WI have indicated that the structure is non-compliant (based on its description, I’d be worried if it was compliant). As above, please advise exactly why WI are wrong and you are right.

“… it also is aesthetically pleasing and adds to the surroundings. ” That is a matter of personal opinion. Anyway, it is also irrelevant due to it being non-compliant with WI regulations.

“This house boat followed the designs of European Houseboats (that can be seen in Dutch Canals for decades) and Waterways Ireland are now calling it “a shed on barrels”.” Whilst I don’t dispute having seen a houseboat in Amsterdam which, above water, bore similarity to this structure, this does not mean that the below water structure of such houseboats is composed of barrels. Even if it was, the Netherlands have their rules, Ireland has its rules and your friend is non-compliant.

” Anthony is now in a situation where he has to pay an extortionate release fee to get his property back”. No, he is in a position of having ignored the rules and WI are seeking reimbursement of their costs (and rightly so). The taxpayer would have to pick up the tab otherwise.


Canal “houseboat” removal – update

Ireland is doing what Ireland does best – it is emoting rather than thinking.

Per the Irish Independent, some “well meaning” friend of the houseboat shed atop floating barrels owner has started a GoFundMe to raise money to release the houseboat shed atop floating barrels from Waterways Ireland’s storage depot.

What he would do with it if released is a matter for concern. Will he put it back on the water or if he puts it on land, why did he not take that course of action in the first place? Would the fact that his employer (Kildare County Council) would not allow planning permission for such a course of action be a relevant factor?

I am reminded of the writings of my late friend, Brian J Goggin, of (I suspect that Brian would have as little sympathy for this person as I do), in pointing out that Waterways Ireland are not a housing authority and as such, to expect their assets (designated navigable waterways) to be used as such is not reasonable nor to be encouraged.

IH News 2021

Funicular Railway for Donegal

Famous as one of 5 counties in Ireland with no operational public railway, a funicular railway has been proposed for Fort Dunree in Co. Donegal.

Whilst unlikely to actually materialise, it would be the third railway in the county, after the line at Fintown and Sir Gerry Robinson’s railway.


“Houseboat” removed from Grand Canal by Waterways Ireland

A number of publications, including the Irish Times and report on the sob story of a man who, unwilling to live with his parents during the lurgy outbreak of 2020/1, decided to build a “houseboat” to live on.

In reality, what he built was a garden shed on 30 plastic barrels strapped together and covered by sheeting. From

” ‘It’s floating on 30 220L barrels. Big blue drums, but you can’t see the blue drums; I’ve built this metal sheeting around it, it just looks like the normal hull of a boat.’ “

The Irish Times article (paywall so I didn’t link) mentions that the owner of this contraption is a Kildare County Council employee, unable to afford rent.

One would have thought that an employee of the relevant authority for enforcement of building regulations and planning permission would have understood the need for compliance with regulations specific to the project in question and that the relevant authority (in this case Waterways Ireland) can determine an entity on their property to be non compliant.

There is the wider issue of the canal system being used as a location for houseboats for permanent living – something I disagree with. In this case, the individual in question has taken to thumbing his nose at the requirement for a canal boat to move frequently to a new degree – his “boat” does not possess an engine. Whilst I am not a lawyer, does this mean that it is not a boat, even if it did structurally comply with WI’s definition of that term?

I have no time for State overreach and bully boy tactics – however, on this occasion, the State (WI) has acted correctly and I support them in doing so.


The story of the spoil trains

Mid and East Antrim Council are hosting an online event on the subject of the Spoil Trains, which were used in motorway construction in Belfast.

The event, which takes place on 3 June 2021 at 19:00 is free but registration is required, which can be done here.


Victorian Dublin’s Port and the Diving Bell

H/T to Ron Cox for bringing this 3 lecture series to my attention.

To mark 150 years of the first use of the diving bell in Dublin, Dublin Port are hosting a series of 3 online lectures.

These take place on 27th May, 3rd June and 10th June at 18:30.

Registration is required – further details can be found here.


Northern Ireland’s Railway Network

The BBC have an article summarising why Northern Ireland’s railway network closed and suggestions for future line re-openings.

Normally such articles need to be commented on from an accuracy point of view, however, the BBC did the sensible thing and talked to the right people – in this case Charles Friel and Robert Gardiner – with the result that there is nothing therein that needs correction.

IH News 2021

Love letter from Irish Rail

I received a letter from my friends in Irish Rail today – well, technically they weren’t writing specifically to me – it was a generic brochure addressed to the house, advertising the commencement of the first public consultation process in connection with extending the DART to Hazelhatch and Celbridge.

As the DART is planned to pass south of Ballyfermot with no station provided, it is as useful to the people of Ballyfermot (and me) as tits on a bull.

Separately, aware of the consultation process starting, I visited Irish Rail’s website yesterday and downloaded all the documents in connection with DART South West thereon – some light reading for the weekend!


Baldrick’s drunken run in with the Grand Canal

The Irish Independent reports on a court case involving a soldier by the name of Baldrick, going on a barefoot, drunken walkabout in Rathmines. This culminated in him crossing a lock on the Grand Canal, running the risk of falling in.

After a good sob story, the normal course of events for District Court hearings in Ireland took place and he was let off with a donation to charity.


The long term future of the Howth Branch

If you were building a rapid transit network from scratch in Dublin, it is unlikely that you would build a railway or tram to Howth.

A former island, it is nowadays accessible by road and rail across a low lying isthmus but, with climate change en route, how long will this last?

In addition, there are capacity issues on the DART line north of Connolly Station and therefore, the question is, is there a better way to deal with the Howth Branch?

It would be an interesting exercise to see if a LUAS line could be routed through Drumcondra, Whitehall and Coolock to Howth Junction, with the Howth Branch then being rebuilt as a LUAS line, with appropriate elevation from Sutton east.

Such a route would improve public transport in the Whitehall/Coolock areas and removing the Howth branch from the DART network would free up capacity on the DART line for future expansion to Drogheda.