A pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

Looking out my back window, I see a rainbow ending roughly where Inchicore railway works is.


The only pot of gold there is the site value when CIE Property get to demolish it and sell the site off for housing.


Updating the site

For the last 15 months or so of this new abnormal, I have been wondering whether or not to bother continuing with this site, but have recently decided to do so.

As part of the process for relaunching the site, I am checking various sections of the site outside of WordPress prior to reloading the entire site to my webhost. This includes checking links to external sites and one of these was to the Dundalk Museum.

For the uninitiated, this is located in a former tobacco warehouse and its primary focus is industrial heritage. Upon following the link to the site, the following message is displayed:

The Dundalk Museum website has been taken down.

If you have any queries, please contact Brian Walsh –

In an era where government is throwing money (that it doesn’t have) at anything that moves and one where overseas travel is actively discouraged, the removal of a website dedicated to a tourist attraction in the Republic of Ireland is inappropriate and a false economy. calls on Louth County Council to reinstate this website immediately. I wont even blink if they claim that doing so would be to “build back better”.


Were they wearing masks?

I will declare a conflict of interest here – I don’t believe that COVID19 is anything more than a bad flu season and mask wearing is virtue signalling.

The question does arise though, in the case of those reported to Irish Rail for doing lines of cocaine off train tables, were they wearing masks?


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.


“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.


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.


The long term future of the DART line south of Sydney Parade

Just as climate change is likely to raise the sea level, putting the railway between Greystones and Wicklow underwater, the same applies to the DART line between Sydney Parade and Dun Laoghaire. In addition, the DART line between Dun Laoghaire and Glenageary is not conducive to higher speeds due to the curvature caused by the decision of the Dublin and Kingstown Railway to not get an Act of Parliament to build the Atmospheric Railway extension to Dalkey, following the route of the pre-existing Dalkey Quarry tramway instead. In addition, the section from Dun Laoghaire to Sandycove is prone to flooding.

With Irish Rail seeking to fundamentally reconstruct the railway network in Dublin through the building of DART interconnector, now would be the time to shout “Stop” and figure out how a DART network absent the line to Bray would look like.

This is not to suggest that rail based transport to the coastal region of south Dublin be abolished. It would be possible to terminate DART services at Grand Canal Dock and have a new LUAS station immediately south of this, being the northern terminus of a new LUAS line along the existing alignment as far as Sydney Parade, before moving inland to the Rock Road and hence south to Dun Laoghaire and beyond. The existing railway alignment could be taken up again at Sandycove – rebuilding the DART line south of there as a LUAS line. The abandoned railway line from Sandycove to Sydney Parade would be an excellent greenway.

At Bray, the new LUAS line could run on an elevated section above the Dargle, ultimately heading west until it met the new Rosslare Line (see previous post) at which point it would terminate with an interchange station.


The long term future of the Rosslare Line

We know Irish Rail would prefer to be shot of the railway to Rosslare, cutting it back to Gorey or even Arklow, but that is not the subject of this post.

We know that the decision to build a LUAS line along the Harcourt Street line, rather than a heavy rail operation, was a mistake as this is causing capacity issues.

We know there is the potential for climate change and with it, rising sea levels. This latter will cast significant doubt about the future of the railway between Greystones and Wicklow Town and further north, between Bray and Killiney and from Dun Laoghaire into Dublin city.

We also know that the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) has a housing shortage and one county in the GDA that has refused to play a significant part in the provision of housing close to Dublin is Wicklow.

Taking all of these together, it is time for some blue sky thinking and I would like to advocate a brand new railway from Rathnew, Co. Wicklow, to around Carrickmines, Co. Dublin.

This would allow for the abandonment of the existing coastal railway from Wicklow Town to Greystones and the rerouting of the Rosslare mainline service to a new terminus at Grand Parade in Dublin.

Whether this line would be 5’3″ (requiring gradual closing of the existing LUAS line from the southern end up as it gets regauged) or, a longer term plan of regauging the Rosslare line to 4’8½” is a matter for discussion. Longer term, the latter is probably more sensible.

The time to consider such a plan is now as with Metrolink due to terminate at Charlemont, rather than continue along the Harcourt Street line, an opportunity to plan afresh exists.

In addition, through the use of SDZs, the new line heading south from Carrickmines could be tied in with planning permission for new housing in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown and Wicklow Counties, thereby part financing the line and being an act of sensible planning.