Naas Canal Festival offers plenty for boating fans

30 years since the canal reopened

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Naas Canal Festival offers plenty for boating fans

Naas canal harbour

The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) Kildare will return again to Naas Harbour to celebrate the Naas Canal Festival which runs from Friday October 27 to Monday October 30.

This year’s Festival is a very special event as 2017 marks 30 years since the Naas Line of the Grand Canal was re-opened to boat traffic.

In the early 1980s, a fledgling IWAI Kildare, supported by IWAI Dublin, highlighted the potential for tourism development of the Grand Canal in Naas. Thirty years on and a large fleet of boats is expected to attend the Festival in Naas Harbour.

On Friday 27 and Saturday 28, the travelling boats will be assisted through the locks by staff from Waterways Ireland, IWAI Kildare volunteers and members of the 23rd Kildare-Sallins scouts.

“If you have never seen a lock being used or you have never seen a boat cruise the canal, this October weekend will not disappoint,” said the IWAI.

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“As well as the flotilla of vessels old and new, there will be a number of public events in the lead up to and during the festival. A Waterways Exhibition will run in Naas Library from Monday October 23 to Friday 27 featuring material from IWAI, the Heritage Boat Association and Waterways Ireland.”

There will be a variety of activities on Sunday afternoon, October 29, from 1pm to 5pm, including music from The Water Gypsies, Waterways Information Talks, an Exhibition by Sean Curran Art, boat trips on the canal by bargetrip.ie, the launch of a new children’s book by author Emma-Jane Leeson who will host readings from her book on a barge. Of course, the boats themselves will also be on display and the owners will be on hand waiting to answer questions or even give you a tour. In the spirit of the founders of the IWAI, who established the Association in 1954, IWAI Kildare will use the Naas Canal Festival to continue to showcase the leisure potential and historical significance of the Grand Canal in this area.

“Whether your passion involves travelling through locks by boat, paddling a canoe, walking or cycling for health, well-being and enjoyment, or waiting patiently for a bite on your fishing line, IWAI Kildare invites you to immerse yourself in the amazing engineering achievement that is the Grand Canal,” it said. For more info log on to www.iwai.ie/kildare.