Forrest Mallard - May 10, 2021

Grand Canal Way
Dublin to Offaly, Ireland
Start: Lucan Road Bridge, Lucan
End: Shannon Harbour
Distance: 73 miles (117 km)
Time: 5 days
Difficulty: Easy
Surface: Grassy Towpaths, Gravel, Asphalt Canal-Sideroads


Grand Canal Way Ireland Map

The Grand Canal Way is one of two canals (the other is the Royal Canal Way) that connect Dublin, west through the midlands, to the River Shannon, Ireland’s longest river. Work on the Grand Canal, originally conceived by the Commissioners of Inland Navigation, began in 1757 and reached Shannon in 1804. By 1837 it was carrying in excess of 100,000 people a year, and was a monumental project for its time.Typical produce seen on the canal during the nineteenth century included barrels of Guinness heading out of Dublin and tons of turf coming into it, to be burned in the city’s fireplaces. Its forty-three locks remained open to commercial traffic until the last barge passed through in 1960.

Grand Canal Way Ireland 01

The trail, which never leaves the canal’s side, takes you through landscapes that have been all but ignored by modern agriculture thanks to an Act of Union in the late eighteenth century that set limits on the scale of industrial development and SO helped the midlands remain a viable habitat for flora and fauna. Birds that have adapted to canal life include mute swans, waterhens, and mallards, while along its banks grow alder trees and willows, several species of grasses, various free-floating plants, some Canadian pondweed, and emergent vegetation such as horsetails and sedges.

Grand Canal Way Ireland 02

Towns visited on the trail include Tullamore, home to Tullamore Dew of Irish whiskey fame, and the remains of the eleventh- and twelfth-century buildings of Rahann, before going on to join the Shannon at Shannon Harbour, past the tumbled-down remnants of tower houses and castles.


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Hi! I'm Forrest Mallard

In 2005, I moved to Quito, Ecuador with $35 in my pocket and a small handful of online clients. Fifteen years and five continents later, there were moments of absolute glamour, as well as a number of brutal rough patches. But I always felt that a horrible day of travel is infinitely more preferable than a great day at the office. Oh the stories I could tell, and I will try to do that here in Tramposaurus Treks. You'll have access to the good times, the horrifying times, and a few well-deserved moments of travel glamour.

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