The Royal Canal

The Royal Canal near Kenagh, County Longford.

History & Info
The Royal Canal was built in 1789 and first opened in 1817. It was closed in 1961 due to development in rail and road transportation. After many years of campaigning by local community groups, the historic route has  now been restored to its former glory and is navigable from Spencer Dock in Dublin to Richmond Harbour in Clondra, County Longford. It was officially re-opened as a navigation route on September 30th, 2010 at Richmond Harbour in Clondra. The Canal carves its way from Spencer Dock in Dublin to Richmond Harbour in Clondra, County Longford, the point where the Royal Canal meets the River Shannon. The re-opening of this canal system provides visitors to the county of Longford with ever more varied opportunities for leisure activities on the Inland Waterways of Ireland.


Cruising The Royal Canal is an entirely wonderful experience and a perfect introduction to the laid back way of life that is synonymous with rural Ireland and its people. Draped in beauty, peace and tranquillity, the heart of the Irish countryside can be explored at ones leisure. Clondra, with its magnificent cut stone harbour is a particularly attractive village, with local pubs providing traditional Irish music, excellent food and drink, and Failte Ireland registered accommodation. Boats can be hired to cruise the canal on a weekly /forthnightly basis by contacting the boat company ‘locaboat’ which is based at Clondra in Co Longford.


The Royal Canal Way is a 90 mile long publicly owned right of way which crosses through counties Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Westmeath before entering County Longford. It is a unique walkway that allows the visitor to meander at their own pace through County Longford from Abbeyshrule to Ballymahon, kenagh, Killashee, and on to Clondra village. The walker has the choice of branching off into Longford town or continuing on to Clondra, whichever they prefer. Much of the canal paths close to the villages have been enhanced in recent years. Being a canal bank walk, the gradient is never steep, making it an ideal introduction to long distance walking. Walking the Royal Canal Way is possible either as a long distance walk or as a series of short walks, stopping off in the little towns and villages along route.


An interesting account of travel along the route of the Royal Canal is given here by James Howard from Ardagh, County Longford

Further information on County Longford can be found on the ‘Explore Longford’ App available to download for both Android and Apple Devices:

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County Longford Tourism Office Market Square, Longford, Ireland    Phone: +353 (0)43 33 42577 +353 (0)85 8888876    Email: