Mullingar – Scanlan’s Bridge

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85.50Km from Dublin

A short distance beyond Boardstown Bridge a feeder enters from the south through twin stone culverts, known locally as the “Pig’s Nostril”. There is a tendency for a silt bar to form in the channel, requiring regular dredging to maintain a navigable depth. Passing the small harbour at Piper’s Boreen, the canal continues in a great loop to the north of Mullingar before leaving to the south-west. Halfway around this loop, and just before the main harbour, the supply feeder enters from Lough Owel, 3.6 km to the north. This supply
feeder is navigable by dinghy or canoe for approximately 2 km upstream from the harbour and is also a pleasant and interesting walk. (See section 16, The Lough Owel Feeder).

The extensive harbour at Mullingar is divided in two by Scanlan’s Bridge. There is also a dry dock opening off the harbour (east side) and a boat slipway west of the bridge. Leaving town, the canal meets up with the railway again but at Ballinea Bridge they finally part company as the railway line turns south for Athlone. There is another boat slipway into this level at Ballinea Harbour (north bank).


Once again there was controversy about the line the canal should take at Mullingar. The original line was marked out and valued to run south of the town but this route involved a high embankment and so the northerly route was adopted following the contour of the land. Urban development in the Mullingar area in recent years has resulted in increased demand for potable (or drinking) water. Abstraction from Lough Owel has steadily increased – the water has a unique quality due to its small catchment area. There is also a fish farm drawing water from the feeder. The water entering the feeder is controlled at a sluice-house at the point where the feeder leaves the lake.

Waterways Ireland and Westmeath County Council are engaged in securing an alternative water supply for the canal.