Richmond Harbour – Cloondara

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Richmond Harbour

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Richmond Harbour 53.731222, -7.905449

Along this section, the canal is hemmed in by dense hedgerows as far as Crossover Bridge, beyond which it enters more open country as it approaches the junction with the non-navigable Longford Branch and continues on to the 43rd Lock, near Killashee village. Shortly after the 44th Lock the canal enters Begnagh Bog. Beside the original Begnagh Bridge is a lifting bridge carrying the Killashee to Cloondara road across the canal.  The bridge opens automatically.

Approximately 1.5 km beyond Begnagh Bridge the Bord na Móna light-railway crosses the canal via another lifting bridge (non-automatic) which is normally kept in the open position. The second Bord na Móna bridge alongside is a high-level machinery crossing. After passing through the 45th Lock at Rinnmount the canal shortly enters the terminus at Richmond Harbour.

The 46th Lock, at the far end of the harbour, leads into the Camlin River which connects with the River Shannon in Lough Forbes or, by passing down a short length of canal and through the old Shannon Navigation Lock, below the weir at Tarmonbarry.

History

The canal was completed to Richmond Harbour in 1817 and in the following year the whole concern was handed over to the newly constituted New Royal Canal Company with a government appointed Board of Control to keep an eye on its affairs. However, the expected trade from the north Shannon did not materialise even after the completion of the Lough Allen Canal in 1821. The total cost of the canal from Dublin had been about €1.5 million and it had taken nearly thirty years to complete.

In the 1830s the distillery at Cloondara was producing some 70,000 gallons of whiskey a year and employing about 70 people; it subsequently became a cornmill and was recently converted into apartments. There are some interesting grave slabs in the graveyard beside the church in Cloondara. This was the site of an early monastery and hospice.

Bus Eireann 141741 (Route 22) Info. to Dublin from Tarmonbarry (approx. 20min walk (1.7km) via N5)