The Royal under the Railway – Ireland’s Royal Canal 1830-1899

£ 10.00


Softback ISBN 978 0 901461 61 2    h = 234mm, w = 156mm, 72 pages

22 illustrations (4 in colour)




A 120-foot-long steam-powered narrow boat, canal boats with onboard stabling, a floating bridge and a fleet of iron cattle-carrying boats with doors in their sides were all remarkable features of Ireland’s Royal Canal.

Ireland has two canals connecting Dublin to the river Shannon. The more northerly, the Royal Canal, was much less successful than its rival, the Grand, and was bought by the Midland Great Western Railway in 1845. It remained open, with declining traffic, for another hundred years; it closed in 1961 but reopened as a recreational waterway in 2010.

This book draws on online archives and information resources to supplement existing histories of the Royal Canal. It provides new information about engineering works, canal carrying and a surprising source of finance.

Brian J. Goggin spent some years as honorary editor of the quarterly magazine of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland. He then began research on steamer traffic on the river Shannon from the 1820s to the 1850s; he thinks that the end is now in sight. He maintains an extensive ad-free website at // with historical articles and comment on current waterways issues.

Brian and his wife Anne own a converted 100-year-old former river tug-barge, the ‘Knocknagow’, which takes up their leisure time and much of their income.

“well-researched, well-illustrated and thoroughly readable book … good ‘solid’ research, but also an interesting read” — WATERWAYS WORLD

“A stalwart of the Irish waterways scene brings his expertise to bear on the Royal Canal, tracing its history and explaining the waxing and waning of its economic importance” — BOOKS IRELAND