Royal Canal 2


Dublin native Annalise Murphy captured the hearts of Irish audiences during the 2016 Rio Olympics when she realised her dream in the Women’s Laser Radial sailing competition by winning a silver medal for Ireland. Annalise will be accompanied by her mother, Cathy McAleavey an Olympian who competed in the 1998 Seoul Olympics as a sailor. They will walk alongside the Royal Canal starting at Spencer Dock, exploring some of the twelve locks, by foot and navigating the last section by boat. The Royal Canal fondly known as the green and silver line, started life in the 1880’s as a major cargo and passenger corridor from Dublin to the River Shannon. With the onset of trains and roads it went into decline but since the 1990’s it was restored into an enchanting 145km inland waterway.


Annalise Murphy & Cathy McAleavey

Cathy and Annalise start this first 3km trail at Spencer Dock a sea lock, on the north bank of the Liffey. They meet John McKeon who has overseen the sympathetic restoration of the original canal. After the first lock the canal heads west along an urban route towards Croke Park stadium and the skyline of the GAA’s headquarters, presenting a perfect bird’s eye view of the Royal Canal. At Cross Guns Bridge they watch canoe polo which is played every Sunday. The second lock is home to the memorial of a renowned character who served time in the local Mountjoy prison. His name was Brendan Behan and the Canal historian Peter Clark has the story. The walkers take a detour into Blessington Park which covers over the original link for the Royal Canal to the River Liffey and they meet a musician Marion McEvoy on their way.

Easy. The route is a national way marked trail.

Total distance of the Royal Canal is 145km this trail is approx 15km long and can be completed by foot, bike or on the canal.

Estimated time
This can be broken into different lengths, it is completed here by path and by canoe.

Terrain underfoot
Footpath and water.

Suitable for
Everyone depending on length and activity chosen.

Parking in Dublin is difficult, best to get to Spencer Dock, by bus Dart or Luas.