​Learn all about our Dublin Canals 

The Dublin Canals are an incredibly important wildlife and biodiversity corridor in Dublin. Both the Grand and the Royal canals as well as Spencer and Grand Canal Dock represent some of Dublin's largest recreation and wildlife spaces. Whether it's engineering, heritage, or wildlife, from mathematics discoveries the Dublin canals have a wealth of stories to tell and things to teach. 

Visit Waterways Ireland Learning Zone and check out some of the resources and activities to help you explore and discover the Dublin Canals.

​Canal Calculations 

Not just an idyllic waterway, the Royal Canal has also been the site of a notable 'eureka!' moment. On the 16th October 1843, while walking along the canal with his wife, mathematician and astronomer Sir William Rowan Hamilton was struck by a flash of genius. During his wander, he suddenly made a breakthrough in the formula for quaternions he had been struggling with. In a panic to make note of it, he inscribed the formula with a penknife right where he was, on Broombridge near Cabra!

The original inscription, i2 = j2=k2=ijk=-1, is long gone but a plaque commemorating the discovery was unveiled in 1958 by then-Taoiseach and one-time student of quaternions, Éamon de Valera.

Every October 16th, The Hamilton Walk re-traces the great man's steps from Dunsink Observatory in Castleknock to Broombridge, honouring this remarkable discovery by the Royal Canal.

Click here to meet Aisling who will tell us all about this eureka moment! 

You can also click here to learn how to make your own Archimedes Screw. Archimedes was an ancient mathematician and engineer who invented this device to pump water up hill. 

​Foraging along the Grand Canal 

Discover wildness in the heart of Dublin City along the Grand Canal.  Take a virtual stroll along the Grand Canal with us and see what you can discover!

Geraldine, from Wicklow Wild Foods, takes us on a virtual foraging tour of one of Dublin’s most important wildlife corridors, seeing all the wild food around us, if you just know where to look!

Follow the link below for this virtual foraging video which was produced on a smartphone as a DIY documentary and we encourage everyone at Cruinniú na nÓg to go out and try and record the wildlife of the Waterways of Ireland! 

Please follow these links to find out more information on the wonderful wildlife of the Dublin Canals and Waterways Ireland’s ecological surveys

Remember to only forage with a parent or guardian in a place that is clean and safe. Always wash and clean wild food and make sure you know what you are eating before you forage. 

You can discover the diversity of your own local waterway by using some of our great Learning Zone resources here

Click here for the full video. 

​Learn about our Sea Locks 

Stephen Brierley, a third generation Lock Keeper on the Grand Canal, as he goes about his duties bringing boats along the Circular Line to Grand Canal Dock.  Stephen is a true ambassador for Waterways Ireland and the canals, with a passion, enthusiasm and dedication that makes a trip on our waterways so memorable for boaters and onlookers. 

You can find out more about how Lock Gates operate throughout our waterways by clicking on this link

Click here for the full video with Stephen.