Stephanie Dooley came back from Australia a few years ago, started living by the canal in Portobello, and spotted a group out cleaning one morning. That’s how she found out about the Friends of the Grand Canal and, subsequently, became one of the core group of volunteers who looks after the monthly meet-up. “It’s an activity and people love the canals, they come from up in Kimmage and beyond,” she says. “It’s a social thing, we go from young people to old. You also get a nice mix of locals and foreigners and it’s such a nice and simple thing to do, anyone can do it. Skill levels are low, but the reward factor is high.”
At the moment, they are attracting up to 40 people each month, covering the stretch from Leeson Street Bridge to Harold’s Cross Bridge. They are also part of a network of groups which cover stretches including the Royal as well as biodiversity off-shoots. “We help each other out with resources.” Whilst they don’t wade into the water, they do have long pickers and safety is a priority for all concerned.
Friends of the Grand Canal meet up on the first Saturday of every month. The next meet-up is at 10am on Saturday July 3 by Leeson Street Bridge. They provide gloves, pickers and bags. Equipment donation is by Dublin City Council and Waterways Ireland; waste collection by Dublin City Council and coffee provided by Starbucks on Leeson Street. All are welcome.
Further details and links to other canal clean-up and biodiversity groups can be found at fotgc.ie
Canal Bank S.W.A.L.K. is a summer partnership between Totally Dublin & Waterways Ireland
main photo: Killian Broderick
Canal Bank S.W.A.L.K. illustration – Gav Connell