Phase Two Of Ulster Canal Opened After €28.4m Restoration Investment

By Robert McHugh
Phase Two Of Ulster Canal Opened After €28.4m Restoration Investment

Taoiseach Simon Harris and Tánaiste Micheál Martin, alongside Waterways Ireland, have officially opened Phase Two of the Ulster Canal redevelopment project, following a €28.4 million investment.

The redevelopment project was carried out by Waterways Ireland, the authority for the inland navigable waterways, from August 2022 to June of this year, completing the restoration of 1.5 kilometres of the Ulster Canal, from Clones to Clonfad, both in Co. Monaghan.

‘Brighter Future’

“Waterways Ireland’s purpose is to be the custodian of the inland navigations and collaborate to reimagine, maintain, develop and promote them, to sustain communities, environment and heritage,” said John Mc Donagh, Waterways Ireland’s CEO.

“Through the Ulster Canal restoration, we aim to build a brighter future, where the waterway plays an inspirational role in the lives of the local community and offers exciting opportunities for local businesses.”

Hospitality Opportunities

Phase Two of the project includes a new marina in Clones and one kilometre of restored canal and towpath, with a looped walk and an amenity area, including parking, a service block, a picnic area, a performance space and bus/trailer spaces, on the route of the 180-year-old Ulster Canal.


The vision for Clones Marina, agreed following public consultation, is a marina that safely links the wider waterway and greenway network into the heart of Clones Town, providing a gateway to Co. Monaghan and the border region.

The investment saw the creation of 80 new construction jobs throughout this second phase of development, with the newly launched amenities supporting an enhanced number of tourist and hospitality opportunities.

‘Happy Juncture’

“I would like to pay tribute to everyone who has helped us reach this happy juncture – in particular, I would like to thank the Waterways Ireland project team and contractor Jons Engineering for their commitment, energy and support in delivering this impressive project in 22 months,” said Mc Donagh.

“We will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure that the next phase of the restoration of the Ulster Canal – between Clonfad and Castle Saunderson – is completed, to enable accessibility from Clones to the Erne System, and onwards, to the wider waterways network across Ireland.”

Visitor Experience Plan

Phase Three of the restoration of the Ulster Canal is expected to be completed by 2029, at a cost of €80 million, subject to funding. In the interim, Waterways Ireland intends to use the on-water and off-water infrastructure at Clones to offer amenity and recreational activities for the public good.

In particular, a visitor experience plan is under way, to create attractive visitor experiences at Clones Marina, as part of the redevelopment of the Ulster Canal.