Proposed Grand Canal Greenway in Sallins, County Kildare

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Infrastructure

Grand Canal Greenwy SallinsKildare County Council propose to construct a greenway along the Grand Canal towpath which bisects my town of Sallins. This will link with the already constructed Greenway along the Canal in County Dublin. Eventually there will be a greenway along the full length of the Grand Canal between Dublin and the River Shannon. When complete it will have a continuous length of 132 kilometers (82 miles). This greenway is close to my heart as besides living beside the Grand Canal, I cycled the full length of the Grand Canal in the summer of 2018, on a mountain bike. At present it is a difficult to cycle along much of the tow path with currently only a small minority being a smooth surface. It is however a beautiful experience and the proposed greenway will make it accessible to many more people. There is a lovely account of walking the full length of the Grand Canal by an American tourist  click here.

Plans for the proposed greenway are available to view click here, along with a link for submissions and observations.  I have made my own observations on the proposal to the Council and I urge you to do the same. The closing date for observations is Wednesday the 16th January 2019. See below for my observations/ comments submitted:

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Behaviour of cyclists in Dublin City Centre

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Infrastructure

Google streetThe radio pundit George Hook takes a lot of abuse, from the cycling community, for his strongly expressed view that their behaviour is in main dreadful.  While he may go too far sometimes, he has a point when he says that many cyclists show a complete disregard for the rules of the road. The one behaviour that I encounter daily is cyclists using footpaths at speed and more often than not with one hand held to their ear with a phone.

Personally, I think its fine for a careful cyclist to use a footpath to avoid using a narrow or dangerous road. But more and more I see cyclists aggressively cycling on footpaths at speed, weaving in and out and around people, and giving them little regard.

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Cycling to work in Dublin City

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Infrastructure

Geographically Dublin is well suited for people cycling to work, here are five main reasons:

  1. Topography

Dublin is relatively flat and while there are hills, they generally have quite gentle slopes. In addition, as the City Centre is the lowest point, commuting to work by bike is generally downhill in the morning/ or flat and uphill in the evening. This suits most people as it means the strenuous uphill section is left until after work on the way home. http://en-ie.topographic-map.com/places/Dublin-2520/

Topo map of Dublin

2. Wind

Ireland is a relatively windy country but Dublin is sheltered compared to the most of the country. The prevailing wind generally in Ireland is from the South West. But in Dublin the prevailing wind is more westerly as the southern portion is reduced by the sheltering effect of the Wicklow Mountains to the south of the City. Helpfully as the City Centre is on the eastern coast, for most people cycling into the city centre for work the wind will be with them in the morning and against them in the evening. Similar to topography above this is better than the reverse as the strenuous part of the cycle is on the way home. See wind rose below for various parts of Ireland including Dublin Airport (to the north of the city). Read more “Cycling to work in Dublin City”

Parteen Revisited – Water extraction from Parteen for Dublin

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Infrastructure

WaterSince I last wrote about Parteen Weir, see here, it has been in the news for two reasons:

The first is because it is the proposed location for a large water extraction project. It is planned to extract, treat and pipe water from here to Dublin, 160 km away. I was recently at a lecture given to the Irish Branch of the Institute of Structural Engineers by Irish Water where the scheme was outlined. Some of the main points of the presentation were as follows: Read more “Parteen Revisited – Water extraction from Parteen for Dublin”

Irish Rail: Exposed hydraulic lines

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Infrastructure

Just wondering if anyone knows what the exposed hydraulic lines at the front of this type of Irish Rail commuter trains are for, see below.

Irish Rail commuter train without front guards

I am interested as they should be protected by front guards but are missing in this case. Without the guards the lines and the on/off handle seem to be exposed and ready to be damaged by debris catching on them while the train is traveling. Should we be worried? In any case the picture below shows the front with the protection guard in place.

Irish Rail commuter train with front guards
Irish Rail commuter train with front guards

The Worlds first ever fatal car accident, Birr, County Offaly

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Infrastructure

Route taken by car prior to accidentPeople might be surprised to read that the first fatal car accident occurred in Birr, County Offaly close to the centre of Ireland. I only realised when I was passing by the actually spot on my way to Birr Castle recently. There is a large notice board describing the events on the road side  which I stopped to read and then look at the junction where the accident occurred.

The events occurred on the 31st of August 1869 when the passenger, Mary Ward, fell out of a steam powered car while it was turning sharply at a junction. She was fatally wounded with a broken neck. The car was destroyed afterwards, thus following the custom at the time, where animals were killed if they caused human deaths.

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