Building of the Royal Canal began in 1789 in Spencer Dock Dublin and was completed to Richmond Harbour in Clondra, Longford in 1817. The total cost of the canal was £1,421,954 pounds. The purpose of building the canal was the transportation of passengers and goods. From 1820 to 1830 over 40,000 passengers and 80,000 tons of cargo were carried annually on the canal. The coming of the railway saw a huge decline in passenger numbers and in 1880
tonnage had been reduced to 30,000. Transportation of goods continued until 1951 when the last by trader, James Leech of Killucan ceased to operate.
The canal was officially closed in 1961 and lay derelict until 1974 when the ‘Save The Royal Canal’ campaign began in Dublin, and the first branch of the Royal Canal Amenity Group was formed. Work on the restoration began in 1975 and was completed to the Shannon in 2010. objective was to promote the Royal Canal as an amenity for boating, fishing, canoeing, walking and cycling. The restoration of the Old Bell House Ticket Office is one of the major achievements of the group. This is now our meeting room and is used by other groups including the Community Employment Project, local residents, gun club, women’s group etc.