1817 – Whitworth Aqueduct, Abbeyshrule, Co. Longford

Architect: John Killaly


Aqueduct built between 1814 to 1817 to carry the Royal Canal over the River Inny. Built to designs by John Killaly (1766–1832), the engineer responsible for the construction of the Royal Canal between Coolnahay to Cloondara. It was commissioned by the Directors General of Inland Navigation, who took over responsibility for the Royal Canal following the dissolution of the Royal Canal Company in 1813.

A plaque on the parapet reads “This Aqueduct with the entire Royal Canal Extension 24.5 miles in length, having 21 locks, 38 bridges, and 40 tunnels, with several harbours, quays, and other works of masonry was designed by John Killaly Esq., Engineer to the Director General of Inland Navigation and executed under their Direction in the short space of 3 years by the undertakers, Henry, Mullins and McMahon”.

Problems with the water levels and the rising price of land on the outskirts of Dublin were additional obstacles and in 1794 the Royal Canal Company was declared bankrupt. The project was beset by financial problems and it took nearly 30 years to develop the new inland waterway at a total cost of £1,421,954, seven times more than the original estimate. Several times during its construction additional funding was sought. It was never a financial success, perhaps due to the proximity of the Grand Canal, and was eventually bought out by a railway company.