Navigation to Lough Allen through the Lough Allen Canal was restored and re-opened in 1994. Since then Waterways Ireland has developed and maintained facilities for boats at a number of key locations including a significant marina development at Cleighran More and harbour facilities at Spenser Harbour.
Waterways Ireland has recently received planning approval for the development of a boat slipway at Spenser Harbour which will complement and augment the harbour as a boating amenity and will provide much needed access to that area of Lough Allen.
At the same time Waterways Ireland in association with Leitrim County Council, has developed the Shannon Blueway utilising the Lough Allen Canal and the wider north Shannon area.
The Blueway development is bringing increasing numbers of visitors to the canal and Drumshanbo in particular and to the wider area in general.
With regard to the extension of navigation to Dowra, Waterways Ireland does not have immediate plans to progress this proposal.
However, Waterways Ireland has together with Fáilte Ireland and ten Local Authorities, formulated, and will soon publish the Shannon Tourism Masterplan. The formulation of the Masterplan is the first time a dedicated plan of any type has been undertaken on the Shannon Region. Based on three core themes, seven strategic signature initiatives are proposed that will, when delivered, position the Shannon Region as a distinctive and sustainable tourist destination. The initiatives are as follows:
1. Communicating a clear and consistent message;
2. Enhancing the on-water experience;
3. Enhancing the waterside experience;
4. Animating and enhancing the Shannon towns and villages;
5. Protecting and enhancing the Shannon Environment;
6. Improving connectivity; and
7. Building networks.
The potential restoration of disused navigations for recreational purposes including their expanded and wider use will form part of the Shannon Masterplan