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Is it safe to run along the walkways of any of the Canals from Dublin to Offaly?

  • 13-01-2022 5:46pm
    Registered Users Posts: 519 ✭✭✭

    I don't know about anyone else but I have never felt safe in Dublin running or cycling along the Canal walkways during the day.

    I used to work down at Custom Quay and there was a canal route all the way from my turn in Drumcondra

    up to the North Strand to avoid the main roads and traffic.

    I was running home one day early at 3pm on a Friday and some scumbag came straight at me on a bicycle at speed for absolutely no reason.

    I narrowly missed him and ran as fast as I could up to the next exit ramp.

    On my one and only other journey on this route, I was cycling again from work and exited the boardwalk early as I could see a group of fellas

    drinking cans after the next exit. Again this was 5pm and broad daylight.

    My brother in law had previously been cycling along the Cabra stretch of the boardwalk and was pushed into the Canal on his bike.

    If you are unfortunate enough to encounter someone or a group, unless you are near an exit ramp, there really is nowhere to go but into the river.

    This Canal boardwalk route looks lovely and peaceful but it really is a magnet for scumbags in my opinion.

    It offers privacy, seclusion for dealing and drinking and if you're unlucky enough to be cornered - then there's no way out.

    Post edited by Runster on



  • Registered Users Posts: 573 ✭✭✭FinnC

    I’ve been verbally abused and had stones thrown at me on certain parts of the canal in Dublin by teenage boys and girls.

  • Registered Users Posts: 78,193 ✭✭✭✭Victor

    Do you mean the canal tow paths? "Boardwalk" conjures up the image of the timber sections that overhang the River Liffey in Dublin city centre. Running on timber sections is probably inadvisable from a slipping point of view, but being (not necessarily running) on other sections has security risks.

    Note that the Royal Canal is on the northside of Dublin and the Grand Canal on the southside. Both stretch as far as the River Shannon

    1. A lot of Dublin 1 is quite rough.
    2. The area around Broombridge used to be very rough, but has improved hugely with the opening of Luas.
    3. Bridges create sheltered points where certain people like to hang out and drink.
    4. Outside Dublin, the tow paths are generally very quiet.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,381 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    This thread is a little confusing. The boardwalk is on the Liffey. And the canal that runs through Drumcondra and Phibsboro is the Royal, not the Grand. Maybe you mean the towpath/greenway?

    That said, I run the Royal canal very regularly, all sections between the Liffey and Blanchardstown, and have been well beyond that, out to Kilcock. You do come across people drinking cans, and in my personal experience there is never any hassle from them. In ten years, I can only think of one remotely threatening incident, where I came across a few lads throwing rocks at a nearby building and I wondered would they use me as a target instead. They didn’t.

    You do hear about occasional incidents. There was a woman pushed into the canal last year. And of course yesterday’s horrific event in Offaly (on the Grand Canal). But wouldn’t be put off. I AM always watchful however, and aware that there are few escape routes if anything does go down.

    I’m not quite as familiar with the Grand Canal, but have run it a good few times, most sections between the Liffey and Clondalkin, without ever feeling threatened, although again I’ve heard of intermittent hassle in some parts.

    So in summary, in my experience, I’d say yes, it’s safe, but on the quieter sections be as vigilant as you would be in any remote area. And be prepared to jump in and swim if necessary!

  • Registered Users Posts: 519 ✭✭✭Runster

    Yes, you're both right, it was confusing.

    I meant walkways and have my canals mixed up.

    I have edited there.

    But its the same story I think for all canal walkways particularly in certain areas where the only exit is into the river!

    I think Canal walkways in general are a mecca for crime anywhere.

    Even in the remoter areas outside Dublin city as there's so much seclusion.

    They have always been like this, even more so with the rejuvenation as more mainstream people

    use them so more opportunity for scumbags to corner normal folk minding their own business.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,381 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    You lost me at ‘scumbag’ to be honest. Plus you’ve started a thread with a question that you’ve decided to answer yourself, while ignoring contrasting experiences. Also, the gratuitous mention of Offaly.

    As I’ve clearly indicated, based on 10 years of running the canals regularly (as well as all parts of Dublin, including the parts that some people like to label as ‘rough’, I’ve yet to experience anything remotely like the bottle that was once thrown at me in a far more ‘upmarket’ part of town.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,831 ✭✭✭Annie get your Run

    I don't know if they are a mecca for crime, there are plenty of stretches on the Royal Canal that I felt perfectly safe running alone on (Clonsilla, Castleknock, Leixlip etc) and indeed immensely enjoyed the solitude and peace. I have run and cycled from Ashtown to the City a few times early in the morning and on one occasion passed a few young fellas which definitely made me nervous, I got off the bike because one push or a foot out to trip and you're into the water. I walked passed fairly confidently and without incident but I would be conscious - but then I'm always conscious of my surroundings, canal or not. Yes there are parts of it that are probably best avoided at certain times of the day but I think largely they are safe, they are certainly a great amenity to have in the city (off road running/cycling) and I'd hate to think that fear would drive people away in large numbers. What we need is more people running, walking and cycling along these walkways.

  • Registered Users Posts: 519 ✭✭✭Runster

    I am offering my experience just as you are offering yours.

    I can answer this thread according to how I feel and I feel fking angry about it.

    I never mentioned that the posh part of anything is safe.

    I was in Annabelles nightclub in D4 and had to take a pint glass out of a girls hand as she was about to shove it in a girls face

    because she sat in 'her' seat.

    I don't roam around running on the southside so I can offer no stories there buddy.

    I'm not sure why you seem to have contempt for me, I'm only joined since last week and have done nothing wrong except trying to join the running forum.

    I'm not responding immediately to you as Im writing work reports in the background. Is that okay???


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,599 ✭✭✭Cyclingtourist

    "I think Canal walkways in general are a mecca for crime anywhere.

    Even in the remoter areas outside Dublin city as there's so much seclusion"

    No don't agree, I'm a regular walker on the Royal canal (Drumcondra westward) and have cycled it several times as far as Longford. It's very safe.

    I've also cycled canals in France and it's a general truism that in large cities you will get certain sections that can be rough. Nothing different about Dublin.

  • Registered Users Posts: 519 ✭✭✭Runster

    Its very safe for you, I wouldn't feel safe on the walkways as a woman.

    I used to work over by the walkways at Parkwest and as tranquil and peaceful as it was, I would never walk along there alone even at lunchtime.

    I think there's something secluded as I said about canal walkways and I never liked them not even for a shortcut.

  • Registered Users Posts: 114 ✭✭CJay1

    Post edited by CJay1 on

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,381 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    “I'm not sure why you seem to have contempt for me, I'm only joined since last week and have done nothing wrong except trying to join the running forum.”

    Sorry to give that impression. No contempt here - just offering my thoughts on the topic and how it was presented.

  • Registered Users Posts: 277 ✭✭anplaya27

    Those incidents are extremely rare. If I can run anywhere theres no reason anyone cant. I wouldnt let isolated incidents stop me from doing something I enjoy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,599 ✭✭✭Cyclingtourist

    You must have a nervous disposition, I see lots of women on the Royal canal bringing their dog for a walk etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭Bluesquare

    I used to run along the canal from the portobello pub there towards St James hospital at lunch time - never really thought about safety if I’m honest - some stretches were lonely enough . I don’t think I ever purposely think about personal safety but in retrospect I do avoid lonelier places in the dark during winter months . Whats really annoyed me lately is that street lights seem to be down / not working in a lot of places making paths dangerous and giving me a sense of unease . At the very least we should have well lit streets .

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,839 ✭✭✭✭Stark

    Parts of the Grand Canal Greenway can be dodgy as ****, for both men and women unfortunately. Lots of incidents, especially around Bluebell.

    The new section of Royal Canal between Sheriff Street and North Strand road was very dodgy when it first opened but it seems the Gardai did a blitz and nipped the issue in the bud and it seems fine now. That or the scumbags pissed off bigger scumbags when they were throwing rocks at the houses next to the canal.

    I cycle the bit between North strand road and Phibsborough regularly, including after dark and while I always see "characters" hanging around drinking and fishing, they always seem to keep to themselves and never give me hassle. I'm speaking as a male here so not sure if the experience would be the same for a woman cycling/running by.

    Once you get out past Ashtown/Castleknock it should be very safe imo. (That said, that particular section around Offaly should also have been "very safe"!). I think there are some spots between Phibsorough and Ashtown that can get a bit rough sometimes if the teenage gangs are out. That's the section where the Asian lady was pushed into the canal and there's been a couple of times I've felt uneasy there myself though most of the time it's quiet and pleasant with plenty of people out enjoying it so it's really a case of getting unlucky sometimes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,448 ✭✭✭John_Rambo

    What happened today to that young teacher is G U B U stuff. It's tragic and simply horrible. The chances of it happening to anyone else again are very unlikely. There's a risk in everything we do, we're more likely to die in a car, the most dangerous place for a women is at home.

    Keep running for the good of running, not from fear.

  • Registered Users Posts: 519 ✭✭✭Runster

    I don't know if I'd call it a nervous disposition but I definitely am very aware of my surroundings and never take anything for face value.

    For example I have no problem running through Ballymun at 10pm at night.

    There's a handy route that I know the exact measurement of and it takes in Ballymun.

    But I look around and I can see about 5 different directions I can run if I see someone hairy.

    (Sorry to anyone who lives in Ballymun if I offended you, I used to work up there so no offence intended)

    When I'm on a canal or if I was out hiking in the mountains, I'm very aware that I probably won't meet anyone for a while

    and if someone weird comes along because lets face it if its not a group of young fellas in a secluded area then its usually an oddball on his own.

    Oh no, every man who hikes and walks alone is going to be on my back, God help me having an opinion 🤣

    Maybe you could do with more social awareness, that nonchalant attitude of yours could bring you into danger sometime!

    Or maybe you're so cock sure of your safety that nothing will ever happen to you. As you said 'the canals are safe'

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,376 ✭✭✭diego_b

    I lived in Sallins for 7 years and ran along the Grand canal bank there a lot, it was usually during daylight hours as I wasn't at the stage of being a runner with a was early days. Can't say I ever had any issues there any all time, very peaceful and quiet area to run. Used to meet a lot people walking, this was back in 2015 when I last ran there but from what I see when I am ever up there it's much the same and never heard of any incidents.

    I did an early morning run from Clondalkin to the city centre along the canal as far the area not far from James's hospital. The areas around Bluebell and Ballyfermot not the best in appearance from what I saw. Didn't meet anyone barring a few cyclists. It was around 7:30/8am during autumn I guess...maybe 3-4 years ago.

    Outside of that I only ever ran on the section of the Royal Canal from the Croke Park area out to Broombridge, it was fine...certainly encountered a few people but no issues. This was on a week day evening during the summer time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 688 ✭✭✭MisterJinx

    I run the royal between Ashtown and Phibsborough at least one a week. I've only had 1 minor issue in the last couple of years using that route and that was a few kids on bikes who didn't make enough room and a bit of a shoulder was needed to stay out of the water. Otherwise there are a group who drink under one of the bridges but there has never been or have I felt like there would be an issue. This is all however coming from a male perspective, my wife on the other hand would never do that route on her own. I think it's a very different perspective when you are woman on your own compared to a lump of a fella like me.

  • Registered Users Posts: 54,280 ✭✭✭✭walshb

    Spot on..

    both sexes need to be careful. But women have to take extra care generally speaking.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 310 ✭✭FromADistance

    I've walked the canal walk between Phibsboro & Broombridge a few times after work and always felt a low level threat / intimidation ... one day a lad on a scrambler bike whizzed by me... another day lads were enjoying a few cans & being generally mouthy.... people I wouldn't like to get involved with. I recall that there was an incident further down the canal where a woman was pushed in and was lucky to be able to get out. I'm not a big fella so I can only imagine how a woman on her own would feel. Of course I can only speak for myself but I'm sure it's grand most of the time... maybe I was just unlucky.

  • Registered Users Posts: 54,280 ✭✭✭✭walshb

    So many incidents and situations like this.

    why are these people allowed loiter and congregate and intimidate like this free from challenge?

    two possible reasons: PC civil Liberty brigade and gardai not really doing their job..

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,799 ✭✭✭✭anewme

    The Canal from Clondalkin - 10th lough down to Parkwest is not safe for man, woman or beast.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,255 ✭✭✭thefallingman

    Not enough Gardai walking the beat it's nationwide, and the ones that are walking around avoid the danger areas themselves. It's saddening to read the op's account as a runner myself it's the only time i get to switch off and just enjoy running, i totally understand now why any female joggers are in fear and i saw a lady on the news last night saying since covid they don't run in clubs or groups as much either at the moment, just keep running in lit up area's you haven't had hassle before op for now anyway. Stay safe

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,178 ✭✭✭MY BAD

    I was doing my cool down jog after a race along the canal in Lexlip a few years ago. When a few teens lobbed a beer bottle at me on a sunny summer evening. I probably ran faster for a 100mts than I did for the last 100mts of the race.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,560 ✭✭✭amber2

    Was running my local roads a while back and a car with a few males onboard passed me, did a U turn and drove back against me pointed an air soft gun out the window and shot me. Got the reg, rang my husband he followed the car, rang the guards and they did nothing, even when they knew where the car was and was heading.

    Guards Took a statement the next day alright and they contacted the registered owner of the car who said he didn’t do the shooting, he was in his 20’s but a teen in the car did. The teen was 17 and that was that. Edit: this was Cork rural area.

    Post edited by amber2 on

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,834 ✭✭✭OOnegative

    It’s the same for the guards on the beat!! These thugs have no respect for anyone least of all two guards on the beat together.

    I chased the driver of a stolen car one night in a certain area of North Dublin, he rounded a corner and as I followed I was met with 30+ young fellas baying for Garda blood. I could have continued of course & got the kicking of my life…….

    Maybe the reason you don’t see as many Gardai on the beat is because some areas are just to dangerous to walk?? FWIW I no longer work for AGS.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,422 ✭✭✭brick tamland

    I run along this strech a lot, well from Inchicore as far as Lucan and never had a problem or ever felt unsafe. I do run early in the morning or during daytime hours though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 506 ✭✭✭Freddie Mcinerney

    Anyone that infers aggresively with your daily activity is a scumbag.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 506 ✭✭✭Freddie Mcinerney

    One of Ger Hartman athletes/patients was thrown into the river Shannon while on a run.

    Be careful.