Tralee Ship Canal

The Tralee Ship Canal (Irish: Longchanáil Thrá Lí) is a canal built for freight and passenger transportation from Tralee Bay to the town of Tralee in County Kerry, Ireland. The canal fell into disuse in the mid-20th century but has since been restored.

Tralee Ship Canal
Longchanáil Thrá Lí
Tralee Ship Canal, Blennerville - - 521336.jpg
Tralee Ship Canal from the swing bridge at Blennerville, Co. Kerry
Length3.2 km (2.0 miles)
Navigation authorityUnknown
Construction began1832
Date completed1846
Date closed1951
Date restored1999
Start pointTralee
End pointBlennerville
Connects toTralee Bay


The Tralee Ship Canal was built to accommodate larger ships sailing into Tralee as the quay in Blennerville was becoming unpractical to use due to silting, while merchants in Tralee were not satisfied with its facilities at the start of the 19th century. The House of Commons authorised an Act of Parliament in June 1829 for the canal with work beginning in 1832. Issues with funding meant that the canal was not completed until 1846 when it was opened to ships. The canal was 2 miles long in length with a new canal basin built in Tralee, lock gates and a wooden swing bridge constructed in Blennerville. Large ships of up to 300 tonnes could navigate the canal but not long after the canal opened it too began to suffer from silting. By the 1880s Fenit harbour was built which was a deep water harbour and did not suffer from silting. A railway was constructed soon afterwards between Fenit and Tralee carrying cargo and freight from ships moored there. Due to silting the canal fell into disuse and neglect, and was closed in 1951.[1][2]


Following the restoration of Blennerville Windmill in the early 1990s it was envisaged that the canal could be restored as a tourist attraction. In 1999 the Office of Public Works (OPW) started a restoration project of the canal at a cost of IR£650,000. It involved the excavation of the basin, a new swing bridge constructed at Blennerville, the lock gates being restored and the canal being dredged of silt. The basin area of the canal was subsequently redeveloped with apartments blocks built as part of a proposed marina while the towpath along the canal was upgraded and is now used by people as an enjoyable amenity as part of the Dingle Way. Tralee Rowing Club use the canal and have a boathouse at the basin.[3]


  1. ^ "Blennerville to Tralee Canal & Marina - County Kerry, Ireland". Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Tralee Ship Canal". Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Written Answers. - Tralee Ship Canal Project". Dáil Éireann Debate: Vol. 499 No. 1. Oireachtas. 29 January 1999. Retrieved 23 August 2017.