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Life on the Grand Canal

By September 29, 2021October 1st, 2021No Comments

Thanks to the Outdoor Learning team for giving us this great insight to life along the Grand Canal in Dublin.  

Even in built-up urban areas there are places to surround yourself in nature. We are very lucky to have a water based eco-system right on our door step in the form of a canal. The Grand Canal stretches 132 km (82 miles)! From Grand Canal Dock in the city centre of Dublin, it then travels past Clondalkin and continues all the way to Shannon harbour in County Offaly, where it flows into the river Shannon, the longest river in Ireland.

Have a look at some of the photos taken in groups with the Outdoor Learning Team, of brilliant days and nights spent in and by the Grand Canal.  It is a great place to explore and appreciate the nature around us.

The canal is a quiet and peaceful place to spend some time, but upon closer inspection you may discover a wide range of wildlife busy going about their daily life. On the canal, nature is all around us – from the water, to the bank and high into the sky. Next time you are out and about on the canal, keep an eye out for some of the critters that live there.

In the water 

Pike are good at camouflaging themselves in covered areas. A normal-sized pike can have anything between 300 and 700 teeth in its mouth.

On the water

The Coot.  While nervous of humans, they are quite social with other bird species! In the wintertime, huge flocks of waterfowl and some species of Coots congregate in large groups known as “rafts.”

In the air

Leisler’s bat By hanging upside down, bats are in a much better position for a quick take off to flight in case of danger or if a food source is present. Bats are better pilots than birds, they have excellent control over their flight.

In the trees

Grey heron.  A bird of wetland areas, it can very often be seen on the canal. It feeds mostly on water creatures which it catches by standing really still and stalking. It sleeps in the trees to protect itself from land predators, like foxes.

​​On the banks

Dragonfly. Dragonflies have sharp teeth which makes them fierce hunters. Some dragonflies float over the water like hawks looking for prey. They are one of our oldest insects, around long before the dinosaurs, when they were as big as a sea gull.

If you take any photos, or your youth groups take any photos of wildlife along the canal, give them to your Youth Worker and ask them to send them into us, alongside a description of what you have captured, and we can add to our list, of the gorgeous eco system of the Grand Canal.  If you would like some tips for taking photos on a phone check out this post by the Youth Arts Officer.  You could also make sound art from different areas along the Canal.
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