Building on the canal began in 1845, with the intended dual purpose of a famine relief project and a navigation and drainage necessity. The canal joins the Shannon and Erne Rivers at Leitrim Village and Aghalane. The original locks were completed in 1852. The market house conducted canal business in Ballinamore. The canal underwent restoration from 1991-1994 and the locks are now modern and automatically operated. It is considered one of the finest waterways in Europe and is located in an area of considerable natural beauty.
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