The Royal Canal is 90 miles long, extending from Dublin to Tarmonbarry. It has 46 locks and cuts through Dublin, Westmeath, Kildare, Meath and Longford Counties, taking a path filled with breathtaking natural beauty.
Although scenic, the Royal Canal never enjoyed the monetary success of the Grand Canal. It was built to compete with the latter by a former employee of the Grand Canal Company. The Royal Canal was so costly to construct that if the government had not paid to finish it, the canal would have ended in County Westmeath near Mullingar.
The canal was purchased by the Midland and Great Western Railway co. in 1845 and used as a foundation for railroad tracks. The coming of the rails decreased canal traffic further, until its closure in 1961. Commercial traffic on the Royal Canal ceased in 1961 and today, the Royal Canal is managed by Waterways Ireland.