The Passing of Environmentalist, Dick Warner

The Passing of Environmentalist, Dick Warner

On the morning of Friday June 16th 2017, Dick Warner passed way. Dick died suddenly after falling ill while on a boat on the River Shannon near Ballinasloe.

Dick possessed a special kind of greatness. He died suddenly after falling ill while on a boat and on the River Shannon near Ballinasloe. While we are all shocked and saddened by Dick's passing, we are safe in the knowledge that when he was called home to port, Dick was engaged in what he himself described as '[his] full-blown love affair with the waterways'.

Dick Warner was always an explorer, a pioneer and an adventurer. Yet for a man who travelled widely from Botswana to Greenland and everywhere in between, Dick considered his 1991 journey along the Grand Canal and River Shannon from Dublin to Limerick aboard canal boat 45M as 'one of the most profoundly important journeys of my life'.

As a child of the sixties, Dick attended school during the same period that CIE ceased commercial boat traffic on the canals. Some years later Dick lived aboard a boat in Hazelhatch near Celbridge on the Grand Canal at a time when this was considered very unusual. Later, Dick settled near Donadea in Kildare, one of the most unspoilt and natural regions in the county. Also, Dick was a prominent member of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) and through membership he developed a passionate association with the Grand Canal in particular.

By the 1990s Dick Warner was already a well-known environmentalist, writer and broadcaster but the five series of 'Waterways' ensured international recognition for a humble and selfless champion of our canals and rivers. Dick held life membership of IWAI Kildare and he did so much to promote the use of the Grand Canal in his beloved home county. Dick was a regular and visible supporter of IWAI Kildare events and campaigns including the reopening of the canal harbour in Naas in 2002. Dick did so much to put the potential of Ireland's inland navigations in sharp focus and he did so in such an understated manner. We have lost a truly great man in Dick Warner, a unique champion who continuously highlighted the beauty and magic of slow tourism on our navigations. He will be sadly missed.

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