Through the eye of Healy’s Bridge you will see the dead-end of the filled in Blackwood feeder canal which linked the waterway with Ballynafagh Reservoir which is located two miles to the north. Cross Healy’s Bridge to the south bank. After a few paces the canal scenery changes again- this time revealing a vista of cut-away bog, forest, and whin bushes which will be a constant theme for the remainder of the canal’s course across the bogs of West Kildare. For the first time since leaving Sallins, the canal is carried on a high rampart. This elevation was caused both by the need to build the canal on an embankment over the bog and by the effect of decades of cutting of the peat on either side of the waterway. Canal historians record that the entire canal project nearly floundered in the morass of bog over the one-and-half miles between Healy’s Bridge and Robertstown Just as you are beginning to wonder if the relaxing but unchanging cutaway bog landscape is going to be your lot for the rest of the walk, a structure, large and rusty pink in colour, appears at the end of the stretch from Healy’s Bridge like some sort of midlands mirage. Draw closer and the solid outline of the former Grand Canal Hotel at Robertstown becomes clearer. An unusual place to find a hotel on this island in the Bog of Allen but it was no doubt a welcome sight for boat passengers and crews battered by bad weather on the slow journey from Dubln. The Hotel was built in 1804 and was closed in 1849. However the building continued in use for various purposes including a costabulary barracks and, in the the 20th century, a hostel for turf workers. The Grand Hotel at Robertstown 28 COUNTY KILDARE’S TOW PATH TRAILS