It may be a little short of joining Bantry Bay to Derry Quay, but the plans to reopen waterways from the banks of the Bann to the broad, majestic Shannon - offering an aquatic highway that literally takes in the length and breadth of this island - are impressive and ambitious.
Canals were once the arteries that carried the lifeblood of Ireland. Before the arrival of trains or any other mechanised form of land transport, canal boats were the primary means for moving goods around the island. It's difficult to imagine today, but at a time when roads were often little more than mud-laden tracks and it took days to complete journeys that are now a daily commute for some, the waterways were vitally important.
Tortuously dug by hand to overcome the natural contours of the landscape, they were among the first major engineering works to lift us towards the modern, industrialised economy we enjoy today.
But the network was gradually abandoned — overtaken by rail and made redundant by cheaper forms of transport. The canals became run down, choked with weeds. Locks fell into disrepair.
That decline has been reversed somewhat in recent years. Following the example set by other areas, like the Norfolk Broads in England, administrations north and south of the border have made first steps towards restoring the canals that tied together the great waterways of Ireland.
The Shannon-Erne Waterway, reopened more than a decade ago, has been a significant success story in this regard. Boat holidays had become independent ventures on Lough Erne in Fermanagh and on the Shannon River in the Republic. Restoration of the canal linking the two waterways did more than double the tourist potential — it raised it dramatically by turning isolated and relatively small holiday opportunities into one major scheme.
What's proposed now— revealed this week in Enniskillen — is a major extension that would amply increase the miles of operational canals in Northern Ireland. Waterways linking the Irish Sea to Lough Neagh would be reopened, along with the key Ulster Canal bringing Lough Neagh to Lough Erne and thence on to the Shannon and the network in the south. Upon completion, it would be possible to cruise from Coleraine to Waterford. It might not be quick, but it would be utterly pleasant for visitors. And if the era of cheap flights is over, it could also be a significant alternative for those who wish to holiday at home.
Who knows? With the price of road fuels skyrocketing, there may even be scope for slow freight to return to the waterways.
Of course, any restoration of engineering works in this day and age comes at a financial cost far higher than what was paid for the original project. When belts are tightening in every sector, care needs to be taken about spending wisely on a project that brings returns.
That appears to be the case here. Not ony would a wider waterway network give more options to visitors, it would also open up the economic opportunities of tourism to areas of Ireland that are currently bypassed or ignored.
It's an attractive idea. Let's hope it floats.