Welcome to the website of the Newry & Portadown branch of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI). We have the longterm ambition of restoring the Newry canal and once again joining Carlingford Lough with Lough Neagh. The branch has already begun to conserve and restore the waterway with our regular work parties. Volunteers have been removing trees and vegetation from the lock chambers so that the still impressive craftsmanship and architecture can be better appreciated by the public. We have lobbied locally and nationally to have restoration of the canal placed on the political agenda. The branch has successfully applied for funding for projects to increase public awareness of the canal and to encourage the various waterside communities to become part of our cause.
Our future plans are to continue to lobby and campaign; to fund raise and apply for grants; to maintain and conserve the architecture and industrial heritage of the canal and to continue our voluntary groundwork. We are also lobbying for Waterways Ireland to take over the Newry to Portadown Canal as being the best way to have the canal re-opened
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ALL ABOARD: It was a transport themed day for our outing on Saturday to Greenore railway/maritime museum and Hanlon’s transport museum. We had a tour of the Dundalk to Greenore model railway, a look at the lifeboat station and walk around the village plus a go on the pope-mobile and 100 year old tractor at Hanlon’s. What a day!!
VISITORS AND VOLUNTEERS: You get to meet all sorts of people and do all sorts of jobs when you volunteer at our Heritage Centre. Bruce met the bikers while Heather got to grips with our temperamental stove and Geraldine showed vistors what the canal looked like before the IWAI got their teeth into it and tidied it up. Come and visit us this weekend and meet a few volunteers.
NEW CANAL LIGHTER: If you’re visiting our Heritage Centre at Acton lake this weekend you’ll see the scale model of a Portadown barge made by branch member George Beatty. It doesn’t have a name yet but George will have plenty to choose from as his ancestor was Moses Hunter a shipbuilder and canal carrier in the late 1800s. There are other canal lighter artefacts on show.
VISITORS FROM THE BOYNE: Stephen Early and his daughter Carol paid a visit to the navvies shed recently. They are from IWAI Boyne Navigation who are also working on canal restoration. Carol is a graphic designer and she is helping us with our Towpath Tour app signage design. Great to chat with other volunteers who understand what we are doing and why.
OUT AND ABOUT: We had well over 150 visitors to the Sluicekeeper’s Canal Heritage Centre this weekend. Great support for our work and it was brilliant for us to talk to so many visitors about our plans for the waterway. Scarva band concerts are on again and Moneypenny’s museum is open for business. We saw our first swallows and a bat flitting about at Lough Shark. The Sluicekeeper’s is open every weekend from now on. If you’re out and about call in and say hello.