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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The Sluicekeeper’s cottage at Acton Lake is open to visitors every Saturday and Sunday from Easter until October. Last Sunday’s sunshine brought many people to see our exhibition as they enjoyed their walks along the towpath.
Lovely to see.
Balsam Bash. On 25 May our branch, in co-operation with ABC Council, hosted volunteers from The Probation Board of Northern Ireland. A bunch of very willing workers helped us clear Himalayan Balsam (http://www.nonnativespecies.org/downloadDocument.cfm?id=33) along the towpath from Moneypenny’s Lock northwards towards Portadown. Our branch would like to thank all those who took part.
New arrivals on the canal this morning. Branch member Pat Watson photographed these proud parents with their eight cygnets near Scarva. Hard work coping with so many offspring at once!
ANOTHER CANAL TREASURE: This is Murphy’s lock (no. 8) with its ancient wooden cill showing clearly. This was built in the 1730s and while it”s still in good shape it’s in bad need of some proper conservation work. No other canal in Ireland still has their wooden cills intact. These are national treasures which should be better protected and restored. There are still remants of the gates in place as well.
It’s always sad to see a mature tree in poor condition, but this willow in Scarva was in such a dangerous state it had to be taken down. The extent of the problem only became evident during one of our recent work parties. Many thanks to the ABC Council for moving so quickly to make the car park area safe. Being willow, the stump is likely to put up new shoots – an added bonus for the local insect population.