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 Run for Raff on December 27th will also be in memory of our branch member John Cloughley RIP who participated in the race last year while undergoing treatment himself. Quite an achievement! This year’s event is a 10k run and a 2.5 mile walk along the towpath from Poyntzpass starting at noon on 27th December, perfect post Christmas exercise. More details on the Run for Raff facebook page. John helped on our project to build new lock gates for the summit level but didn’t live to see them completed. We will be hosting a canal event in his memory late next spring bringing canoeists, runners and cyclists together to celebrate all the activities our canal has to offer. With Run for Raff
BIRDBOX WINTERISING: it’s that time again – get your birdboxes down and give them a thorough cleaning ready for next season’s residents. Birds also use nestboxes as a sheltered winter roost and the old nests need to be removed first. Don’t be tempted to keep the nest even though they are works of art. They can be home to a host of parasites and bugs. Makes you itchy just thinking about it!
CANAL MAINTENANCE: Now that we have the summit level re-watered with the new gates at Poyntzpass and Terryhoogan we are putting together a canal maintenance scheme to make the waterway more usable and attractive. The chipper, pump and digger can be towed to inaccessible locations by the quad bike and our little boat is ideal for weed killing and cutting up fallen trees that block the navigation. It’s all good fun and allows the boys to be very creative with their toys:-)
WATER BABIES Here’s Conor and Christopher our young volunteers out enjoying the higher levels of water in the canal. Well earned recreation after working hard at a workparty recently. Great to see people having fun and using the canal.
TREE OF THE YEAR WINNER: was the Peace Tree in Woodvale Park Belfast. It’s an Oak tree planted in 1919 to commemorate the fallen of WW1. The Yew tree at Moneypenny’s lock in Billy Austin’s photo was shortlisted for the title along with such icons as the Dark Hedges and the tree of witness. It’s fitting that a memorial tree won a November competition and in the middle of our decade of centenaries.
CHAINSAW WARNING: Our tree surgeon had a near miss when his chainsaw kicked back and made contact with his leg. Good job he was wearing protective kevlar trousers. It’s a warning to us all to wear the proper protective gear while working.