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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WEDNESDAY’S WOTZIT WHERZIT: This is a lovely photo from the Lawrence Collection. Wherzit of?? And Wot about the canal bridge behind the ship, any guesses for when it was built?? Answer later on.
COMPETITION SHORT LIST: The efforts of our gardening team have been rewarded with a place in the Cultivation St. competition Short List. The garden at Moneypenny’s Lock was entered by Heather. Nail biting time now waiting on the result. I hope they scrubbed the soil out from under them first Even if the garden doesn’t win we’re all very proud of it and the transformation it’s made at the lock, as these photos show.
WE GOT THE POWER: Walter Dodds bought a farm near Rathfriland and this massive engine came with it – too big to move. From it was installed in Stormont in the 1930s as a backup generator until it was removed in 1974 it was used only once. It is the only one of its kind in the world still in full working condition. Our navvies were enthralled on their visit and no doubt some of you will be as well with this short video.
FRENCH PLANE TREES: for many this is the ideal canal towpath picture, cool shady trees lining the waterway. But on the Canal du Midi the wonderful old Plane trees, originally planted in the 1830s for shade and to strengthen the banks, have been struck down by a deadly disease that is slowly wiping them out all over the country. Almost 14,000 trees have already been felled and burned in a bid to slow the spread and this week another 2,000 have to go. It’s a great loss and will change the atmosphere of the French canals for many years to come.
THE SUMMIT SWANS: Our family of swans are thriving on the re-watered canal this year with the full brood still intact. Here they are in Scarva, very relaxed and at ease with all the other activities going on round them. Careful you don’t get too close though as the adults can be very agressive in protecting their cygnets. They don’t need fed either – eat the yummy buns from the tea rooms yourself
MESSING ABOUT ON THE CANAL: Amazing how the sunshine brings the boaters out. Bruce Crawford had his Boyne curraghs afloat and we also met a few long distance kayakers hoping to paddle to Newry. I know there’s been a lot of rain but somehow I don’t think they’ll make it. No doubt they’ll have fun trying though.