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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NOW YOU SEE IT: This beautiful bridge at Poyntzpass was uncovered at the last workparty. It takes the stream into the canal under the towpath and was completely covered in trees and undergrowth. The enthusiastic (or bonkers) volunteers continued to work through the snow showers to get the job done and back to the sluicekeeper’s cottage for some of Bernadette’s soup at lunch time.
TREE FELLERS IN ACTION: This tree must have half fallen in the past and continued to grow in a horizontal position. It was in a precarious position with a possibility of falling into the canal so the boys went into action with chainsaw, boat and digger to remove it. More work in our programme to get the canal ready for the 2016 boating season.
TREES AWAY: The task of clearing the waterway of overhanging trees continues with this one at Campbell’s lock being removed and chipped during the week. We intend to have all the trees removed and the summit level lock gates closed again in February. Then we will go along by boat and cut any dangerous overhanging branches. All ready for canoeing in the spring then.
NEXT WORKPARTY? What a great photo of canal restoration work, unfortunately it’s in Venice not Newry but some day…. until then our next workparty is in Poyntzpass on Saturday from 9.30. Come along and share in the project. Thanks to Stan Giles for posting the photo.
TARZAN OF THE CANAL: Another workparty, at Moneypenny’s lock this time. We are preparing for the start of the recently announced work to replace the lock cill. Trees were thinned out and undergrowth cut away. There is lots of very mature ivy in this area that reminded Eamonn of the jungle vines in the old Tarzan movies. Bruce, as health and safety officer, felt it better to take a photo than experiment with using it to cross the canal.
REMOVING THE BIG TREE: This monster has been blocking the summit level of the canal for many years but today it was dismantled by the chainsaw gang and hauled away using our mini digger with the smaller branches being fed to the chipper. The aim is to make sure this stretch of canal is clear for canoeists when we close the lock gates and re-water the level in the spring.