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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NEW RECRUITS: Volunteering on the canal isn’t just for the auld fellas. Here’s Ryan having a go at surveying the mouth of the River Bann as part of our charting project and Chris and Conor who gave up a Saturday to man the Sluicekeeper’s Cottage heritage centre recently. Restoration of the canal is a longterm project and it’s great to see young people becoming involved and getting ready to carry on the work. With Ryan Black
CAUGHT!! Tanya was chuffed to find a ready made forked stick on our last workparty. Now she’s trying to decide how best to use it. Capturing skiving workparty mates perhaps??? Pat doesn’t look too happy.:-) Any thoughts on a caption??
MESSING ABOUT…. Time to try out our latest acquisition – an electric outboard for the branch boat. What a great way to see the canal, eye contact with the moorhens and no engine noise. We did find some unexpected treasure in the form of a bicycle inner tube which wrapped itself round the propellor and there was still quite a lot of weed which we have on our agenda for this winter.
ANOTHER GARDEN PARTY: This is the last event linked to the presentation of our Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and it was a garden party at Hillsborough Castle. Heather Crawford and Ashley Peel exchanged wellies and hard hats for formal attire this time. Prince Edward was guest of honour but, unlike Tom and Tanya at the Buckingham Palace party, they didn’t get to meet him and tell him all about the canal.
VOTE FOR OUR YEW: The fabulously atmospheric yew tree at Moneypenny’s lock has made it into the short list for Northern Ireland’s favourite tree. There’s stiff competition but if we can spread the word to all towpath visitors to vote for it we should be in with a good chance of winning. Voting closes on 12th October so please share this poster sent to us by Billy Austin and go to http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/tree-of-the-year/northern-ireland/ to vote. The winning trees goes on to represent Northern Ireland in the European Tree of the Year.
CULTURE NIGHT: Don’t forget Poyntzpass Culture Night on Friday 18th. Here’s a wee taster of the movie ‘The Great Railway Debate’ performed by The Pass Players and which will have its world premiere in St Joseph’s Hall at 8.30pm. Loads of other things happening throughout the village from 6.00pm. DON’T MISS IT https://vimeo.com/139621930