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. In 2015 we manufactured and installed two sets of lock gates at Poyntzpass and near Scarva. 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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We’re very proud to be able to announce that the branch has reached the final shortlist for the Heritage Angel awards – yippee!!! We are in the category: Best Rescue, Recording or Interpretation of a Historic Place. This video was taken to give people an idea of what we do as the public can vote for their favourite entrant. You know what’s coming next VOTE FOR IWAI NEWRY & PORTADOWN!! ‘New life for the old canal!’ Please share and follow the link to vote. Voting closing on 27th October. We really appreciate your support and thank you in advance for your vote. https://www.heritageangelawards-ni.org.uk/ Newry.ie Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council Banbridge Area News Ring Of Gullion AONB Ulster Architectural Heritage Society
One of many good things about being a member of the Newry/Portadown branch of IWAI is having free access to the Southern Health Trust bicycles at Scarva. Three of our trained cycle leaders have been guiding branch members along the towpath on Tuesdays for several years. Take a look at our expedition this morning…
CONGRATULATIIONS PAT! Branch Officers accompanied Local Hero nominee Pat Watson and his wife Loretta to a dinner at Stormont yesterday evening to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Coast Care Awards. Hosted by Live Here Love Here in partnership with Coca Cola HBC Ireland & Northern Ireland, the annual event highlights the work of volunteer groups committed to improving the marine and inland waterway environments. To our delight, Pat received the Local Hero award for outstanding individual commitment to the Newry Canal corridor. He follows in the footsteps of another Branch member and great friend, Eamonn Burke who achieved the same accolade in 2013.
The Himalayan Balsam at the Portadown end of the canal was worse than ever this year. This invasive foreign plant smothers native vegetation and is known to reduce local biodiversity by up to 25%. When it dies down in autumn, it leaves the canal banks bare and exposed to erosion. But there’s good news…on Gardeners’ World (BBC 2, 9.00pm, Friday 29th September) a rust fungus specific to Himalayan Balsam was described. The fungus reduces plant vigour and seed production. Trials in England over a period of years have been very successful and the rust spores are now being made available throughout the country.
We had a brilliant evening at Poyntzpass Culture Night last Friday. We were invited to put on a display about the branch’s work alongside the historical society’s exhibition on the canal. Everyone was very supportive of what we are trying to achieve in making more use of the canal even in its derelict state and lobbying the Council to invest in its future. Poyntzpass village always makes a great effort to promote the area and deserves huge applause for putting themselves on the culture map.