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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Last week we were at a meeting with the NMandD DC, DfC Built Environment, the Contractors( Sean Murray), and the Consultants to discuss the work starting next week on repairs to Lock 5 at Carnbane. This is the first major work to restore the inland canal for 25 years. We have been involved in this for the past few months and it’s great to see that our focus has paid off. The council have moved quickly to save this piece of the oldest canal in ireland.
Scarva was buzzing today when a coach-full of delegates from the World Canal Conference descended on the village for lunch. After a delicious meal at Sinton’s on the Bridge and a talk on the history of the canal by Geraldine, the group had a short walk along the towpath and through the village. Then it was back on the coach to McVeigh’s lock to see its timber cill, and Poyntzpass lock to view our lock gates.
WORLD CANALS CONFERENCE. Branch member Geraldine Foley presented a paper at the conference in Athlone yesterday. It was aptly titled ‘Don’t forget your shovel’ about the power of volunteers to make a difference and she even brought a dirty shovel to prove it! The conference comes to the canal on Saturday and we’re getting very excited at the prospect of hosting a truly international delegation. World Canals Conference Waterways Ireland
This is a tree we removed on Saturday. The council will only let us shift them once they’ve fallen accross the canal. It would be a lot easier if we could cut them before they end up in the water. Also as they fall the roots pull out a section of the bank.
Normal service is resumed! Rivers Agency had asked us to open the gates at Campbell’s Lock to lower the water level in the canal while a suspected leak was investigated. This morning Peter was given the go ahead to close them (a very cold and smelly job!). We should have an attractive canal again in a few days.