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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If you want to make sure that tall ships can still visit the Albert Basin in Newry be sure to go to the dropin session in the Conference Centre, 39 The Mall Newry from 10.00am to 3.00pm tomorrow Thusday 17th and insist that the Southern Relief Road has a lifting bridge.
The Newry Canal was enabled by various acts of parliament in the 18th and 19th centuries. These acts place a responsiblitiy on the owners to maintain the navigation so that vessels are able to use it. The canal from the Dublin Road Bridge to Portadown was closed by “an act of formal abandonment” in 1956. However the Ship Canal from The Albert Basin to Victoria lock was never abandoned. So this stretch is still legally a Navigation and as such has to be maintained to allow “sea going vessels” to use it. This means that a fixed, low-level bridge cannot be built across it.
Reaching new heights! Yesterday’s work party was at the old railway bridge near Scarva by kind permission of the landowner. We removed self-seeded ash saplings and trimmed the ivy, revealing the beautiful coursed, squared stonework of the walls and the contrasting golden sandstone quoins. Good attendance for the first work party of the New Year with ten volunteers all having a great day.
PLEASE NOTE! The towpath between Knock Bridge and Moneypenny’s Lock will be closed for essential maintenance by ABC Council’s contractors from Monday 7th to Sunday 27th January inclusive.
If you went down to the woods today you were in for a big surprise. We were delighted to welcome four new volunteers from The Body Shop to Canal Wood to help with scheduled thinning of saplings. A great group of trainee lumberjacks – or should that be lumberjills?