The day work finally began on the Ulster Canal, after many years of planning and consideration. The opening ceremony was attended by many of the local gentry; the royal standard was hoisted, a 21-gun salute was fired, hundreds of people had turned up to see it and “the country people were liberally supplied with ale”. That evening, those most involved dined together in Caledon with toasts to the king, to the queen and the rest of the royal family and to the army and navy.
I suppose that similar festivities would attend the start of work on any canal nowadays, but that was back in 1835, and the canal was the real Ulster Canal.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Canals, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Foreign parts, Forgotten navigations, Industrial heritage, Ireland, People, Politics, Ulster Canal, waterways
Tagged ale, Benburb, Caledon, canal, Carrickaness, department of arts heritage and the gaeltacht, Erne, Ireland, Lough Neagh, Ulster Canal, Ulster Canal Company, Waterways Ireland, William Dargan
IndustrialHeritageIreland reports on two recent outbreaks of cargo cultism in Norn Iron. Folk in Tyrone want the whole of the Ulster Canal to be restored to its, er, former glory, which presumably means without any water west of Monaghan, while a Sinn Féin MLA wants to lumber Waterways Ireland with responsibility for the useless Strabane Canal on which £1.3 million has already been wasted.
What is it with Sinn Féin and canals? I realise that Irish republicanism is by definition a backward-looking creed, with little contact with reality, but why not look to (say) early nineteenth century technology, like the steam railway, rather than that of the eighteenth century?
Part of the problem, I suspect, is that Sinn Féin folk, especially those who are subjects of Her current Majesty, adopt a British conception of inland waterways. In Britain, canals dominate and boats must travel slowly, no faster than the horse-drawn vessels of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But Irish waterways are dominated by lakes, whereon modern folk like to zoom around in fast boats: jetskis, speedboats and skiboats, fast cruisers. Such boats are entirely unsuitable for canals: they damage the banks and the pace bores their owners.
As it happens, we have lots of lakes where owners can zoom. [I’d prefer if they didn’t, but that’s the way it is.] And with reductions in the amount of boating activity, we don’t need any additional waterways. Sinn Féin, though, doesn’t seem to have grasped this. Stuck in the eighteenth century, it wants canals. I suppose we should be grateful it isn’t proposing to have the taxpayer stump up for coal-mines as well.
Posted in Built heritage, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Foreign parts, Forgotten navigations, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Irish waterways general, Operations, People, Politics, Rail, Restoration and rebuilding, Tourism, Ulster Canal, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged Benburb, Blackwater, boats, bridge, canal, Clones, department of arts heritage and the gaeltacht, Department of Community Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, Erne, Ireland, Lough Neagh, Operations, Sinn Fein, Strabane, tyrone, Ulster Canal, waterways, Waterways Ireland
Another extract from F E Prothero and W A Clark eds A New Oarsman’s Guide to the Rivers and Canals of Great Britain and Ireland: Cruising Club Manual, George Philip & Son, London 1896. The lack of detail suggests to me that Prothero did not travel this route himself.
Posted in Built heritage, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Foreign parts, Forgotten navigations, Industrial heritage, Ireland, People, Restoration and rebuilding, Ulster Canal, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged Armagh, Benburb, Blackwater, boats, bridge, canal, canoe, Clones, department of arts heritage and the gaeltacht, Erne, Ireland, lock, lost, Prothero, Ulster Canal, waterways