Tag Archives: Newry

Dargan, O’Regan, steam and the Newry Canal

I wrote here about Simon O’Regan’s passenger-carrying screw steamer tried on the Grand Canal in Dublin in 1850. I am grateful to John Ditchfield for pointing me to an article about what happened next: steam trials on the Newry Canal in 1850, but this time with a lumber (freight) boat.

I would welcome more information about Simon O’Regan or about the use of steam power on the Newry Canal.

Some updates

Very often, when I’m visiting a waterway site, I take as many photographs as possible of anything that catches my eye, without worrying [at the time] about what an artefact is or what it does. Then, when I get back to my computer, I try to work out what everything was. Sometimes I find that the camera has recorded something I didn’t notice; sometimes I find there are aspects I just don’t understand (not being at all a technical person). In such cases, I put photos on this site and make it clear that I don’t understand them.

My hope is, of course, that a knowledgeable person will explain them, and that very thing has just happened with some pages on waterways of Ulster and thereabouts. John Ditchfield has very kindly explained several aspects of the machinery shown; I have inserted his explanations into the text on these pages:

I am very grateful to John for taking so much trouble and for sharing his expertise with me and with all who read these pages.

Victoria’s secrets

Her Late Majesty Victoria, by the grace of god of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, had at least two locks named after her on this island: one at Meelick on the Shannon and the other at Upper Fathom on the Newry Ship Canal. This page gives a brief account of the canal’s history; it has links at the bottom to six pages (made up almost entirely of photographs) on aspects of the lock and its operation. Several of those aspects are not clear to me and I would welcome enlightenment about both the former manual operations and the current hydraulic operations.

Canal parties

I wondered recently whether the proposed canal to Clones was really a Sinn Féin canal. And I have also wondered whether the proposed restoration of the Lagan Navigation was a Unionist riposte, to be undertaken without the involvement of cross-border implementation bodies. With Michael McGimpsey having supported it, I thought of it as an Ulster Unionist project: although there seems to have been some DUP interest in at least some aspects, I’d have thought the Upper Bann was more DUP territory, with at least part of the Lower Bann staunchly supporting Ulster Scots heritage.

Now (h/t Industrial Heritage Ireland) comes news that the SDLP has got itself a canal: it wants the Newry Canal to be handed over to Waterways Ireland by the four local authorities that currently own it. This would extend the influence of the cross-border body into another area of Northern Ireland and bring it even into Portadown.

The Newry and Portadown Branch of the IWAI wants the thing restored and no doubt the local authorities (who have maintained it as a popular walking and cycling route) would be glad to get it off their budgets. Waterways Ireland, alas, remains deaf to my blandishments and is determined to have the Ulster Canal made navigable instead of setting up a walking and cycling route, and no doubt it would welcome having the good folk of Newry and Portadown lobby for it to get United Kingdom taxpayers’ money (if there ever  is any to spare) to restore the Newry Canal.

But the major question that nobody has answered is this: what is the Alliance Party doing? What canal does it want restored?