I have remarked before that Sinn Féin seems to be devoted to the leading-edge communications technology of the eighteenth century, the canal. I have no idea why it takes such an interest in the subject, but further evidence of its devotion has emerged in the last week.
The Fermanagh Herald reported, on 5 May 2013, that Michelle Gildernew MP [whose Sinn Féin page seems to have disappeared] listed the Clones Sheugh amongst the jobs on which European taxpayers should spend money. She did so at a meeting with Colette Fitzgerald, head of the European Commission’s Belfast office; Ms Fitzgerald made polite noises but did not promise any money.
But Sinn Féin does not confine itself to Clones. Carál Ní Chuilín MLA, whose Sinn Féin web page is live but well out of date, is (as Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure) the NI minister responsible for Waterways Ireland. We learn from the Londonderry Sentinel that she wanted Waterways Ireland to be landed with responsibility for the Strabane Sheugh.
Happily, the North South Ministerial Council shot that down, but the minister wants to see whether the unfortunate Strategic Investment Board can find any loot for the canal. It might be better if they were asked to find a use for it first: even if it were restored, it would be unlikely ever to see more than a few small boats in a year. It might provide a walking route, for which (pace the Clones dudes) neither locks nor water would be needed, but the Londonderry Sentinel leaves me unclear whether the towpath is usable. It says:
A year ago the Sentinel reported the ‘tow path’ section of the Strabane Canal was to open for the first time in 50 years in June 2012.
It doesn’t say that the towpath did reopen, which seems odd; a Belfast Telegraph article of June 2012 says that it was reopened temporarily but WalkNI says that it is being restored. So is it open or not? I’d like to know, because I favour walking routes along unrestored canals, as does the learned IndustrialHeritageIreland, which also notes encouraging interest from Monaghan County Council.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Foreign parts, Forgotten navigations, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Operations, People, Politics, Restoration and rebuilding, Sources, Tourism, Ulster Canal, Water sports activities, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged boats, bridge, canal, Carál Ní Chuilín, Clones, department of arts heritage and the gaeltacht, department of culture arts and leisure, Erne, greenway, Ireland, Lough Neagh, Michelle Gildernew, Operations, Shannon-Erne Waterway, sheugh, Sinn Fein, Strabane, towpath, Ulster Canal, walk, waterways, Waterways Ireland
In today’s Sunday Business Post Jasper Winn, the paper’s Hardy Outdoor Correspondent, describes a five-day walk along the Grand Canal, from Harold’s Cross to Shannon Harbour. He did it in winter, camping out on the bank overnight despite its being so cold that the canal froze over, and finishing some of his days’ walks in the dark.
The SBP operates a paywall so you may not be able to see the page, but this is the link in case you want to try.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Natural heritage, People, Scenery, Shannon, Tourism, Water sports activities, waterways, Weather
Tagged canal, Daingean, Dublin, frost, Grand Canal, ice, Ireland, Jasper Winn, lock, Operations, Sallins, Shannon, Shannon Harbour, Sunday Business Post, walk, waterways, Waterways Ireland
Waterways Ireland and a local authority have cooperated in opening a canalside walking and cycling path!
And an excitable minister opened it, saying
This has huge potential for tourism but it also has a huge knock on effect for communities in the health benefit facilities like this bring and this, in turn has benefits in reducing the press on our health services as well. I want to see more walkways because I want to see more people out walking and seeing the natural beauty that we here in Ireland are blessed to have around us.
And rightly so. But you don’t need an expensive canal in order to provide a walk.
Posted in Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Foreign parts, Forgotten navigations, Irish waterways general, Natural heritage, Non-waterway, Operations, People, Politics, Restoration and rebuilding, Scenery, Ulster Canal, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged Ballinamore, boats, bridge, canal, Clones, department of arts heritage and the gaeltacht, Erne, Ireland, Lough Neagh, Michael Ring, Operations, Shannon, Shannon-Erne Waterway, Ulster Canal, walk, waterways, Waterways Ireland