The Ulster Canal
The 46 miles/74 km long Ulster Canal, from Wattlebridge on the River Finn to Charlemont on the River Blackwater, when planned in 1815 was seen as a vital link between Lough Neagh, the western counties of Fermanagh, Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal and eventually the Shannon via the Ballinamore to Ballyconnell Canal, giving Ireland an integrated canal network stretching from Coleraine, Belfast and Newry in the North to Limerick, Waterford and Dublin in the South. Unfortunately by the time of its opening in 1841 the world had moved on; for various reasons the canal never saw the level of freight transport its builders envisaged and, by 1931, the canal had been closed. Today, things have moved full circle and, with the emergence of tourism and leisure as a major industry, once again the need for this vital piece of infrastructure is to the fore to allow Northern Ireland to share in the tourism boom the Republic’s inland waterway system has caused. For over thirty years the re-opening of the Ulster Canal has been the passionate dream of historian and waterways expert Brian Cassells, so come with him now on a stroll along the banks of the Ulster Canal through the pages of this book to learn of its history, the traumas of its inception, the struggles of its 90 year commercial life leading to its closure and the exciting prospects of what a rejuvenated Ulster Canal could become.