Northern Ireland

Historic barge returns to River Lagan to boost tourism

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Media captionThe barge returned to the River Lagan on Monday as part of a tourism project

An original 1871 barge has been delivered to the River Lagan in Belfast as part of a new tourism project.

Barges, known as "lighters", were an important feature of industrial life on the Lagan, and the historic barge was used for decades in the linen industry.

The 150-year-old barge has a rich cultural legacy, but in recent years it fell into disrepair and ended up abandoned in the Republic of Ireland. It was found on waste ground beside the River Shannon, County Roscommon.

The mooring of the barge beside the old lock keeper's cottage is the first stage in an extensive restoration programme to return the Lagan Lighter to its original condition.

Image caption The barge will be restored to its original condition

Supported by the Lagan Rural Partnership through the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme, the project will enhance the Lagan Lock area for visitors.