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16 October 2014
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The Binnian Tunnel

Between 1947 and 1951, a workforce of over 150 courageous men drove a tunnel nearly two and a half miles long underneath Slieve Binnian in the Mourne Mountains.

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You are on Binnian Tunnel - Front Page

Tunnellers reunited 50 years on!

Back underground after 50 years

Wednesday, 28th August 2002 was a very special day for those few remaining Mourne men who worked on the Binnian Tunnel. As a result of your participation in this website, "Your Place & mine", in partnership with the NI Water service, was able to reunite the men in the tunnel they built which was officially opened 50 years ago. The dozen or so workers once again walked in their tunnel and celebrated their achievement.

Tunnellers reunited at Dunnywater 50 years to the day after it was opened in 1952
Tunnellers reunited at Dunnywater 50 years to the day after it was opened in 1952

Click Here to read how their memorable day unfolded, with pictures and video from BBC TV News.

Voices from the Tunnel - A collection of memories in spoken word.

Listen to this audio collection of tunnellers exchanging memories of the work they carried out 50 years ago. Click to Listen    (You will need Real Audio Player to listen.)

Share YOUR memories of the tunnel here by clicking on the REPLY button in the blue panel.
or you can email us at: .

One member has already left this message :
"Wee Rabbie McBurney from Torlis Hill used to let me use the plunger to set off dynamite, under his close supervision of course. At that time there was a lot of younger fellows mostly from around Longstone. Our first real job. "

Slieve Binnian and the Silent Valley Dam
Why a tunnel was needed
Why was it necessary to embark on such a mammoth and seemingly impossible task in the first place? What was the point of a tunnel? Click Here...
the meeting in the middle
The Tunnellers
Only a handful of the original 150 of the tunnellers remain today. Your Place & mine has met with most of them. Read about the men and the conditions they worked in. Click Here...
Contractors engineer at Dunnywater Heading
The Engineers
The challenge was considerable too for the engineering minds that worked out the angles, the algebra, the straightness and the stresses. What worked on paper had to work in practice - first time! Click Here...
3 men at tunnel face
Photos from 1950
Remarkably few photographs were taken of the progress during the tunnelling. Fewer still remain intact today. One man made his entire collection available to us. Click Here...
Workers' Hut constructed from tunnel 'spare ribs'
Contemporary Photos
The scene today may appear very different but if you look harder there is still considerable evidence of the major achievement that took place 50 years back. Click Here...
Compare pictures of 50 years ago with those of today
Then and Now...
It looks like it was always there. Compare the spectacle of the tunnel works of 50+ years ago with the scene today. Click Here...
Old mates meet up in the tunnel after 50 years
The Reunion
Read how "Your Place & mine", in partnership with the NI Water Service, was able to reunite the remaining tunnellers for an anniversary celebration fifty years later which made world news. Click Here...
Who is he - do you know?
Can you Help?
There are still many stories and facts that haven't resurfaced after all the years. Also many of the people in our photos remain unidentified - can you add a piece to this historic jig-saw? Click Here...

The plaque which was presented to every tunneller at the reunion

See the other sections in this article:

Binnian Front Page | Intro & Background | The Tunnellers | The Engineers | Archive Photos | Then & Now | Contemporary Photos | Official Opening | The Reunion | Can you help?

100 Years of History

The hundred year history of the Mournes Water Scheme and the importance of its effect upon the greater part of our industry and society cannot be overemphasised. To read a concise history of Water from the Mournes click here...


Your responses


Jimmy McDowell - June '08
In the late 40's & early 50's there were several Youth Hostels in this area even possible the 30's too any information on them?

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