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16 October 2014
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Here's to the Men, the Mourne Men who built the valley dam.

Art McCartan reads his poem about the men who built the Silent Valley Dam in the 1920s & 30s.

Embankment works - 1928

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Poet Art McCartan reads; "Here's to the men, the Mourne men - who built the valley dam"

 

Art McCartan

Local poet - Art McCartan recites his poetry
at the unveiling ceremony at Silent Valley
22 May 2006

 

Listen to Art reading his poem

 

Here’s to the men, the Mourne men, the gallant hardy clan
Here’s to the men, the Mourne men, who built the Valley dam.

The town of Belfast was growing so fast,
And something would have to be done
You couldn’t rely on the water supply at the height of the summer sun
So a plan it was laid for a dam to be made by the banks of the river Kilkeel
And Lord Carson it was who cut the first sod in nineteen twenty three.

So here’s to the men, the Mourne men, the gallant hardy clan
Here’s to the men, the Mourne men, who built the Valley dam.

It wasn’t long ‘till Annalong was a noisy jam
With shipments of equipment and material for the Silent Valley Dam
And to transport them from the port, a railway line did leave
To run through Moneydarragh up to Bignian and Moonlieve.

So here’s to the men, the Mourne men, the gallant hardy clan
Here’s to the men, the Mourne men, who built the Valley dam.

In the dark of the night the flickering lights cam winding up the Brae
From round Kilcoo, Rathfriland too before the break of day
The boys of Ballymartin, Attical and Ballyvea
From Leestone and the Longstone, fit and ready for the fray.

So here’s to the men, the Mourne men, the gallant hardy clan
Here’s to the men, the Mourne men, who built the Valley dam.

The work was rough and times were tough as you may understand
And eight good men they met their end while working on the dam
But now the breezes sing their peace across this lovely land
To praise the men, the Mourne men, who built the Valley Dam.

So here’s to the men, the Mourne men, the gallant hardy clan
Here’s to the men, the Mourne men, who built the Valley dam.

 

Workmen being lifted by a steam crane.
Workmen being lifted into position by a steam-crane - circa 1929

 

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Some relevant links:

BBC Radio Ulster documentary "The Dam Builders" by Laura Haydon - (30 minutes)

Listen here

 

 

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...

100 Years celebrated
Exactly two years before the unveiling of the memorial plaque to those who died working on the water project, the Water Service celebrated one hundred years of water in the very same place and a gate was unveiled click here to read about it...

The Binnian Tunnel
There is also a large section of this website devoted to the story of the Binnian Tunnel, where you can read about the task and listen to those who carried it out. Click Here to see it.

 


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