Primary Focus Geography - Canals
Jamie Darling goes out and about in the Ulster countryside to discover our forgotten canals. The story begins in the old Tyrone coalfields and Jamie traces the development of our inland waterway system which was designed to carry local coal to Dublin and Belfast. Some Key Stage Two pupils show Jamie around the Newry Inland Canal and Ship Canal and we learn about the heyday of the canals and some of the problems which beset them. We learn how the advent of the railways sounded the death-knell of our canals as viable commercial routes and Jamie explores the remains of the old Lagan and Coalisland Canals and finds that a section of the Lagan Canal between Sprucefield to Moira now lies under the M1 Motorway. We see work in progress at the Island Site in Lisburn where an old canal lock is being restored. Then it's over to the newly restored Shannon-Erne Waterway which provides a model of what can be achieved in bringing a derelict canal back to life. All the leisure activities and rural regeneration which follow restoration are highlighted. Our story ends with the Ulster Canal and the hopes of canal enthusiasts and local people that it will soon be restored and prove to be an artery bringing new life-blood to some quiet corners of the Province.