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16 October 2014

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Antrim Armagh Down Fermanagh Londonderry Tyrone
Portadown to Ponztpass
Portadown to Pontzpass ClipWatch Video Portadown to Pontzpass map


Key Points

We're looking down on a stretch of the River Bann famed as one of the best coarse fishing spots in Europe. At this point, near Portadown, it also connects to the now disused Newry Canal - the oldest in the British Isles.

This house was once home to the Moneypennys - lock keepers on the canal for 85 years. The family also took a note of the barges that passed through here, with their cargoes of fine linen, coal, grain and flax seed.

The birth of the railways brought an end to this prosperous route, and the last commercial journey along the waterway was made in 1936.

The house at Moneypenny's Lock has been restored as a museum piece.

A mile east of Scarva is Lisnagade Fort, which is known to geographers as a large example of a rath. This impressive circular earthwork dates back to around 350AD and measures about 110 metres or 360 feet across.

It's thought that this mound housed the main fort in a group of fortifications dotted around the area.

Only a short distance away is Lisnavaragh Fort, which is similar to Lisnagade in that it features three deep banks and ditches for protection. But it's much smaller than its counterpart.

Excavations here in 1951 uncovered a massive gatepost at the entrance, but very little is known about the original inhabitants.

Another striking example of defensive earthworks is Black Pig's Dyke, which cuts across much of Northern Ireland in huge line. It was effectively a barrier erected by the Ulster kings to protect against invasion.

Like many historical features, it has a mythical story attached to it.

Folklore claims that the dyke was created by a schoolteacher who was also a magician. He was tricked by a rival and turned into a large black pig. This great pig was then hunted across the southern border of Ulster, tearing up the ground with his huge tusks as he ran.

The available evidence tells us that the dyke was built between 300BC and 300AD.

This house was once home to the Moneypennys, lock-keepers on the Newry Canal for 85 years. It has now been restored as a museum.

Lisnagade dates back to around 350AD and measures about 110 metres or 360 feet across.

Lisnagade and Lisnavaragh Fort feature three deep banks and ditches for protection.

The Black Pig's Dyke was a barrier erected by kings of Ulster between 300BC and 300AD to protect against invasion.

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