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Celebrating the Three Sisters Navigation

5th April 2011
Celebrating the Three Sisters Navigation
This year, on inland waterways, the River Barrow and her sisters, the Nore and the Suir, will greet again some old friends, the barges of the Heritage Boat Association (HBA). These barges, or canal boats as they are more accurately known, are the same boats that in their earlier working lives carried the cargos that were the commercial lifeline of Ireland.

This year we celebrate the 220th anniversary of the opening of the Barrow Navigation. This linked the Grand Canal with the rivers Barrow, Nore and Suir, and opened up a large area of the hinterland to the great ports of Dublin and Waterford. When the canals closed to commercial traffic in the 1960s it was feared that all use of the navigation would soon cease. Indeed, non-commercial traffic did become very light, but now, following excellent remedial works by Waterways Ireland we welcome a new era for this navigation, one which will bring new life and vitality to the waterway in the towns and villages along the system.

A hundred years ago, 1,200 boatmen were engaged in the business of transporting cargo, connecting people in inland towns with those in Irish ports, and in turn linking them with the great sea ports of the world. Today, many of their descendants live along our inland navigations.

Three of these great canal boats, numbers 72M, 68M and 107B, escorted by a flotilla of other HBA boats will, over the next few months, travel the entirety of the Navigation including Carlow, Waterford, Carrick on Suir, Inistioge and all points in between. The crews are anxious to meet with those whose families had connections with the commercial trade along the waterway, and perhaps even re-unite some long retired boatmen with their old boat.

The following are the expected arrival dates in various locations over the next few weeks:

° Carlow April 9th from 14.00
° Leighlinbridge April 16th from 14.00
° Bagenalstown April 24th from 13.00

Published in Inland Waterways
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