All posts by Carol Lambe

Community Development Officer, Monaghan County Council

Public Consultation on draft Development Strategy

Waterways Ireland, and their project partners Monaghan County Council, Cavan County Council, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Armagh City Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council, East Border Region Ltd and Mid Ulster Council, propose to develop a long-distance Greenway in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, linking Castle Saunderson in County Cavan to Charlemont in County Armagh mainly along the route of the disused Ulster Canal and using sections of disused railway infrastructure. The proposals for development of these greenway sections are provided within the Ulster Canal Greenway Development Strategy.

The draft Ulster Canal Greenway Development Strategy and associated environmental reports will be available for public consultation from the 28th April 2017 until the 21st July 2017. As part of this public consultation there will be four public information events held, which will demonstrate the proposed greenway routes, with cross sections, related imagery, and interactive mapping available.

The public information events are as follows:

Courtyard Room, Newtownbutler Community Hall, Co Fermanagh Monday 8th May

 

3-8pm
Market House in Monaghan Town, Co Monaghan Tuesday 9th  May 3-8pm

 

Seven Horseshoes,  Belturbet, Co Cavan Wednesday 10th May 3-8pm
Middletown Market House, Co. Armagh Thursday 18th May Awaiting confirmation

You can view the draft Development Strategy here:  Draft Ulster Canal Development Strategy

You can view the Habitats Regulations Screening Report which has been carried out on the route proposed in the draft Development Strategy here: Ulster Canal Greenway Development Strategy – HRA Screening

You can view the Strategic Environmental Assessment Environmental Report which has been carried out on the draft Development Strategy here: Ulster Canal Greenway Development Strategy – SEA Environmental Report

The documentation will also be  on display at the Main Offices of each of the Partner Organisations.

They will also be available on the Partners’ websites.

Your comments and feedback on the draft Ulster Canal Greenway Development Strategy and associated environmental reports are welcome on or before July 21, 2017.

By email: cormac.mccarthy@waterwaysireland.org
By post:  Ulster Canal Greenway Development Strategy
Cormac McCarthy
Environment & Heritage Section
Waterways Ireland
Dock Road
Drewsborough
Scarriff
Co. Clare
Ireland

Big News! Phase II is on the Way!

At last!  Everyone else was talking about it, but we weren’t allowed to say……..but last Friday, the funders finally officially announced it, so now we can too!!

After two years of hard (but very enjoyable) work with our colleagues in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Cavan County Council, Fermanagh and Omagh Council, East Border Region Partnership and Waterways Ireland,  we have NEWS 🙂

We started out with an ambitious plan to develop a long distance greenway across the whole of mid Ulster.  We have developed a map of possible routes and an outfit called RPS have been working on an SEA (Strategic Environmental Assessment) since early this year.

Because the route is SO long, we knew it couldn’t possible be delivered all in one go, so we identified various sections which could be done in phases.  One of these phases, from Smithboro in Co. Monaghan, in to Monaghan town to connect to the existing 4.2km of canal greenway, then continuing from the far end of the greenway onwards into Co. Armagh to Middletown,  was submitted last December to the INTERREG VA Programme under their Cross Border Greenways measure.  On Friday last, December 9th, the Special EU Programmes Body announced an allocation of €4.95 million to the project. 

The funding will cover the design and construction of a 3m wide walking and cycling track along the tow path of the disused Ulster Canal.  Where necessary, fencing, gates and lighting will be included.  Local connections with key places of business, schools and residential areas along the route are also planned, as is a connection along the N2 bypass over to the  Dublin road.  A Community Engagement programme is planned, to support people to make the shift out of their cars, at least for some shorter journeys, and to walk and cycle more.

The project route still has to be tied down in detail, and planning permission etc still has to be gone through. consultation with landowners along the route will commence in spring 2017. We expect, all going well, that construction will get underway by the end of 2018, and that work will be largely complete by the end of 2020.

There will be two posts created to oversee the delivery of the project. These will be based in Monaghan County Council, and will be advertised over the next few weeks in the local press, on the Council’s website, and here.

One will be a Project Manager post, pitched at Executive Engineer level. This will be a 4 year contract on a full time basis

The other will be a Financial Administrator post, pitched at Clerical Officer level. This will also be for 4 years, but on a part time, 20 hours a week basis

We will be re-designing this website shortly, to make room for Phase II,  the SEA on the Regional route, and other developments as they happen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you seen the Kavanagh Mural yet?

A hundred thousand thank you’s to Monaghan Tidy Towns who commissioned Inniskeen artist, Geraldine Martin, to paint fellow Inniskonian Patrick Kavanagh’s poem ‘Canal Bank Walk’ onto the fence down at Sheriff’s Bridge (near the Armagh Road end of the greenway).  Over the past few months, weather allowing, Geraldine has been quietly adding lines of text and populating the spaces with all manner of quare creatures – including Kavanagh himself, who wrote his canal poems whilst recuperating from cancer treatment by lying on the banks of the Grand Canal near his home in Dublin.

Kavanagh later attributed his spiritual re-awakening, his re-connection with nature and with the ability to look afresh at ordinary things and see the extraordinary in them as he had once been able to as a young man, to his time lying on the canal banks, often with his shoes and socks off,  surrounded once again by nature and allowing himself to become immersed in it.

Today they call this ‘mindfulness’ and pay a fortune to be shown how to achieve it………..

Why not take a stroll along the Ulster Canal Greenway and let Patrick and Geraldine transport you into a world where ‘life pours ordinary plenty’……

 

geraldine martin

Have you registered yet for this year’s Darkness Into Light event? Sat 7th May

The Ulster Canal Greenway is proud to once again host this great event, aimed at raising awareness of – and funds for – those affected by suicide.

Starting in darkness at 4.15am on Saturday 7th May,  and crossing the line just as dawn is breaking, the phenomenon that is Darkness Into Light, Pieta House’s annual 5km walk/run, is now in its eighth year, with over 100 venues across Ireland and beyond lined up.

You can register online using this link http://dil.pieta.ie/…/venue-vi…/darkness-into-light-monaghan

Or you can come along to pre-register at the following locations around Monaghan in the lead-up to the big day:

 

Everyone is welcome its a great cause so why not get involved .

 

Walk Leader Training Course

Community Walking Leader Training – 23rd / 24th April 2016 at the Four Seasons Hotel, Monaghan.

The Irish Heart Foundation, in conjunction with Monaghan Sports Partnership and HSE Health Promotion, will run a Community Walking Leader Training Course, April 23rd-24th in Monaghan Town (out of the Four Seasons Hotel and using the Greenway).

The training is primarily aimed at those wishing to lead a local walking group or promote walking in their community or workplace. The course comprises of a weekend of training and a follow up 4 week leader task to try out your new walking leader skills. Irish Heart Foundation, HSE Health Promotion and the Irish Sports Council are subsidising the course and there is a nominal fee of €50 which will cover your training, materials and two lunches.

The course will run on Saturday April 23rd (9am-5pm) and Sunday April 24th (9am-2.00pm). During the weekend you will gain a greater understanding of the health benefits of walking, learn to develop and lead a local walking session for mixed fitness levels, receive advice on starting a new walking group or promoting an existing group and gain a greater understanding of posture, technique, stretching and safety issues for a successful walk. For more information on the course or to register please contact Tara Curran, tcurran@irishheart.ie or download an application form from www.irishheart.ie/sli or contact Monaghan Sports Partnership for a further discount of €10 to any participant from Monaghan who books and pays for their course before Wednesday 20th April. 042-9755126

 

The PEACE-funded sculpture has arrived

Installed piece3Anyone passing the Coolshannagh roundabout recently can’t help but to have noticed construction works on the triangle of ground opposite Grahams’, enclosed by the Armagh road, the Bypass and the Ulster Canal Greenway.  Formerly used by Monaghan Co Co as a place to deposit spoil from roads projects, this little patch of ground is undergoing a spectacular rebirth, thanks to a PEACE-funded cross border arts project linked to the Ulster Canal.

The project is led by Blackwater Regional Partnership, of which Monaghan County Council is a member. The BRP has been working behind the scenes for many years on promoting the concept of re-opening the Ulster Canal.  Last year, they received funding from the Northern Ireland Arts Council to commission three pieces of public art to be installed in communities along the former waterway. The largest of the three artworks is the Monaghan piece, with smaller installations to be placed at Middletown and Caledon to mark the significance of the canal to those two communities.

The original route of the disused Ulster Canal is 78km long and lies almost exactly half in half on both sides of the border. The Canal once served to facilitate the movement of people and goods across the region; a region which was fractured geographically by the introduction of the border, and culturally by the Troubles.  Now, with the advent of more peaceful times, the Canal is enjoying a rebirth, and again is facilitating the movement of people, this time along its banks which are being developed as a Greenway.

Installed piece1The artwork was developed by artists Mark Ryan and Maree Hensey, and represents the role of the canal in the region’s history, and in its future.  Two curved arms of stainless steel curl upwards, coming together at the top. The shape is reminiscent of a crashing wave, and the surface of the steel has been roughened so that when the sunlight hits it, it splits into many dancing facets, similar to the effect of sunlight dancing on water.  A bronze sphere rests on the arms, giving a sense of movement.  Symbols on the sphere include leaves to represent the rich biodiversity along the canal, waved lines to represent its watery heritage, and 26 circles to represent the 26 locks along the canal. The artwork is about connectivity, renewal, making a different future, finding purpose and a peaceful way forward.Installed piece2

The artists were assisted in developing the symbols to be used on the sphere by three local groups, who participated in a series of art workshops earlier this year.  Monaghan County Council would like to thank the National Adult Learning Network, the Neighbourhood Youth Project and Teach na nDaoine’s homework club for their part in bringing the artwork to life.  A record of their work was placed in a time capsule and inserted into the base of the sculpture.

Today marked an important date in the project, with the sculpture arriving on site and being installed on its concrete plinth.  Council gardener, Dennis Flannery will now get to work on landscaping the surrounding ground and bringing his own interpretation to bear on the story of the Ulster Canal.

100,000 users and counting!

We’ve cracked it!  We just collected the user data on the Greenway for the first quarter of this year, and are excited to announce that we have passed the 100,000 user mark!  102.056, to be exact!

Section 1, which opened in December 2013 has had 61,019 users to date, and Section 2, which opened in June 2014, has recorded 48,053 users

We’re glad you’re enjoying this wonderful facility 🙂

Have you seen our new photos?

We had our first professional photoshoot along the Greenway last week – considering it was bitterly cold and we had to keep dodging deluges of rain of near-biblical proportions, we think they turned out rather well!

Thank you to Barry Doherty and family, Oliva Johnston Murphy and family,  Jill Condell and family,  and Mia the dalmatian (who wasn’t happy she didn’t get an easter egg for her trouble like everyone else!)

Have a look: http://wp.me/P4KY9p-5Y