Anyone 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.
The 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.
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.
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 🙂
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
Monaghan Rotary club are organising a 10.5km walk, run or cycle using the Ulster Canal Greenway to link up four fitness centres in the town.
The event takes place on Sunday 12th April. For more information, and to book your start time, contact one of the following:
- Four Seasons Hotel & Leisure Club – Ciaran McMullan…
- Hillgrove Hotel, Leisure & Spa – Ann Daly
- Monaghan Leisure Complex – Ciaran Murtagh
- Fitness Habit – Phyllis Moffett
You will need, jogging or walking gear, and if you wish a bicycle & swim wear
Select one of the leisure centres as your home venue, where you will start and finish. You will need to decide in advance which method you want to use to get from venue to venue, as you will need to use the same method throughout.
1. Register at your home venue
2. Cycle or walk/run to the next venue
3. If you cycled use a treadmill or cross trainer for 20 minutes
If you walk/run use a spinning cycle for 10 minutes
4. Cycle or walk/run to the next venue
5. If you cycled use a treadmill or cross trainer for 20 minutes
If you walk/run use a spinning cycle for 10 minutes
6. Cycle or walk/run to the next venue
7. If you cycled use a treadmill or cross trainer for 20 minutes
If you walk/run use a spinning cycle for 10 minutes Cycle or walk
8. Cycle or walk/run to your home venue , where you finish
9. Swim for 10 minutes / or for non swimmers ( and those using Fitness Habit as their home venue) do 10 minutes on the rowing machine at your home venue
10. Sign off and collect your tee shirt
While the event is intended to be a challenge rather than a race, an element of competition can be included between those cycling, and those running – as the venue elements are fixed time.
Monaghan County Council is pleased to announce that its sister organisation, the Blackwater Regional Partnership, has secured just under £50,000 sterling from the PEACE III Programme/ NI Arts Council to commission a piece of sculpture to be placed along the Greenway.
The sculpture is to serve as a reminder of the role the Ulster Canal once played in facilitating the flow of people and goods through the region which came to be divided by the Border, and also to express the hope that it will once again fulfil that role in its new life as a Greenway in the coming years.
Artists Maree Hensey and Mark Ryan are working with three local community groups to finalise the design of the piece, which it is hoped will be in place before the end of the summer. Thanks to Monaghan Neighbourhood Youth Project, Teach na nDaoine Homework Club and the National Learning Network for participating in this project.
You can follow progress of the community workshops here:
Ooh we are so angry! Found this guy parked on the greenway cycle lane on the mall road for over an hour this eve. So what’s the big deal? It’s a contra flow cycle lane on a one way street. He’s forcing cyclists out into the oncoming traffic – and since it’s a one way street, motorists arent going to be watching out for them. But sure nobody ever uses it: emmmm yes they do – almost 70,000 in its first 12 months, many of whom were children. Maybe he didnt realise: yes he did – we have spoken to the gentleman personally and explained the hazard politely. He knows he could cause someone to be killed. Sure maybe it was just the once: the guy lives on the mall road. We see him parked here regularly. Maybe there was nowhere else to park?: wrong again. The ENTIRE right hand side of the mall road, starting just 10 yards from where he is parked in this photo was EMPTY. this guy just doesnt give a s#!+. People of Monaghan, please share this post to let this guy know that putting our children’s lives at risk merely so he has 10 yards less to walk to his house is NOT OK. thx. Rant over – for now……
The first section of the Ulster Canal Greenway, from the Bypass into Old Cross Square, is now open a year. So we thought we’d mark the occasion with a look at the usage numbers.
49,485 visits were made along the Greenway during 2014
5,666 of these were made by bikes
43,819 were on foot
The second section, from the Glen Road to the Threemilehouse Road, opened in mid May 2014. In its first six months, this section has seen 35,624 visits; 4341 on bikes and 31,283 on foot.
We’d especially like to thank those mad runners who use the Greenway in the dark with headlamps strapped to their foreheads for helping to boost our numbers!
But our favourite user of the year was the young man in the motorised wheelchair who was seen speeding along with his bicycle-mounted friends. They were having a ball!
The Greenway has finally taken delivery of its ‘face’, that is the Signage which marks the route.
There are ‘trail head’ signs on the Armagh Road, Old Cross Square and Threemilehouse Road, complete with a map of the route and QR codes linking you to more information online. Every junction of the greenway is now also marked with smaller ‘mini-monolith’ signs. The logo will shortly be painted onto the footpath to flag up any turns the user has to make. So no excuses now for getting lost!!
Pictured below are the Municipal District Elected Members, along with MD Co-Ordinator Donal McElwain, inspecting the trailhead sign on the Armagh Road.
The Ecocamp in Teach na nDaoine, organised by the Monaghan County Council’s Environmental Awareness Officer, Nial O Connor, visited the Greenway last week and declared it a resounding success. The new Biodiversity information signs, erected by Monaghan Tidy Towns on frames constructed by the Men’s Shed, were also a big hit. Well done to all!