Lagan News

The first ever comprehensive, free visitor’s guide to the Lagan Canal has been developed.

‘A Guide to the Lagan Canal, Past, Present and Future’ provides a wealth of information on the Canal’s heritage, geography, wildlife and environment along the Canal from Belfast to Lough Neagh. It includes fascinating facts on the current activities, places of interest, suggested family days out and themed visits waiting to be discovered along the towpath for both visitors and locals alike.

The Guide also includes stories of those who lived and worked along the Canal while also looking to the future as it contains information on the plans for restoration and the vision to reopen the entire navigation once again.  

The guide is available to download here
Copies are also available from tourist information centres, local civic centres and visitor venues throughout the region.  Alternatively copies can be requested from the Lagan Canal Trust Office 02838 311688.

Click here to get a copy of the free guide

“The launch of this innovative visitor guide is coming at a very exciting time for the Lagan Canal and the Trust as the campaign gathers pace towards restoration,” commented Cathy Burns, Lagan Canal Restoration Trust Manager.

“For the first time this Guide offers visitors details of all there is to see and do along the Canal and we hope that it encourages many more visitors and local people to take the opportunity to get out and experience the hidden gem that is the Lagan Canal.”

This guide was made possible through funding secured from Lagan Rural Partnership and Axis 3 (Rural Life) of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme and  the Lagan Canal Restoration Trust.

The Sun Shines for National Trails DayAs part of  National Trails Day the Lagan Canal Restoration Trust held a towpath trail on Sunday 3rd October from Lock 12 (Lisburn Civic Centre) to Union Locks.   There were walkers from Aghagallon Walking Club, boaters from the Lagan Branch of the IWAI and canoeists from Lisburn Paddlers Club. The walkers started off down the towpath while the boaters and canoeists followed along the canal with the intention of all meeting for refreshments at the site of Union Locks, Lisburn. During the course of the walk Cathy Burns (Trust Manager) delivered an informative talk to those present covering the heritage of the Lagan Canal and vision for restoration.

The sun shone continuously and after tea, sandwiches and a wee bun, everyone headed back along the same route towards the Civic Centre once again. A great day was had by all and on behalf of the Lagan Canal Trust Cathy Burns would like to thank all those who participated in the event for National Trails Day.

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On the Lagan

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Event Held at Lock 3 on the Lagan Canal
Members of the Lagan Branch of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland and the Lagan Canal Trust held an information evening at Lock 3 and the Lock -Keepers cottage at Newforge. The members were given a guided tour of the newly refurbished visitor centre, cottage and lock by the Landscape Partnership Manager Brendan O’Connor.  Details were given of the process to restore lock 3 on the Lagan Canal including repairs to orginal stonework and installation of new lock gates.
The project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, DCAL and Castlereagh Borough Council.
For more information see

Lough Neagh Boat Rally Held

A successful boat rally was recently held on Lough Neagh by the Lagan Branch of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland and the Lagan Canal Restoration Trust. Over 30 people joined the rally which saw the boats navigate to Ellis’ Gut and the beginning of the Lagan Canal in Lough Neagh.

Here particpants had the unique opportunity to visit Lock 27 and hear about the history of the Canal in the area and the campaign for restoration.

Lough Neagh Boat Rally
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A great day was had by all. Lough Neagh Boat Rally, Ellis' Gut June 2010
Thanks go to the IWAI and Kinnego Marina for all their help and support.

Lagan Canal Guide – Appeal for Information

The Lagan Canal Restoration Trust has been granted funding from the Rural Development Programme to produce a Lagan Canal guide book.  (The first of it’s kind covering the entire length of the canal from Stranmillis to Lough Neagh.) 

The booklet will be a comprehensive guide to the Lagan Canal with information on its past, present and future.  User friendly maps will feature within the guide detailing locks, bridges, and historical sites, places of interest, recreation, visitor facilities and wildlife.

We want a guide informed by the local people of the Lagan corridor.  Many of you will have memories of the Lagan Canal in the past or you may be current users of the towpath and indeed be supporters of the Lagan Canal restoration campaign, we are therefore appealing for your help.

We want a guide informed by the local people of the Lagan corridor.  Many of you will have memories of the Lagan Canal in the past or you may be current users of the towpath and indeed be supporters of the Lagan Canal restoration campaign, we are therefore appealing for your help.

We are very excited about this guide and on completion we will have a very strong marketing tool that can hopefully communicate the mission of the Lagan Canal Restoration Trust, “to achieve the restoration and revitalisation of the Lagan Canal and its corridor...”

We are asking for people to come forward with their memories, stories, anecdotes, photographs etc. relating to the Lagan Canal so that we may include them in our guide.

How to Get Involved
If you have anything to contribute to the Lagan Canal Guide, Past, Present and Future please contact Cathy Burns, Trust Manager on 02838 311675 or email

Special Visitor Returns to the Lagan!

A frequent visitor to the Lagan made a welcome return this January, our friendly grey seal made an appearance in the waters around Lisburn.
Caught on camera by Lagan Branch member Richard Henning, the seal was not shy in having its photo taken, indeed it seemed to quite like to attention!
The seal made its way through the fish pass at Stranmillis and traveled up the Lagan 8 miles to Lambeg in Lisburn where Richard captured these fantastic images.

Lagan Branch member awarded OBE

It is with great pleasure that we at the Lagan Branch of the IWAI are able to announce that its member Mr Brian Cassells has been awarded an OBE in this years New Years honours list. The OBE is an Officer in the Civil Division of The Most Excellent Order of The British Empire and in due course he will be invited to receive this at Buckingham Palace.
Brian has received this award for his services to the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland. This award is richly deserved for all the work he has done and continues to do for our Association and we are extremely proud of this magnificent honour which acknowledges the esteem that our association has also gained by this.

Brian has for years represented the aims of IWAI as a respected voice lobbying and advising national and local government authorities as well as other bodies on many matters related to waterways development. Brian is immediate past President of the IWAI and is currently a member of the IWAI National Executive. Brian also played a key role in promoting the Ulster Canal Restoration Project and is current Chairman of the Lough Neagh Advisory Committee and deputy Chairman of the Lagan Canal Restoration Trust. He is an avid local historian and has researched and written widely on inland navigations and on other aspects of local history. The OBE is a great recognition for all his tireless work, efforts, campaigning and achievements, supported by his wife Maree.

Lagan Canal Restoration Trust
website launched. Visit to see a wealth information on the Lagan and to keep up to date with the restoration campaign.

Lagan Branch Boat Rally Welcomes the Tall Ships to Belfast!
IWAI members from all over Ireland travelled to be part of the 3rd Lagan Boat Rally on the River Lagan. The event which was is supported by the Lagan Canal Restoration Trust and Belfast City Council, took place on the River Lagan in Belfast on Saturday 15th August to coincide with the visit of the Tall Ships. A total of 38 boats took part in the rally which culminated in a flotilla to the Waterfront Hall in Belfast City Centre where a 110 participants enjoyed a civic lunch with the Lord Mayor of Belfast Naomi Long. 

The event was a huge success in raising awareness of the value of the Lagan Navigation to the city of Belfast. It will serve to add impetus to the campaign for restoration of the Lagan canal and highlighted the interests that boat owners from all over Ireland would have in creating an active and vibrant waterway once again, and in getting the Lagan Navigation opened up from Belfast through to Lough Neagh.

The Branch would like to extend thanks to the IWAI members who contributed on the day and to those who travelled from other Branches including the Boyne Branch, Lough Erne Branch, Belturbet Branch, Newry Branch and the River Bann and Lough Neagh Branch. Special thanks are extended to our President Paul Garland and his wife for their attendance.

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