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Ballymahon Students Sail New Waters

Published: 20th March 2013

As the first vessel edged under the bridge and the fleet turned purposely into Richmond Harbour, it was clear that these were no ordinary boats. These were the vanguard of the Heritage Boats that are celebrating the re-opening of the Royal Canal.

The 5th Class students of St. Matthew’s National School from Ballymahon were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the fleet, for in recent weeks they have been participating is a project centred on the Heritage Boats and their links with the canal and incorporating the wider heritage and history of the Royal Canal. The students, supported by the school principal Mr. Herbert Farrell, class teacher Mr. David Morgan and local artist and historian Ms Breege Cassidy along with Mr.Eamonn Brennan (from the Heritage Council funded ‘Heritage in Schools’ service), explored the impact that the Royal Canal has had on the town and its hinterland over the centuries. Longford County Council Library Service via Mrs. Carmel Kelly of Ballymahon Library also assisted the students with their research.

The Heritage Boats now visiting the town, are the very same boats that many decades ago carried the cargos that were the lifeblood of the nation’s commerce and Ballymahon was an important harbour and distribution point on the inland waterway system.

Facilitated by the HBA and part funded by Waterways Ireland, the students have documented their work in a unique publication. With their many new young fans, the old boats of the fleet of the Heritage Boat Association are assured a warm welcome in Ballymahon in the decades ahead.

Further information:
Paul Martin email paul@comma.ie Tel 087 2523908.

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