Newry Canal and South Down



Saturday 18 June
The first lock on the Newry Canal (J087275) is in very fine condition, but the lock-house is almost completely demolished. Lying within the ruins are some fragments of the lock gates. Beside the lock is a stone marked MB which may be a town boundary marker. The next lock (J085281), just beside St Colmanís College, is also in very fine condition. On the opposite bank from the towpath is the low ruin of a very small building and a short distance downstream is a fragment of a larger one. Either one of these may have been the lock-house.

The lock at Goraghwood (J068323) is also in very fine condition and there are substantial remains of the bottom gates. The lock-house stands to full height although the slates have now been removed and all the doors and windows have been blocked up. It is a single-storey house with a room in the attic and a small porch. There is a small single- storey projection on the south wall.

At Jerrettspass (J064332) the fine hump-backed canal bridge was built in the early 19th century. The county border runs just to the east of the bridge and it has been suggested that the small house on the Co Down side may have been a toll-house.














At Knockanarny (J062344) the canal lock is in very good condition. One of the lower gates is almost intact and there are large portions of the upper gates as well as other fragments. The lock-house is now empty but has been lived in recently and is similar to the house at Goraghwood.

In Demoan(J065367) the lock is similar to the rest. The lock-house, just upstream on the left, has been extensively modernised and little resembles the other houses. A short distance further on the canal passes under the railway line. A further short distance to the north-east it is spanned by a small hump-backed bridge known as the "Cracked Bridge" (J071373). The next lock, in Aghantaraghan (J067383) is in better condition than the others with very good lower gates. The lock-house has been greatly modernised.

There are some remains of gates at Poyntzpass Lock (J061393). The buildings nearby may be canal warehouses. At Lough Shark the railway crossing keeperís house is now derelict. The canal sluice-house (J064414) is intact but empty, and is very similar to the lock-houses. Lough Shark was the main water supply to the canal.
At Scarva, to the south of the canal bridge (J064437), is a range of canalside buildings which may have included canal warehouses. One of the buildings has good dormer windows and may have been a dwelling. To the south of Scarva Station is a rusty enamelled GNR notice; yellow writing on cream. Very little remains of the railway station except for the platforms and a typical wooden GNR shelter. The famous piece of topiary, known as "King Billy", is still there. It depicts a seated man wearing a hat. To the north of Scarva, along the Gilford Road, can be seen traces of the Scarva-Banbridge Railway, including portions of the bridge over the canal. To the north of this is the first Terryhoogan Lock (J064451), which has all its gates but no balance beams. The canal is crossed here by Tallyho Bridge. Further north is the second Terryhoogan Lock (J063453).
In Clare Glen, a fine mill-race runs close to the east bank of the Cusher River. It leads to a two-storey building which is now used as a piggery (J022447). If this was a mill there is now no trace of a wheel or turbine which may have been internal.
Sunday 19 June
An enigmatic mound at Cranfield (J272104) was examined. It is subrectangular and features a lot of stone in the face which is steep but not very high. Greencastle (J247118) and the nearby ruined church were noted in passing. Greencastle Motte (J243118) was investigated. It is very steep. There is a great deal of mutilation including a long trench running down the seaward side and some quarrying on the top. At the base of the motte is a row of former coastguard houses which feature oriel windows and defensive loops.
Kilfeaghan Dolmen (J232154) was visited. The weight of the capstone is estimated to be 50 tons. There are good portal stones and the remains of a huge elongated cairn.

Glovet Souterrain (J465372) was inspected. The entrance has been reconstructed. Entry is now through a manhole and down a metal ladder to a good passage about 1.5m high by 5m long. The branch to the left is now clear and is about 5m long. It is blocked by a concrete wall a short distance from the inner end. The first creep is a drop hole - rising hole type and is about 1m long. It leads to a fine passage about 11m long by 1.6m high. The second creep leads to a passage about 14m long by 1.6m high. Both passages are about 1m wide. The third creep leads to the inner passage which is about 5m long and wider than the rest. It forms a T-shape with the rest of the souterrain. Some water lies in the longest passage and there is a good ventilation shaft. The second and third creeps involve climbing over a wall about 50cm high and down through a hole into a passage about 50cm high and 1m long. The construction is of sharp-edged quarried stone and is in good condition throughout.
Two earthworks on Castleskreen Road were investigated. The first (J473398) is a rectangular structure about 38m by 54m and 1.5m maximum height. There is no sign of an outer ditch. Across the road is a rath and motte (J473402). There is a good entrance in the east. A causeway leads through an outer bank, across a ditch and through an inner bank, to a subcircular rath-like platform. More than half of this is occupied by a small oval motte aligned approximately E-W. It is about 20m long by 9m wide at the top. Also in Castleskreen Road is a fine cylindrical well cover with a corbelled roof (J477397).

Ballynoe Stone Circle (J481404) is a very fine structure. Between 40 and 50 stones form a circle about 35m diameter. The largest stone is about 1.5m high by 1m broad. Within the circle is an oval mound about 28m long by 10m wide. This has a very good kerb with at least 25 stones and forming almost an inner circle. At least four outliers form a poor line which runs through the circle. At the front of the circle is a pair of small outliers. These stones do not line up with any obvious horizon feature.

At Struell Wells (J512442) there is the ruin of a rectangular church with large window openings. There are a number of wells and bath houses. The Drinking Well has a magnificent corbelled roof which shows good traces of wicker centering. On the wall outside is a stone with an inscribed cross with expanded ends. Built into the perimeter wall near the well are two stones from the windows of an early church. In the middle of the enclosure is the Eye Well. This has a rectangular cover with a corbelled pyramidal roof. At the far end of the enclosure is a rectangular building known as the Menís Bath House. Beside it is a smaller building, now roofless, known as the Womenís Bath House. The Menís Bath House has a very fine stone roof. Inside is the changing room with wooden seats. The bath is a deep pit entered by a flight of steps and fed by a steady stream of cold water from a stone gutter. This building also houses the womenís changing room. The Womenís Bath House is separate from this and is fed by another steady stream of cold water from a stone spout.



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