The Lagan Navigation System, passing through idyllic surroundings from Belfast to Lisburn and beyond to Lough Neagh, was completed in the second half of the 18thCentury.  It accommodated the passage of heavy-laden barges, carrying up to 50 tons or more at a slow rate, pulled by a large work horse.  Eventually motorised barges were introduced, but the horse was still being used right up to the latter days of the system in the 1950s.  The operation was finally eclipsed by the continuing improvements in road transport, with the waterway, its locks and accoutrements falling into disuse.




In a daydream as I pondered,

On a journey I did go,

Wandering by the riverbank,

Where Lagan waters flow;

White blooms of the hawthorn

Scenting the morning air,

Bees gathering nature’s nectar

Waiting there.


I saw a Lighter in midstream,

Plodding to its goal,

Laid low in those dark waters,

Piled high with coal;

Speed of such ungainly ship,

Not measured by the knot,

Negotiating bend and lock,

A crooked course to plot.


Then behold the Bridge of Shaw,

Amid the fields of green,

Overlooked by a Mansion House

Fit for King or Queen;

Draped canopies of oak leaves,

Providing subtle shade,

From the sun’s enquiring rays,

Till daylight was to fade.


Travelling through the mists of time,

One does reel and ramble,

Under tow’ring beech trees,

Beside cascading bramble;

Tranquil breezes lightly blowing,

O’er glazed gleaming water,

Glorious glimmers of the past;

Memories that matter.


Monty Alexander 19.9.98



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *