Those who continue to harbour dreams of a glorious future for Newry Canal are grossly misguided, to say the least: for most of the 19 mile stretch from Newry to Portadown it is so silted up (I estimate an average 3 inches of water)…
The plight of the poor has always proved a fruitful opportunity for unprincipled entrepreneurs to line their own pockets. By the mid-nineteenth century records of Shipping Intelligence for British ports (including the Port of Newry) show dominance of imports from British North America –
Overall the record of ships departing Newry for New York reveals a remarkably low level of mortality in transit (twenty-three in all). It is all the more notable therefore, that the sailing of the Sarah Parker in January 1850 should have had such tragic results, with the death of eleven infants aged one and under.
The Irish famine, it hardly needs emphasising, had an enormous impact on the course of Irish history. Its ramifications impinged greatly not only on the demography of the country but also on its socioeconomic and cultural development.
Mr. Charles McCann, a well-known and respected Newry seaman, was one of eleven men drowned when a ship floundered after striking rocks. The crew numbered forty-nine and eleven men are still missing. The crew took to the boats and twenty-seven succeeded in getting to land.
We all recall from our school days, tales of cruel shore people luring ships’ captains unto rocks with bright lights. They were after the spoils of wrecks, and they cared not at all for the watery fate of sailors