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Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

Home arrow Vessels arrow Horse Boats arrow Enterprize - Lagan Lighter - Portadown c1890
Enterprize - Lagan Lighter - Portadown c1890 PDF Print E-mail
14 March 2011

 

 
 
It is believed that the Enterprize is the last floating example of a Lagan lighter; she has recently been purchased by Craigavon Museum Service who intend restoring her as a dry land exhibit. She was built in Portadown foundry in the 1890’s, is sixty feet long and thirteen feet six inches wide. She is made of riveted iron, though was re bottomed with welded sheets in Hanna’s dry dock in Lisburn in the early 1950’s.
 
She was one of three barges sold to W D Irwin and was sailed with the Margaret up the Lagan canal to Lough Neagh. The Margaret was eventually scuttled and presently lies sunk at Mulholland’s sand quay. Both barges were re-named by the Irwin family, but to date the original names elude us. Details of the third barge are unknown, we are hopeful we can still find some documentation to complete the picture. The Enterprize operated on Lough Neagh as a sand dredger for quite a number of years before being abandoned in the 1980’s.
 
Originally she would have been horse drawn but was later fitted with a Bolinder engine, which was in turn replaced by a more modern diesel engine which is also now gone. The gentleman who removed the Bolinder, now in his 80’s, still works as a fitter for Irwin’s Bakery. The engine was donated to Lisburn Technical College, the present whereabouts are unknown.
 
The original pot bellied stove and shelving are still in the living quarters. There was a crude cabin constructed on the rear deck, this was not original and has been removed. The original tiller and arm are still in existence even though the steering has been modified. A JCB digger had been mounted on deck; this has also been removed though the girders put in place to strengthen the barge are still in situ.
 
When the boat was lifted ashore in recent years she came complete with a lovely tapered shaft and a big bronze prop. Sadly within 24 hours of being lifted out someone cut through the shaft and stole the prop.
 
Funding to restore the barge has now been secured and we look forward to a new life for this grand old lady as an interpretation centre for the new Inland Waterways Museum at Oxford Island.
 
From ‘Fine Lines – Clear Water’
Last Updated ( 16 November 2011 )
 
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