23 July 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Anyone passing the Coolshannagh roundabout recently can’t help but have noticed construction works on the triangle of ground opposite Grahams, enclosed by the Armagh road, the by-pass and the Ulster Canal Greenway.

Formerly used by Monaghan County Council as a place to deposit spoil from roads projects, this little patch of ground is undergoing a spectacular rebirth, thanks to a PEACE-funded cross-Border arts project linked to the Ulster Canal.

The project is led by Blackwater Regional Partnership, of which Monaghan County Council is a member. The BRP has been working behind the scenes for many years on promoting the concept of re-opening the Ulster Canal.

Last year, they received funding from the Northern Ireland Arts Council to commission three pieces of public art to be installed in communities along the former waterway. The largest of the three artworks is the Monaghan piece, with smaller installations to be placed at Middletown and Caledon to mark the significance of the canal to those two communities.

The original route of the disused Ulster Canal is 78 kilometres long and lies almost exactly half in half on both sides of the Border. The Canal once served to facilitate the movement of people and goods across the region; a region which was fractured geographically by the introduction of the Border, and culturally by the Troubles. Now, with the advent of more peaceful times, the Canal is enjoying a rebirth, and again is facilitating the movement of people, this time along its banks which are being developed as a Greenway.

The artwork was developed by artists Mark Ryan and Maree Hensey, and represents the role of the canal in the region’s history, and in its future. Two curved arms of stainless steel curl upwards, coming together at the top. The …

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