Newry.ie

Local historian John McCabe has discovered what appears to be a forgotten culverted stream with a parapeted stepway going down to sparkling clear water on the Omeath Road.

Mr McCabe thanked Brendan McCabe for tipping him off about the structure which runs down from the direction of historic Bensons Glen at the Omeath Road, Newry. 

John McCabe investigating the hidden stream and stone structure.
John McCabe investigating the hidden stream and stone structure.

As John explains "Workmen have recently been engaged in clearance works in and around the slipway and former sites of the gas tanks and Fathom Locks and they have revealed the remains of a wall close to the roadside and behind it granite steps leading down to the stream."

In Instant Street View from 2010 it shows the wall and steps completely overgrown and seemingly forgotten about as viewed from the roadside close to Bensons Glen. 

A section of the stonework uncovered.
A section of the stonework uncovered.

John continues "The stream is perhaps a culverted tributary from the Glen and its tantalising to think that this half arched stream was part of a full arched culvert and once the main exit for the water flowing from Bensons Glen. 

Another view of the structure.
Another view of the structure.

"As it stands it's bewildering why granite steps were built down to a small stream with half an arch with a wall cutting through it and possibly the wall was added a later stage and the steps were part of a passageway to berthed ships at Fathom Lock?

"Attempting to date the lower part of this structure and culvert we perhaps can look at the one of the three stages of the building of Newry Canal that of the second stage from Newry to Lower Fathom. 

"The aims were to access deeper water and and accommodate larger ships with this section completed in 1769 which ended adjacent to the present day site of O'Hare's Commercials."

John reckons with construction going on around this time there is a good chance descending those steps we could be walking back into the 1760s if not earlier. 

Concluding he said "It's certainly a fascinating wee site which needs to be professionally examined and what I did notice today on closer observation was the clarity of the water but I wasn't tempted to drink it."

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