Lough Allen Canal.
We took advantage of the beautiful day yesterday by walking along part of the Lough Allen Canal. We parked by the bridge at Ardcolum and walked to the end of the path on that side overlooking Acres Lake.
Walking by the canal you can imagine it as a busy waterway many years ago. The canal was opened in 1817 to transport coal and iron from the western shores of Lough Allen. In 1887 the narrow gauge railway line was opened, and as this provided a quicker and more convenient mode of transport, the canal soon became obselete. Commercial traffic ceased entirely in the 1930s and the canal became clogged with weeds.
In the 1970s the canal was dredged and it now provides a passage for cruisers and boats between Battle Bridge and Lough Allen. On the other side of the canal the path takes you to the forestry that has been cut down last year leaving an eyesore on the landscape as you drive into Drumshanbo.
The cut away forest also revealed the remains of a lovely stone cottage plus several outbuildings. With lovely views over Acres Lake and Drumshanbo one wonders why this area was ever planted? Where did the occupants go? Did they emigrate or some ill befall them? All these thoughts go through my brain as I walk around this once lovely homestead. I am drawn to these old buildings but somehow filled with sadness at their decline. I wonder why it is mostly blow-ins like ourselves who revive and make these old place live again?