Galway’s Corrib Canal and NUI Galway to feature in RTÉ documentary series

The final episode of the current popular TV documentary series, Building Ireland, will look at the Corrib navigation system and its canals, which aspired to transform Galway into a major industrial hub, as well as looking at how the National University of Ireland, Galway, came to be located in the city. The episode will air at 8.30pm on RTÉ One tomorrow (Friday ) , and will be the final episode in the six-part series.

Building Ireland explores and explains how Ireland’s greatest building and engineering achievements came to be, and the impact they had on the development of our towns and cities. In the final part of the series, presenters Tim Joyce, a civil engineer; geographer, Susan Hegarty; and award-winning architect Orla Murphy, will investigate the building of Galway’s canal system, and the impact it had on Galway.

Engineer Tom Joyce will explore how, 150 years ago, with no coal or iron, water was the only natural resource Galway could harness, and so the decision was taken to build a navigation system linking the Corrib to Lough Mask to provide an important transport route from the interior of Connacht out to the Atlantic Ocean. Geographer Susan Hegarty will investigate the terrain for canal building in Connacht. She visits Ballymaclancy Cave, and meets Davy Walsh, lecturer at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, about the difficulties the Cong Canal encountered. They will discuss why the Cong Canal was abandoned in 1854, and what made the subsequent Eglinton Canal a success, accommodating 300 boats and more than 30 water-powered mills.

Architect Orla Murphy will visit the site of NUI Galway to find out how Galway succeeded in having a university situated in the city when major cities of the British Empire such as Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham, were without any. Murphy will also discuss how ecclesiastical influences on architect John Benjamin Keane played a part in the design and layout of the college.

The documentary series, which started Friday September 30, is running for six weeks in total and will conclude with a programme on Galway’s Corrib Canal. The series was produced by Esras Films with director Brian Gray for RTÉ, with the help of sound and vision funding from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, and with the support of incentives for the Irish Film Industry provided by the Government.

Commenting on the series, Peter Kelly, managing director of Esras Films, said: “We are extremely lucky in Ireland to have a fascinating built heritage. The majority of people walk past buildings every day of their lives that are steeped in architectural significance. However, many of us pay little attention to the history of the buildings that surround us. Building Ireland is all about awakening people’s curiosity about landmark sites and buildings throughout the country.”

Further information can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/BuildingIreland.

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