River Lagan

River Lagan

The River Lagan (derive|Irish|An Lagáin|river of the low-lying district) is a major river in Northern Ireland which runs 40 miles (60 km) from the Slieve Croob mountain in County Down to Belfast where it enters Belfast Lough, an inlet of the Irish Sea. The River Lagan forms the border between County Antrim and County Down.

The Lagan in Belfast

The name Belfast originates from the Irish "Béal Feirste", or the mouth of the Farset, the river on which the city was built. Interestingly, the Farset has been superseded by the River Lagan as the most important river; the Farset now languishes under the city's High Street in obscurity.

In 1989 the Laganside Corporation was established by the Government to redevelop the areas surrounding the Lagan in Belfast. One of the earliest and most important undertakings of the Corporation was the Lagan Weir. Completed in 1994 at a cost of £14m, the weir controls the level of water upstream. One of the main functions of the weir was to put an end to the appearance of unsightly mud flats at low tide. This was mostly successful, but mud flats are still evident on the river.

The weir is a series of massive steel barriers which are raised as the tide retreats so as to keep the river at an artificially constant level. This, improvements to the sewerage system and massive dredging of the river by mechanical excavators has led to a marked improvement in water quality and the environment around the river.

Major developments of the Laganside Corporation along the river include the regeneration of the city's former Gasworks, the Odyssey entertainment and leisure development and the Lanyon Place development which includes the Waterfront Hall, in many ways the flagship of the corporation.

The river is used by a number of rowing clubs including Queens University Boat Club, Queens Ladies Boat Club, Methodist College Boat Club, R.B.A.I Rowing Club, Belfast Rowing Club (BRC) and Lagan Scullers Club.The Boathouses are all based between the Governors Bridge and the Stranmillis Weir.

The Lagan in Lisburn

In a similar way to the regeneration of Belfast riverside Lisburn City Council has embarked on a series of developments around the River Lagan. The centre-piece of this strategy has been the Lagan Valley Island complex; a new headquarters for the council and an Arts Centre, wedding and conference facilities and a restaurant. Opened in 2001 the building is surrounded by the Lagan on one side and a channel linked to the river on the other.

The Lagan Navigation

The Lagan was formerly made navigable and linked with Lough Neagh, however by the mid twentieth century the route had fallen into disuse and was largely derelict. The M1 motorway (Northern Ireland) was built across the route. Currently, the section of the navigation's towpath running from Lisburn to almost the centre of Belfast has been restored.

ee also

*List of rivers of Northern Ireland

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