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Jo Bell: Canal Laureate


Reads a specially commissioned poem on the 250th anniversary of the Lagan Navigation

Poet, writer and the UK’s first ever Canal Laureate, Jo Bell, made a special appearance at the ‘Listen to the Lagan’ event in September 2013. 

Supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the event celebrated the history and people of the Lagan Navigation in poetry and song, and was one of a series of family-friendly events hosted by Lagan Canal Trust and other partners, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Lagan Navigation between Belfast and Lisburn.

Watch the video below to hear Bell, who is a boat dweller herself, read her specially-commissioned poem, 'Lighter', named after the working boats that ferried produce along Northern Ireland's canals.

Speaking about her role as Canal Laureate, Bell said: 'Good poetry is about noticing. I want people who already know the canals to notice how lucky we are to have them. For people who haven't really noticed them yet, I want to show them the still green space on their doorstep, full of wildlife and histories.'

The Lagan Navigation 250th Anniversary Programme featured an array of interesting and colourful events to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the stretch of canal that formerly connected Belfast with Lisburn.

Erskine Holmes, chairman of Lagan Canal Trust, said: 'The programme was an opportunity for people to look back at the rich heritage of the waterway, its industrial past, people and environment. The activities planned also gave people a chance to get back on the water, use the Lagan Towpath and experience the Lagan Navigation today and be inspired to look forward to our re-opening plans of the future.'

Visit the Lagan Canal Trust website for more information.

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