NI Water has completed the current schedule of repairs on the 100-year-old Mourne Wall.
This most recent phase of the Mourne Wall Restoration Project saw over 600 repairs undertaken along the 22mile-long granite structure – including a 27m collapse on Slieve Bernagh – as well as extensive path works. The project, which was originally estimated to take four years, was completed in less than two. Geda Construction was the contractor on this major project working in partnership with local stonemasons and RPS.
Hand built by the Belfast Water Commissioners between 1904 and 1922 to mark and protect the 9,000-acre water catchment which feeds the Silent Valley and Ben Crom Reservoirs, the wall has been a listed building since 1996 and today is in the ownership of NI Water.
Speaking about the recent restoration project Paul Harper, NI Water’s Director of Asset Delivery said:
“Less than two years on, I am delighted that this initial phase of work has been successfully completed. I would like to thank Mourne Heritage Trust, NIEA, National Trust and Trustees of Mourne for their guidance and assistance throughout the project and pay tribute to the strenuous efforts exerted by the contractors and wider project team in reaching this milestone so quickly.
“While this phase of restoration has been funded through NI Water’s current capital works programme, we are aware that the wall may suffer further deterioration in the future. NI Water is committed to undertaking subsequent surveys and, subject to funding, carrying out repairs during the next 6-year capital works programme which commences in April 2021.”
Working through all types of weather, the team hiked up to 6km a day to carry out the repairs. Fortunately, for the bulk of the restoration work, the stone was lying adjacent to the wall. Missing capping stones – weighing up to 120kg each - were sourced from local quarries and donated by the National Trust, transported to site by helicopter and rolled into placed using age-old methods.