Lagan Canal Trust Event

Poet and the UK's official Canal Laureate Jo Bell to perform as part of a series of events celebrating the Lagan Canal's 250th anniversary

Throughout the month of September 2013, a series of family friendly events will be hosted by Lagan Canal Trust and other partners, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Lagan Navigation between Belfast and Lisburn.

Poet, writer and the UK’s first ever Canal Laureate, Jo Bell, will be the special guest on September 4 at the ‘Listen to the Lagan’ event taking place at the Lagan Valley Island, Lisburn.

Supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the evening will celebrate the history and people of the Lagan Navigation in poetry and song, featuring musicians and speakers. Bell will read a specially commissioned poem about the waterways and its history.

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council, commented: 'We are extremely pleased that the UK’s first ever Canal Laureate will be joining us on this significant occasion as we build up towards National Poetry Day on October 3.

'Jo is a boat dweller and an acclaimed poet who takes her inspiration from the magnificent canals and rivers that form the landscapes around her. This is her first official visit to Northern Ireland and I’m sure she will be captivated with the canals, green space, wildlife and history we are fortunate to have.'

Bell has worked all over the UK on poetry projects large and small. As well as her recent role as director of National Poetry Day, Bell has also been Glastonbury Festival poet in residence and Cheshire Poet Laureate. 

Bell came to the canals through her work as an archaeologist, working with historic narrowboats. She has lived aboard her 67ft narrowboat Tinker for a decade, mostly on the canals of the Midlands and North West.

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.'

'Listen to the Lagan' is part of a wider programme of interesting and colourful events to celebrate the 250th anniversary, including a sponsored tow path walk, a BBQ party at the locks, exhibitions, talks and tours, boat trips and a boat rally.

Erskine Holmes, Chairman of Lagan Canal Trust, added: 'We are inviting everyone to join with us in looking back at the rich heritage of the waterway, its industrial past, people and environment. During the events running throughout September, stories from the waterway will be told through poetry and music, and captured in exhibitions.

'The activities planned will also give 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.