Publisher: Colourpoint Books
Illustration: Full Colour Photos
Rivers of Belfast
By Des O'Reilly
Are you walking on water?
Belfast owes its existence and name to its rivers. This book is a celebration of these rivers in words and pictures, from the iconic centerpiece of the Lagan, to its many tributaries and the systems that feed into them.
The city was founded beside a ford across the Lagan, on a promontory between the Farset and Blackstaff. These rivers, and the many others that flow into Belfast Lough, rapidly gave the city advantages not only in terms of access to the sea and space for shipbuilding but also the source of power required to fuel the industrial revolution. The mills, foundries and many other industries using these waters were responsible for creating much of the wealth of Ulster.
Today many of the river systems have been hidden away or diverted into tunnels, and run silently beneath the city streets. "Rivers of Belfast" lays bare these hidden watercourses throughout the city, many of which go unknown and unnoticed until they decide to make their presence felt. It was on 16th August, 2008 that the combined forces of the Forth and Blackstaff flooded the new Broadway underpass in just 45 minutes.
The book begins with the geological structure of the Lagan Valley and the way in which the Ice Age established the modern drainage pattern, then follows the human history and its exploitation of the Rivers through the centuries to the present day. A chapter is also devoted to each of twelve minor river systems - the Derriaghy, Colin, Blackstaff, Forth, Legoniel, Farset, Milewater, Ravernet, Purdysburn, Cregagh, Knock and Connswater as well as the Lagan Navigation.
About the Author:
Des O'Reilly is a graduate of Queen's University, Belfast, Ulster University, London University and Denver University, Colorado. He is a teacher and geography lecturer by profession and author of, 'The Bog Meadows and the River Blackstaff'.