The Shipwreck on the Lagan Canal On the 18th of October, Being the day that we set sail From the Queen's Bridge With a Cargo of Indian meal; Our course being up the Lagan, And our Captain's name McFall We were bound for foreign countries Up the Lagan Canal We had not long been started When it blew a dreadful gale; Our Captain he gave orders For the Crew to shorten sail, The sea being rolling mountains high, The night being very dark, We thought that we should get ashore About the Ormeau Park. For hours we were tossed about, And then a dreadful thump; She struck up a coral reef - We all took to the pump; We pumped away for hours; We were nearly dead from cold The water gained upon us, Being ten feet in the hold. When we could pump no longer, We gave up in despair, And soon a signal of distress Was flying in the air. Our captain pulled his trumpet out, And loudly he did bawl,, So down she went stern foremost In the Lagan Canal The water being very deep - It took us to the shin; We had a poor chance of our lives, As none of us could swim. We thought of our wives and children Whom we might see no more. When a coastguard threw his muffler, And pulled us safe to shore. He brought us to the Police Office, And he got us all a bed; There was not one amongst us Hadn't the staggers in his head. So now my song is ended, It's enough to please you all, By singing you the shipwreck, In the Lagan Canal. The words have been transcribed from a copy of the broadside printed by Nicholson, Printer, Cheapside, Church Lane. The Lagan Canal stretches for 27 miles from Belfast to Lough Neagh passing through 27 Locks. Built in the 18th century, it was one of the most successful commercial navigations in Ireland. The development of road and rail led to the demise of the Lagan Canal and its abandonment in the 1950’s. Further details can be found on the website of the Lagan Navigation Trust.
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