December 22nd, 2021 was a most dramatic day in the long history of Fort Eliza. This photograph was taken on the completion of the installation of four fantastic replica cannons, each mounted on a beautifully crafted timber carriage. This site will now be a must-see for all visitors to Banagher in the future. The proud crew of volunteers who carried out the installation work are
L-R Simon Lyons, Conan Kirwan, Julia Lyons, Tom Lyons, Sean Woods, Donal Coughlan, and Niall Rigney.
The cannons are made of precast concrete which involved a very special and complex mould. Special thanks are due to Mick Kelly and Banagher Precast Concrete who carried out all this work free of charge and in particular to Eusebiu Balint who made the mould. The timber for the carriages was provided by Waterways Ireland and particular thanks are due to Mick McKiernan and Paul Hogan for their willing assistance throughout.
The fabulous cannon carriages were made by Sean Woods at his workshop on the Middle Road , Banagher. When the idea of replica cannons was first suggested by John Butler, Sean made a timber model of a cannon and it was due to this initiative that the project started. Thanks are also due Conan Engineering who made all the steel brackets and components and assisted greatly with the installation.
Cormac Egan and John Furlong, star footballers on the super Offaly U-20 All-Ireland winning team for 2021, visit the site along with selector Ciaran (Sod) Daly. Young Tom Lyons proudly holds the Clarke cup.
This very special photograph was taken by Sean Woods on Christmas day 2021.
THANKS TO WATERWAYS IRELAND
Waterways Ireland commissioned Howley Hayes Conservation Architects to prepare plans for conservation works to the fort in 2018. Local architect,Eoghan Broderick, was the author of this detailed report which outlined the work to be done. Consequently, skilled craftsmen from Cunningham Civil and Marine have been engaged to carry extensive refurbishment works to the grounds, enclosure walls, and cobbled paving. The magazine where gunpowder and ammunition was stored has been reroofed and repointed. New gates have been erected at the main entrance and in the magazine. Waterways Ireland also provided substantial grant aid for the replica cannon project and special thanks are due to Cormac McCarthy for his support and encouragement.
THANKS TO BANAGHER COMMUNITY
Over several years numerous volunteers have been involved in maintenance work in a great variety of ways on Banagher’s four Napoleonic Fortifications. The present condition of the fortifications is a great compliment to all these people . Particular thanks is due to John Butler, James Scully, Kieran Keenaghan and Brendan O’Loughlin who provided the cajoling and leadership.