Stories from the Waterways
This project was undertaken in 2020 and involved the following production team: Project Manager Cormac McCarthy developed the concept and project managed the contract. He is the Environment & Heritage Officer with Waterways Ireland and developed their sectoral Heritage Plan and is charged with its implementation. Film Maker Paul Murphy of Merchants Gate Films Ltd filmed, edited and published all features.
Stories from the Waterways
This series of digital media films is innovative as it uses modern non-conventional means not usually employed in a heritage setting (i.e not research or technical based) to convey the importance of waterways heritage and peoples sense of place and connection with the natural and built environment. In addition to promoting the valuable work of communities along the inland waterways it also had the added benefit of promoting the waterways as objects that inspire scientific research, citizen science, advocacy, accessibility and community engagement
Core to this project was showcasing examples of scientific, community advocacy and community interactions with local environment and heritage assets. In doing so we enhanced the knowledge and understanding of Ireland's heritage. These films afforded these groups and programmes a national platform, as provided by our status as a North South Implementation Body (jurisdiction in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland). The features in the 2020 Stories from the Waterways addressed the following topics: 1. Barge Family Reunion – showcased the rich tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the historical barges on our inland waterways (https://youtu.be/JzOxOzvR_HE) 2. Canals Health Check – explained the approach taken by Waterways Ireland in the monitoring of our artificial canals for the Water Framework Directive. Complex scientific information portrayed in an easy to understand visual medium (https://youtu.be/SztLrpKIhRA) 3. Royal Canal Citizen Science Project – how we engage with community groups to develop citizen projects that empower the community and promote and protect native biodiversity (https://youtu.be/jMzvlf_ExLQ) 4. Blue Green Yonder – waterways are wonderful for our health and wellbeing, in this film we see how the company Blue Green Yonder is taking this a step further to make on-water activities accessible to those with additional needs (https://youtu.be/uvVluSckHOQ) 5. Upper Ballyellen Lock Gate Replacement – our waterways are an important heritage asset, here we see the specialist work that goes into replacing 200 year old technology – the lock gate (https://youtu.be/1-0KTFOgF1M) 6. Royal Canal Amenity Group – how this group advocated for, protected and ultimately help restore our Royal Canal. This shows true community action and the positive impact it can have on our heritage. This film also includes never before seen archive footage specially digitised for the feature (https://youtu.be/r8UXcjKDR9c) Assessing the analytics we can quantify that for the 6 films they have collectively been viewed over 149,000 on Facebook with a combined Engagement of 31,786 and Reach of over 175,000. On YouTube an additional 2,500 views were recorded. Finally, an average industry reach versus engagement rate would be approximately 0.5 - 1%. Stories from the Waterways performed at over 18%, reaching a very high engagement rate.