Northern Ireland (NI) Water has announced a further £2.5 million to carry out the second phase of repairs to the Mourne Wall, which this year celebrates 100 years since its completion in 1922.

The 22-mile-long wall was built between 1904 and 1922 to protect and isolate the 9,000ac water catchment which feeds the Silent Valley and Ben Crom Reservoirs from livestock, in order to avoid water contamination.

Phase one of the Mourne Wall Restoration Projection, which saw 600 repairs undertaken, came to an end in 2018.

“That first phase of funding saw over 600 wall repairs completed in less than two years which was a fantastic achievement,” said Michael Donnelly, NI Water senior project manager.

“However, we were always aware that the wall may suffer further deterioration in the future and as a result, NI Water set in place funding to undertake subsequent surveys and repairs during its PC21 Business Planning period (2021-2026).

“As this famous structure marks its 100th birthday, NI Water is delighted to announce that a further £2.5 million will be invested to protect the integrity of this much-loved listed building and help safeguard its stature for many years to come.”

The phase two repairs, which will again be undertaken by GEDA Construction working with local stonemasons from Thomas Rooney & Sons, will initially involve repairs on Slieve Muck and Rocky Mountain.

Stone for the repairs has already been bagged in the quarry on Slieve Binnian and will be taken to Slieve Muck and Rocky Mountain by helicopter when weather permits.

Thanking local stakeholders, Donnelly added:

“As we embark on this next phase of the Mourne Wall Restoration Project, I would like to thank Mourne Heritage Trust, NIEA, National Trust and the Trustees of Mourne for their ongoing guidance and assistance and acknowledge the strenuous efforts that will once again be exerted by the contractors and wider project team in carrying out this work.”