Scarva is one of those little places forgotten to many for most of the year but which spring to life on their special occasions. In the case of Scarva the special occasion is the Sham Fight celebrated every year on July 13. For us, however, Scarva was not a place of interest only once a year but on a weekly basis because liked the village so much.
How to get to Scarva village
Coming from Banbridge you go past the village and at the end on the left hand side stands the Scarva Primary school and the Scarva Presbyterian church. Between the school and the church runs a little road that takes you to the park.
Great park with a pond
The park has a well equipped play area for children and a football pitch home to the local football team. There is also a small pond in which you will see plenty of fowl. Occasionally it freezes in winter, but don’t attempt to skate on it. The temperatures are rarely cold to facilitate the formation of thick ice so you might find yourself falling in the water!
Many times we had a picnic in the numerous picnic tables, walked around the lake trying to spot the herons nested in the reeds, while the children bicycled on the paved paths.
The second thing that attracted it us to Scarva village is the Newry Canal, the first and largest canal in Northern Ireland.
It dates from the 18th century, when the industrial revolution was making an impact on the island’s economy. It used to run from Portadown, a main industrial town, to Newry, a main port on the sea.
Walking and birdwatching
The canal is no longer navigable, but the road that runs beside it for most of the way is an excellent place for walking and cycling since for the most part it is paved and no cars are allowed.
In the serene countryside you will see horses next to fences, stop to listen to the birds hiding above your head in the canopy of threes and you will even see the train going to Portadown or Newry. If you climb a farm gate and wave your hands the train driver might even blow the whistle for you! What an excitement for the children, it was by far their favourite part of our walk!
The Old canal Lock
If you decide to walk towards Portadown (on your right), you will come across a now derelict canal lock. Locks were used to lift or lower the barges between stretches of water of different levels on the canal. The one near Scarva has quite a drop. It would be fascinating to see how it worked, but for now you have to employ your imagination.
Scarva village was a stopping place for barges going up and down the canal and though its tiny harbor has been filled with soil and is now a park, you can still see a lonely boat sitting there.
Many times after our walk we would stop at the Scarva Tea Room to have a cuppa and some tray bakes. If you have a gluten allergy, don’t hesitate to enter. They do cater for people with gluten intolerance.
A few meters on your right,among the many flowerbeds you will see the bandstand. Band performances usually start on Easter Sunday and then continue for every Sunday during the summer months. Definitely a place to spend a Sunday afternoon.
When the weather was warm we would always head for Scarva village. But it was too small to have an ice cream parlor, so what’s a mum to do? I liked to joke that I took the children to the Pub! We would buy a lemonade from the pub in the corner of the road. It is the only Pub, so you cannot miss it. The friendly owner would fill big plastic beakers with ice and serve our lemonade with a tall straw. It had become quite a tradition of ours!
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