Canals have become valuable tourism assets
A fleet of small boats has sailed along an old canal in County Tyrone and into history.
It was the first time in 50 years that the Coalisland canal was opened to boats.
Hundreds of spectators turned out for a special ceremony on Saturday to mark its reopening.
The event was organised by the Coalisland branch of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland.
The sound of outboard engines signalled the return of the boats for the first time since the canal was officially abandoned in 1954.
The second oldest canal in Britain and Ireland was once a valuable route for coal exports from Coalisland and operated commercially for more than 200 years after it opened in 1733.
Restoration began four years ago. Local volunteers were joined by teams from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, the Rivers Agency and Dungannon Council.
About half of the four-mile route from Lough Neagh and the Blackwater River is now navigable by small boats.
The hundreds who lined the towpath to watch were reminded that this was the rebirth of another valuable tourism asset.
The boats entered the Blackwater at Verner's Bridge and arrived at the entrance to the canal at 'The Point' where they were joined by a number of larger vessels from around Lough Neagh via Maghery.
A boat also delivered token bags of grain and coal, traditional cargo on the canal, to within a short distance of the Darn Lock at the edge of Coalisland town.
Coalisland Silver Band provided a welcome and the cargo was presented to representatives of John Stevenson and Co and Stewart's Mill.
Both firms had their own lighters on the canal during its lifetime.