Downstream called me and so I walked early and briskly down the Irishtown and on to the riverside by way of Joyce's Lane to the Gashouse Bridge-then by way of a detour as the flood barriers extend across the bottom of the quay-on towards the former Kickham Barrack,and right after the lights towards the bus shelter and stop opposite Larry O Keefe's.
Thought I'd missed the bus because of my 'meander' but all was well.The X7 arrived some minutes later and I found myself sitting across from Maire 'a raibh aithne agam uirthi' and so 'thosaiomar ag caint' about the walkway and the joys of rambling along it's length even in it's unfinished state.
The'seanfhocal' says 'Giorraionn beirt bothar"-two shorten the road -and so it proved as the bus pulled over to the stop in Kilsheelin village.'D'fhag me slan ag Maire'crossed the road and made for the river on the left of Kilsheelin Bridge.There the spectre lay in waiting.He was engaged in pulling on his oils from the comfort of the bench, saw me out of the corner of his eye and hailed me with 'how're young fella'.That call alone has been the death of many a fella in a manner of speaking.Sean is a legend but as such can only be absorbed in small doses - the fruit of experience!
Had the track to myself for the first mile or so and was glad of that to listen to the wind, allow the ripple and flow of the river to enter my 'stream' and course from head to toe.That mile still green is the longest stretch of green remaining before the asphalt comes.I never tire of the expanding and multi-faceted landscapes it unveils itself as I ramble along.
The wheel turns full circle/cycle.The new year has already heralded major changes as to how we,the WBC will go about our work as a voluntary organisation and how we communicate that work to the membership and the public at large.
The Blog will remain but under www.clonmelwbc.com and all other sites namely the river Suir site, the Cruiskeen and the Two Bridges will be no more.
We owe a debt of gratitude to so many people both in the statutory area, not least the former Tipperary South County Council and in the public arena - too many to mention.Buiochas do cach.
My thanks to the former Committees and members as well as to the current Committee and members and especially to
Reginald Van Acker,photographer and film maker for his involvement from that small beginning many moons ago in the 1990's.
The old towpath daily is taking on a new and serpentine complexion as it snakes it's way to completion.I encourage all creatures, one footed, two footed, no footed, all creatures of land, air and water to amble, swim,hover over, dance just treat yourself this side of the festive season to a journey along the length of the greenway towpath to give your body and soul a makeover that will cost you nothing and prepare you for the new year leaping at us.
No!I did not have any magic mushrooms for breakfast this morning,I cross my heart and hope to die!
The work continues as you may gather from the above, from Anner Bridge towards the former Kilheffernan Church and beyond towards Kilsheelin. Strengthening of the river bank with rock armour and baskets filled with stone continues as required.Meanwhile the stretch from Carrick to Kilsheelin is being bedded in with clay and seeded with grass to marry the green with the black of the tarmac.Go........and enjoy.....
As the old former creamery wall crumbled on Friday morning last Clonmel's Acropolis emerged centre stage on Suir Island yet again.The mountain of rubble of the former Avonmore and other buildings has lain on site for well over a decade now as work commences on laying footpaths from Old Bridge to Stretches Island.
Down the years many reports have been commissioned by the local authority on Suir Island, the CAAS Report in the early years to the more recent one, see below. In fact little or nothing has come of these reports to date so it will be a relief when details of this latest report comes into the public domain.Blackwood and Assoc.Conservation Architects were,I understand retained to execute the report sometime prior to 2014.
Suircan,a voluntary community association has taken an active interest in Suir Island for many years and worked with the former Borough Council ,responding to the Masterplan arrived at by a consultant- this prior to the Blackwood one.
The WBC- Workmens'Boat Club also commissioned and paid for a computer model of the islands that make up the Suir Islands and offered same to the then Borough Council......
Now that the Council owns the islands in great part it's time to see what plans for the development of the islands are in place or are emerging.The public has a right to input to these deliberations individually or through Suircan,the WBC or other voluntary bodies.The last thing we need is piecemeal development....
Above an old slabbed, stream outlet was uncovered in the past few days to reveal the workmanship of a former time and age.Quite a few such have emerged over the course of the transforming of the former towpath to a walking and cycling route.If form is repeated this will be slabbed in concrete followed by tarmacadam on top.
I'm pretty sure this stream has a name in Irish as well as in English but I doubt the mapping of such 'trivial' matters in the haste to finish the job.No archaeologist has preceded the tracking of the men and machines on this project no ecologist either as far as I know.All is not lost however as Fred Hamill,Industrial Archaeologist,and others have reported some years back,in a detailed way on the structures, plant and animal life along these banks.Others again like William's in his 'Men,Tides and Salmon' has drawn attention to the richness of the place names in Irish,still surviving today in the talk of fishermen and cots' men.I hope a 'map' of these features will form part of the information available to the general public...
The photo, top left shows the longest stretch of bank strengthening to date using baskets of stone enmeshed in wire.
Will these be 'greened' as work proceeds - let's hope so.
A walk on the wild side it certainly is and any number of people are already walking the tracks, solo,in company and/or with dogs.
This site,Willow Island is a work site at present and is awaiting making good by the Council and Contractor,which will take some time.The good news is that when the Council,working with local community groups completes this work the island will be walkable on old pathways that both follow the line of the gurgling river and the last open tail race/canal that runs through the island from the head race above Lady Blessingto's Weir,on the town side of the old Miller's House and exits just above Burke Park.
The slideshow gives a flavour of the terrain which displays some beautiful trees, such as the old Holm Oak which stands at the northwest corner of the once garden fronting the house.
Yew trees stand sentinel nearby as do Beech and by the house a majestic, specimen Lime.
Tracks wend their way from the gateway, curving around the house and opening to what well may have been a carriageway wide enough for pony and cart.The fine stone wall provided a boundary with the river and the surging torrent below, more noticeable now as a result of the building of the Slalom course, which has rejuvenated the river at this point allowing the roar of the flow to carry almost to Dennis Burke Park.You would not know you were in the heart
of a throbbing town surrounded as you are by magical sounds of the flow and the greenery.
I have written Toberaheena as I always heard it pronounced since childhood.I understood the name to mean ' water from the well as sweet as wine',a place we hallowed on regular visits to catch brickeens and paddle the water until the cold would compel us to jump out and jump up and down to restore circulation
because of the coldness of the well water.How refreshing it was for all that.
How refreshing for both body and spirit the restoring of the area around the well thanks to the work of C-Saw.The site is still a work in progress and a credit to all involved in it's re-creation.
I have included a visit on my regular jaunts and rambles,either on my outgoing or on my return.If on my return I enter by the upper entrance and slowly meander the tracks taking in the quiet,the birdsong,the breeze blowing through the branches of the willow and ash till I come to the stone seat where I pause and reflect and remember - remember colleagues,former students of mine,fellow members of the Club,and I celebrate their lives be they long or short - Amen,Alleluia.
To Brendan and his team you have done us all a service.
A flavour of what you may see from below the bridge at Kilsheelin to beyond Poulakerry Weir.The men are rolling out the trackway on a daily basis,metre after metre and shortly all of this stretch will be covered in tar macadam .Some of the bank has had to be rebuilt with baskets of stones,more of the ground just stripped of cover before the undersheet is applied followed by laying and rolling of the stone.Mill waste is then applied and in turn rolled and flattened.Two hundred metres a day and all is well.Pray the weather holds to speed their journey.
author artist activist