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.
Was at the Rock Friday to see Johnny and team complete the repair on the boundary wall at the Rock,Marlfield.A lovely job of work and a credit to all concerned,the Council,who supplied the materials and to Coillte who supplied the manpower.
What remains to be done is the directing of the rain flow from the roadside to the gully inside the woodland.Hopefully this work will be undertaken soon,otherwise the risk to the undermining of the Green track is acute.
The slideshow gives a flavour of the work done with a tantalising look at what is to be enjoyed within the woodland....
Tasteful work continuing on the repair and rebuild of the boundary wall at the Rock,Marlfield by Johnny and his crew.The slides give a taste of the work involved - will be a lovely job when finished.
Coillte have been busy these past few weeks too with a crew on hand edging,gravelling areas on the western zig-zag prone to mud,cutting back on briars and nettles along the trackways and more.
Some of the former signage has been replaced but is confusing as you will find out if you attempt to make sense of it.This may be temporary,taking account of the ongoing repair to the wall and presumably will revert to take account of all three walks within the woodland.Will report back on this in due course.So continue to walk and enjoy the tranquility of the place and what's seasonally on offer.
Yesterday afternoon took the bus to Kilsheelin to walk the line to Poulakerry to see the progress if any on the construction of the cycleway and walkway on the former Carrick-Clonmel towpath.
Had spoken earlier in the day to the engineer responsible for overseeing the project and I thank him again for the time and update he gave me.Now I would see for myself.
Alighted from the bus and picked my way cagily,avoiding traffic and began my descent to the riverside passing the Norman Motte now a grotto.A family were happily enjoying the sunshine on the river bank while the children frolicked around their parents' feet.
Traipsed on for about five minutes and at that stage could already see signs of work underway.Stone glistening in the sun with the whitened underlay pinned back with retaining stones and further the beginning of a stretch all the way to the Norman tower, that by Poulakerry weir and appearing blue in the glare from the mill waste rolled and compressed into the yielding stone beneath.
As far as the eye could see and beyond the old stone boathouse the blue line stretched until I came to a timber fence blocking the way and informing me work was in progress...and I could not venture any further.Happy to stop there I took some more photos showing the machinery working away in the distance.
Two hundred metres a day laid and the tarring to be finished in a week - so said a young articulate workman when I enquired....
Met two good humoured,chatty, Dutch fly fishing enthusiasts on their last day of a ten day fishing holiday by the bonny banks of the Suir,who eagerly enquired of the work about,and wondered would the solitude be lost somewhat as a result of...I wish both Tom and Robert a safe return home,happy memories and a return to the Suir and what she offers for many years to come.
The slides below show work to Sunday.Much again has happened since to beat the promised rain forecast for later in the week and to stay within the deadline of being off the water before mid September when the salmon move upriver from the sea.
This stretch shows the removal of the tailrace of the former mill and the clearing of Willow,Rush and other vegetation.Will update by tomorrow.
To the south of Suir Island above lies Willow Island.This small narrow strip of land has more riverine history within it's banks than any of the other islands in this cluster of islands at the heart of Clonmel.
To start with,Suir Island House above,the former home of the Cooney family,the last family to live there and Margaret Power,the first inhabitant better known as Lady Blessington,whose 'Bath' lies above the weir that bears her name to this day.
The entrance to the island takes you by a head race,on your right, that carried water to power the mill wheels on your left.On your right is the main head race with screens still buried in the mud to filter any debris carried in the flow that was, and so protect the mill wheels from damage and to ensure the smooth running of the mills.As you pass by the front of the ruined house you are walking over another waterway beneath your feet that allowed water to flow into the main stream by the magnificent Beech ,the flow controlled by an ornate sluice,still in place,buried in the undergrowth.
I will cover other elements of this history in my next blog but now back to the fascinating work of returning this stretch of water to community use; to boat users,walkers,nature lovers,photographers,artists and families.
The slides show more of the work in progress with the placing of groins,clusters of boulders to control flow,some visible above the waterline others below the waterline,all on the south bank as yet -others will be placed along the island bank,some twenty or so in total along this stretch of water.
The former tail race of a mill,later a forge has been stripped of the willow and rushes to allow the formation of a groin there.
Work by the Council is proceeding apace on Willow Island and at the Strand,Old Bridge.The work in hand included laying an approach track of stone in the river almost to Dennis Burke Park,to allow the caterpillar machines to build the boulder dams that are shaped like an arrow head projecting into the river - see the slideshow below.
All of this work is part of building a Slalom course for Kayaks on this stretch of the river,an amenity that will be a huge and added attraction for locals and visitors alike.
Fisheries were on the water earlier in the week as they have both the task of designing a fish pass that will serve fish going upriver as well as Kayakers shooting the weir at Lady Blessington's...
The above photo of the former Suir Island House with the magnificent Lime Tree to the side makes for a lovely picture.The house,the former home to Margaret Power,Lady Blessington is again in the news for all the right reasons.
The Council has moved on to the island these past weeks to begin the work of clearing and pruning and trimming with a view to opening up a path to allow water boat users a means of avoiding the weir -Lady Blessingtons Weir while enabling safe access to the river below the weir.Work is very much in the early stages so the best way to view the work in progress is to walk the river bank opposite from the Strand to Dennis Burke Park.The photos below give a flavour.
author artist activist