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Page 5 of 32
The River's Glory

Of what to me is Firbolg or Partholonian, of divisions and elections, of comings and goings, to-ings and fro-ings, uppings and downings? My course is set, my strength ongoing, fed from springs underground and the rains above. Blue skies. White clouds. Fish in my streams. The mayfly in season. The droning of bees. The flutter of leaves. The stillness of reeds. Green- growing rushes, buttercups and daisies. Snowdrops in spring, bluebells in summer, briony in autumn. Snowdrifts in winter. Burrowing badgers. Processions of stoats. Red foxes, leaping hares, startled rabbits, slinking rats, hooty owls. The song of the thrush, the robin, the wren, the cuckoo's call, and the clocking hen. The whirring partridge, and the lark singing in the clear air. Butterflies and evening moths. Thirsty doe and randy elk. Ash and elm, yew and oak, white mistletoe and red-berried holly. Low creeping nut bush, and furze in the hollows. Field mice and ladybugs. Beetles and spiders. All things small and all things big. Dandelion puffs and weeping willow tree. Robins and turtledoves. Twisty eels and fast-swimming otters. These are some of my every-day things. We live together. We sing together. We exist. We are. They depend on me, and I on them.

Spreading oak, the birch and the boortree, alder and elder, aspen and pine, ash and creeping ivy, line my banks, my loughs, my twistings and turnings. The wild boar and the chattering squirrel, vixen and wolf, drink from my waters. Salmon, trout and eels, bream, roach and pike, swim in my depths and in my shallows. Geese and ducks, swans and gulls, sail on my surface. Darting water beetles tempt fish and bird alike. Herons stride, then stand, silent, immobile sentries. The angry wren, the whispering linnet, golden-beaked blackbirds, the brazen jackdaw, plover and curlew dance and wheel in the air above. Spiders spin webs, mirrored with spray. Slow-moving snails leave shimmy trails. The song of the cricket heralds peace and tranquillity. Cresses grow in plentiful profusion. Blackthorn trees, heather and fern, bracken and fraughan, whin bush and sharp-stinging nettles, bushes of blackberries and sweet-tasting raspberry, nestle close to my banks and spread out through my vales.

Running fast, or sliding slow, whitewater rapid or black water eddy, swirling, twirling, blowing water bubbles, onward and onward, on my way I go. Through the daylight hours, under moonshine rays, in the heat of summer painting rainbows in the sky, in the cold of winter spinning sheets of frozen glass.

Free, untrammelled, that was me.

Then came other men.

"The Age of the World, 4518. Aedh Ruad, son of Badhran, after he had been seven years in the sovereignty of Ireland, was drowned in Eas-Ruaidh, and buried in the mound over the margin of the cataract; so that from him Sith-Aedha and Eas-Aedha are called."
     (Annals of the Four Masters).
In time Eas-Aedha became Assaroe, and Sith-Aedha is now Mullaghnashee.

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