ballyshannon, donegal, irish newspapers online, ireland, irish history, irish literature, irish famine - Linking Canada and Ireland - Linking Canada and Ireland

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"Do people really care?"

I believe that they do.

"Do people give a damn?"

I believe that they do.

"Do people know what they've lost?"

I believe that they don't.

"Can you tell them something of it?"

Well, I'll try. Yes, I'll try.

Once upon a time there was a river, fell free from Belleek to the sea. A river rich in song, rich in history, rich in rann. A river full of glory in the story of our land. A river we ourselves dammed.

Listen to the names of the pools and the throws on that water that we lost. The Great Pool of Belleek. The Rose Isle Throw. The Point of the Mullins. The Bank of Ireland. The Black Rock. Tail of the Island. Fox's Throw. Moss Row. The Earl's Throw. The Housekeeper's Widow. Cos na Honna. Kelly's Bank. The Well Field. The Cursed Throw. Cathleen's Falls. The Eel Weir Pool. Ballyshannon Bridge. The Great Pool of Ballyshannon. The Tanyard Pool.

Listen to the names of the fords we lost on that river. The Ford of Champions. The Ford of Seanach. The Monk's Ford. The Ford of Cul-ath-luain.

Ednagor and Camlin Castle, Stonewold and Moore Hall--all gone. All sunken.

Who did it?

We did it.


To bring progress to our nation.


At a time we knew no better.

A one-arched tailrace is all that's left of the river, from the dam to tidal waters.

And silent stand the Falls of Assaroe.

For thousands, and thousands, and thousands of years, people saw them. And heard them. Lived with them. Fought over them. Celebrated them. Loved them.

The sounding board of harps was made with wood from Assaroe.

The successful defence of the Castle of Ballyshannon in 1597, four hundred years ago, depended greatly on the Falls of Assaroe. The description of that defence in our annals ranks with the best in "The Anabasis" of Xenophon and Caesar's "De Bello Gallico."

How did we do it?

Thoughtlessly. Heedlessly.


We forgot it.


We were ignoramuses, omadhauns, eejits.

Can we undo the damage?

Some of it, yes. And some, we should.

Let us, at least, restore the Falls of Assaroe.

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