The Waters & The Wild
A Paddle Powered Podcast
Join me as I embark on a series of fabulous adventures exploring Ireland's waterways. Paddling my trusty canoe Minnow I'll venture out on lakes, navigate sheltered bays and follow the winding course of rivers and canals.
Our waterways are corridors of immense wildlife diversity, brimming with life above and below the surface. The low profile and silent passage of the canoe will allow for close encounters with a cast of fascinating creatures such as otter, pike and dragonflies. We'll keep a sharp eye out for egret, moorhen and grebe, and with a little bit of luck catch sight of a kingfisher darting across our bow.
The essence of slow adventure, this paddle-powered podcast will transport you to enchanted realms and watery worlds of wonder.
In this introductory episode I take a short journey up the River Barrow. Launching at Clashganny Lock in South County Carlow, I set off in my self-built wooden canoe Minnow, paddling upstream.
The River Barrow is my local river and it's also Ireland's second longest river, flowing for roughly 190km from source to sea. It courses through the South East of the country, rising in the Slieve Bloom mountains in Co. Laoise and emptying into the Irish Sea at Hook Head.
For many years it was a very busy waterway, with a steady stream of goods barges travelling up and downstream. My parents carried the last commercial cargo along the River Barrow in the early1970's onboard their traditional river barge 76M. Today, it's a very quiet waterway but a popular one for kayaks and canoes.
As I pass the mighty falls of Clashganny weir I talk about the inspiration behind this podcast, the English nature writer, the late Roger Deakin. The author of Waterlog and Wildwood recorded a journey he made in a canoe along the River Waveney in England. The recording was produced as a podcast episode some years ago (Nature Notes, BBC) and I found listening to it a transportive experience. I'm hoping to achieve something similar on Irish waterways - capture and convey some of the magic of our rivers and canals
Continuing upstream I journey along a spectacular part of the river, surrounded by ancient woodland, water meadows and a chorus of bird song.
Poetry reading extract from River Barrow by Ted Hughes.
Hughes, Ted. 'River Barrow'. River (1983) Faber & Faber.