Exploring the River Nore

THE River Nore and it’s wonderous meandering ways will feature on a very special edition of Ear to the Ground which will be aired later this week.

THE River Nore and it’s wonderous meandering ways will feature on a very special edition of Ear to the Ground which will be aired later this week.

Presenters Ella McSweeney, Helen Carroll and Darragh McCullough will all be in Kilkenny exploring the River Nore. As they travel along the river they will meet those acquainted with it, from boatmen and historians to farmers and sportspeople.

MD of Independent Pictures, John Cummins the production company which produces the programme is from Inistioge. “It is very rare that we do one whole programme on a single issue, normally it is divided into three segments. We thought that the different stories based on the river would integrate well and we filmed it over the summer. The River Nore is my favourite river and it was clear early on that one segment of a programme wouldn’t suffice. I grew up on a farm outside Inistioge and I grew up on the banks of the River Nore.”

In the programme which airs on Thursday Helen meets local man Andy Cotterell who tells her about the changes the Nore has seen over the years. In the past, rivers like the Nore were vital for transport and as sources of food and water. Archaeologist Colin O’Driscoll is carrying out a survey of the river, the first of its kind in Ireland. He tells Helen of his discovery of ancient Roman coins, proving that the river was a trade route used by the Romans. The Nore was a source of employment, causing local villages to grow and prosper, and also a link to Waterford Harbour and the world beyond that. As times progressed, people turned their backs on the river as navigation and fishing declined.

Happily though, in more recent times, locals have reclaimed the river and now use it recreationally. Ella meets the Thomastown Paddlers, just one of the groups using the Nore river for sport and breathing new life into the community. From their clubhouse in a former pig slaughterhouse, Ella sets out on the water alongside champion local canoeist Michael Brennan.

Darragh is on dry land when he visits local dairy farmer Thomas Murphy. The banks of the Nore boast some of the finest farming land in the country. Murphy tells Darragh how the river played such a vital role in farming and business for previous generations living by the Nore.

Ear to the Ground will be aired this Thursday (January 17) on RTE ONE at 8.30pm.