Documenting life along the River Nore

A 30-kilometre stretch of the river Nore from Kilkenny city to Inistioge is currently being mapped and studied, and members of the public with knowledge of the river and its features are invited to contribute.

A 30-kilometre stretch of the river Nore from Kilkenny city to Inistioge is currently being mapped and studied, and members of the public with knowledge of the river and its features are invited to contribute.

The first third of the river, from the county border with Laois to Ossory bridge in the city, was studied in 2009 and this year it is the 30km stretch from the city to Inistioge that is being researched. Information on all aspects of the river’s heritage is being collected – wildlife, habitats, archaeology, industry, fishing heritage, oral history and river names.

“This is one of the most in-depth river studies of its kind in the country, and we hope to continue with the final section from Inistioge to New Ross in the coming years,” says Dearbhala Ledwidge, heritage officer with Kilkenny County Council. “The river Nore is one of our most well-known and treasured heritage assets, and the results of the study will be available to the public.”

“The results so far have been truly extraordinary,” says Coilin O’Drisceoil, Kilkenny Archaeology, with well over 1,000 built heritage sites and a wealth of data on the natural environment having been identified.

The built heritage sites range in date from the time of the first farmers in Kilkenny in around 5000-3000 BC to the 1950s, and include settlements on the river banks of prehistoric and medieval date, demesnes, sites associated with manufacturing (mill complexes, factories, breweries/ distilleries, rope walk, smithy), primary production (gravel and stone extraction pits), communication/ transport (Nore navigation, bridges, fords, railway, quays), and fishing (eel and salmon weirs, fishing stands). Habitats have also been studied along the river and otters, dippers, kingfishers, herons and even a lamprey eel have been spotted.

Anyone with information about any aspect of heritage on this stretch of the Nore is asked to contact Cóilín Ó Drisceoil on 086 8392148 or email coilin@kilkennyarchaeology.ie.

The project which was commissioned by the Heritage Office of Kilkenny County Council, and co-funded by the Heritage Council, is being undertaken by a team from Kilkenny Archaeology and Blackthorn Ecology. It is part of the Kilkenny Heritage Plan and is co-ordinated by the Kilkenny Heritage Forum.