Kilmacow-

Tomas Breathnach

Reporter:

Tomas Breathnach

Walk along Greenville Canal

Walk along Greenville Canal

Taking advantage of the diversion of water which rendered it dry in most places over 40 people of all ages walked along the canal from The Mill at Greenville to Castle Hole just under the site of Dangan Castle on Saturday, 28th July. The walk was organised locally in association with members of the South Kilkenny Historical Society including Kathleen Laffan who outlines the history of the canal and its serviced mills.

The participants all wore wellingtons for those stages of the walk where the canal still retained water but this merely added to the enjoyment of the walk rather proving to be problematic. Likewise they had no difficulty going under the two bridges which traverse the canal.

When the group reached Castle Hole Kathleen Laffan indicated the site of Dangan Castle high up on the right hand side of the River Blackwater. The castle was built by a branch of the Butler family of Ormond.

It served as a place of refuge for the young Earl of Ormond after the Battle of Piltown in 1462 when the Butlers were defeated by the Fitzgerald’s of Kildare. The Geraldines continued in the ascendancy in Ireland thereafter for the next century.

According to Mrs. Laffan construction of the canal commenced around 1746 and it was used to supply water to three different mills. The first one was a linen mill which was built by John Green and was known locally as ‘The Factory’. Families were brought in from Northern Ireland to work in the mill which continued its operations into the early 1800’s.

About the same time a second, five storey flour mill was built. About 12 people were employed there. A diversion from the canal was constructed which entered the River Blackwater near an old timber bridge.

(This bridge was washed away in the flood of 1947). At some stage during its operation the mill was bought by Jacob Scroder and so it was known locally at Scroder’s Mill. It ceased its operations in the early 1900’s.

A extension of the third section of the canal to the Mill Pond employed 50 men picks and shovels to connect in 1885 with the cast iron aqueduct (cast by Benjamin Graham, Waterford). This aqueduct is still in situ bolted on stone supports to the rear of the Mill Restaurant.

This mill at Greenville, owned by John Brown, operated on three 8 hour shifts employing over 40 men. It Made up to 144 sacks of flour daily and delivered by rail to Clonmel, Durrow, Thurles, Kilkenny and Templemore.

Due to trading difficulties it was bought by a consortium of millers in 1914 and run by the Pilsworth of Thomastown. It ceased making flour and became a provender mill. In 1973 it was sold to Avonmore Creameries and having ceased trading by the end of the ‘70’s it was sold on to the Behal family of Upper Kilmacow in 1980.

By the time the two hour walk was over the tea and refreshments at the Mill Restaurant were most welcome to the returned walkers. For the next hour there were many interchanges of information, stories and anecdotes. The walk had greatly enhanced the appreciation of the role of the river Blackwater and its associated works including the canals, weirs and mills to the development of Kilmacow for over

three centuries.

Denis Buckley spoke for everyone involved in the walk when he thanked Kathleen Laffan for all the information she had managed to find, retain and relay on the mills and the canal. Kilmacow was most fortunate to have someone like her as her scholarly research, her enthusiasm for local history and her ability to capture times past best exemplified in her two books on the History of Kilmacow and the Graveyards of Kilmacow was an enriching experience for all who wanted to know more about the place in whichthey lived.

Successful visit to Saint- Thurien The visit to Saint-Thurien (Brittany) by a group of twenty-six people from Kilmacow was a most enjoyable experience for all involved. The group travelled over to Saint-Thurien via the Cork-Roscoff ferry on Saturday, 14th July. There were a number of highlights to the visit during the following week including a local race event in which Gail Walsh, Fergal Walsh and Shane Sutton participated on the day of arrival there. Later that evening there was the presentation of prizes in the local primary school.

During the week there was a visit to Belle Ile which is well known for its association with the famous painter Monet. Members of the group also participated in the cycle along a greenway and later in the week there was a visit to an amusement park where the flume was a major attraction for all age groups.

As always the game of boules was a great way to relax and make friends. There were nights out in the Salle Municipale and in the local hostelries.

Joel Derrien, Mayor of Saint- Thurien thanked the group from Kilmacow for coming and hoped that each had enjoyed his/her visit. Anne Marie Sevennec, Chairperson of the Saint-Thurien Committee recalled that it was 20 years since the first group of five people from Kilmacow had come to Saint-Thurien and

that each visit was solidifying the bonds of friendship between the two communities. Mary Walsh, Chairperson of the Kilmacow Town Twinning Committee thanked all the host families in Saint-Thurien and stated that all from Kilmacow were greatly appreciative of their hosts efforts to put together a most enjoyable programme for the week and that everyone looked forward to the visit of a group from Saint- Thurien to Kilmacow next year.

Ferrybank Library

Ferrybank Library will host a workshop for children on responsible dog ownership at 11am on Tuesday, 13th August. Deirdre from the Dogs Trust will present the workshop.

It will also host an introduction to the art of basket weaving by Cathy Hayden from 3.00pm to 4.00pm on Wednesday, 21st August. Cathy has 30 years experience of the craft. Staff members from the Local History Department of the Library will give advice from 11.00am to 1.00pm on Thursday, 22nd August on how to start a family research including an introduction to the relevant collections held by the Kilkenny County Library Service followed by a question and answer session.

For further information on any of the above please call Ferrybank Library at 051-897200.

Draft County Development Plan

The new draft Development Plans for Kilkenny City and Kilkenny County have been prepared for the period 2014 to 2020. Copies of the plans are available for viewing in the Ferrybank Area Office and in the Ferrybank Library. They can also be viewed on the website at ourplan.kilkenny.ie.The new development plans will come into effect in May ’14.

Fun Fiesta

The Fun Fiesta in Kilmacow is due to be held on Sunday, 25th August at the Sports Complex on The Farm,

Kilmacow. The funds raised will help fund the continuing upgrade of the facilities at the Sports Complex.

Nore Valley Walk in aid of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland

A sponsored walk in aid of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland will be held at 11.00am on Sunday, 18th August.

The walk will commence at Maudlin Street, Kilkenny and continue from there along the Nore Valley

Walk to Bennettsbridge. Registration will commence at Maudlin Street at 10.30am. The entry fee is €10.

Sponsorship cards are available from Aoife Lanigan (085-8107890). Further information can be found at

charitywalk13@gmail.com.