The Nire Valley

The Nire Valley
The Heart of the Comeragh Mountains.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Boyle's law and the Nire River.

Every journey you take is affected by the location of river crossings, bridges. No matter what your destination you have to find a point that gets you across a stream, river, estuary etc. The town, city, village you work and shop in is probably there because of a bridge. How many Irish place names have "ath" ( river ford) in there name, Athenry, Athy even Dublin in Irish is Baile Áth Cliath "The town of the hurdled ford". 

   The Bridge Bar.
It is because of a bridge that Ballymacarbry does not have a church. The first bridge across the Nire was built near Fourmilewater and thus a small community grew up around the Fourmilewater and in turn a Church was built, only when a mill was put on the Nire River did Ballymacarbry come into existence but by that time the Church was already in place. Before the Bridge1 at Fourmilewater there was a ford in the same location, that is about 200 meters up stream of the present "Bridge". This was an important river crossing as it lay on the main road linking Clonmel with Dungarvan, Lismore and Cork. Its importance was highlighted by the fact that a castle guarded the ford from nearby high ground, Caisleán Cuanach. Caisleán Cuanach was a McGrath castle and they controlled the ford. 
The Nire river is a river with a bad temper, most days it runs swift but shallow then when the rains swell its channel it becomes violent and angry, since 1942 it has claimed three lives. Thus you could arrive at the crossing and be delayed for days as you waited for the river to lower its guard. 
It was following one such flood that the river must have looked  safe, to Lord Cork's driver, to cross.  The carriage entered the river only to succumb to a swift current and a rocky bottom. The carriage flipped and decanted its passengers into the fast Nire. Lord Cork's son, Robert, was swept into the turbulent Nire, but the Nire did not claim a victim as he was pulled alive from the river. Lord Cork paid for a wooden bridge to be built at the ford, but the Nire and its flood took the bridge apart.  Upon Lord Cork's death, in 1642, he appointed Roger McGrath as the person that the Earl wanted to repair the bridge on the Nire River at Fourmilewater, a stone or mason bridge was constructed which still stands to-day. Today the road is no longer a major link on the route between Clonmel and Dungarvan and now only the locals or the guests from Glasha Farmhouse stroll over the bridge to the Bridge bar for a quite evening drink with the sound of the Nire River in the background and the sight of the "Bridge" spanning the river and all the heritage it stands for. 

As for the nine year old son of Lord Cork, Robert went on to become one of the great scientists of all time and is considered the Father of Modern Chemistry. Robert Boyle gave his name to Boyle's Law and thus the connection between Boyle's law and the Nire river. 

Do you know the story about the Bridge bar and the greyhound Master McGrath, well that's for another blog.

1. The oldest bridge on the Nire does not have a name locally it is called the "Bridge".

                                                                         Down stream from the Bridge.


No comments:

Post a Comment