From Boston Bridge to Pheasant Island on Christmas Day.

The River Suir springs to life on the slopes of the Devils Bit Mountain north of Templemore and flows through many towns and parishes on its 114 mile long journey through central Tipperary where she joins with her two sisters, the Nore and Barrow, at Cheekpoint, prior to entering the sea at Waterford Harbour, near Dunmore East. The Suir flows south through Clonmore and Castleiney and the towns of Templemore, Thurles, Ardmayle, near Cashel at Camas, Golden and Cahir. At Ardfinian it takes an easterly course as it flows through Clonmel, Kilsheslan and Carrick-on-Suir on its way out to the Ocean. While The Suir’s catchment area covers the bulk of the Premier County it also dips into parts of Kilkenny, Waterford and ripples by tiny parts of Limerick and Cork. It covers much of the Golden Vale and can be viewed, on a high, from Slianbh na mban, the Comeragh, Galtee, Silvermine and Knockmealdown mountain ranges. 

There are at least thirty five tributaries of the River Suir, the main ones being; the Tar, Neir, Annagh, Clodiagh, Multeen, Aherlow and here in Thurles, of course, the Drish. It holds a heavy stock of fish; pike, eels, brown trout with the best of the salmon fishing it is said downstream from Ardfinnan on to Carrick-on-Suir. Mainly angling clubs control the fishing with a few private sections along its course. The Suir is renowned for producing Ireland’s record rod-caught salmon, it weighed, a massive, 57lbs and was taken on a fly by Mr Michael Maher in 1874.

As the river departs the fertile lands of Loughmore and before it gently flows by the Source Arts Cenrte, out by the former sugar factory on its journey to Holycross alongside the historical Abbey, it transgresses the natural playground known affectionately as The ‘Bottoms’ to the folk on the Water Tower side of Thurles.

The Bottoms covers the catchment area along the river Suir from Boston Bridge, on the Dark Road, to the Pheasant Island Bridge, at lower Liberty Square. On the north bank of the river are the evergreen trees of Knox’s Wood while to the south Mitchel street (The quarry) and the Water Tower, which was built in 1958.

On Christmas Morning the Suir, down at the Bottoms, was frozen over, a natural skating rink, and a young couple took full advantage of the artic conditions as they skated from one riverbank to the other as their brown and white Jack Russell, Spot, was keeping watch on the budding Torvill and Dean combination. The sun was shining, as the temperature reading was minus 12 at 9.30am while the circling water hens and far flown sea gulls overhead kept searching for scraps of food.


For years, centuries even, before the arrival of a certain, invisible, Tiger, the Bottoms was the natural arena for all sorts of recreation for the locals; with its flora and fauna,

walking, fishing, hunting, pony riding, swimming, diving, skating, sun bathing, tennis, rafting, football and hurling. The former Kickhams GAA teams played their games down by the famous Well in their earlier years.

From Boston Bridge to the Back of the Bishop’s there are different sections with their own individual names all along the meandering Suir which will be familiar to anyone who was fortunate enough to have experienced nature’s wonderful amenity, only a stone’s throw from Liberty Square. The following names may ring a bell or two? spellings may be incorrect! as pronunciations differ from town and country.

Quinns, Wash House, Furry Hill, Popular, Burkes, Stapleton’s Island, Girls, The Car-Road, The Neck of Long’s , Long Georges, The Weedy Hole, Fogartys, The Odgrie, The Gudgion Hole, Niochlas’, The Wishing Tree, Shakey Bank, Mens, The Bleach, The Bishops and The Terrace.  Were you there?

“The river Suir began its maiden trickle down the side of the Devil’s Bit Mountain on the night that King Conn of the hundred battles was born” legend tells us.

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