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WILDLIFE - by Fintan Ryan


The good Lord blessed Borris with mountains, woods and rivers. The Barrow, Dinin and Mountain are beautiful rivers. In my boyhood days, full of trout, sticklebacks, stone loaches and eels, not to mention all of the ‘creepy crawlies’ under the stones and the fronds of water weeds. A high point was the eel migration, with the weirs being coated in elvers, and the Mountain River had mussels. Drainage of the Dinin and Mountain in the early 1950’s changed the pools for fishing, then the river banks were slowly overwhelmed with trees and bushes and becoming inaccessible over the last 40 years or so.

In my teenage years the river banks were cleared by locals for firewood and access for water and fishing. I never had a bad day fishing, getting up to seven fine trout. It is now wholly overgrown, but there are much fewer trout now, and very little sunlight gets
through the foliage. I remember on summer evenings, going fishing to Ballymartin with Jim Fleming RIP, John’s dad. We would head out on bikes about 6 pm, fish for an hour or two, and then head back, as Jim had to be back for the cinema where he was the projectionist! There are new efforts to get our environment and our water quality right once again; I want to see the youth, and future generations of Borris, experience and enjoy the wonder that we had access to when we were young. However, on the bright side, we do have new arrivals, pine martens, comma butterfly, woodpeckers, buzzards, little egrets, collared doves and even ospreys, and the red squirrel, after a long absence is back.


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