The book “By the Banks of the River Clare” by Michael J Hurley tells the story of the river which has played such an important part in the lives of the people of the area since earliest times. This is the waterway that has flooded vast tracts of land and turlough in an unpredictable manner and remains a stretch of rich fishing value.
The book tells of the ‘Family relief works’ undertaken in the 1850s to provide employment for thousands of men who were trying to provide for hungry families. Further major works were undertaken to drain the river in the 1950s thus giving more local employment a a time of scarcity. The earlier drainage saw the course of the river altered into a canalised course through the parish with some blasting and cutting of the limestone base, in places to a depth of some forty feet – as great as any major canal or railway engineering undertaking.
The book also provides nostalgic tales of childhood (and indeed adult) adventure and pranks in times of living memory. The 80-page book is illustrated with black and white, and full colour photographs of the river in its various moods. Priced at €7, the book would make an excellent gift for people at home or abroad. It is on sale in local shops.