I didn’t have to keep wondering when the opportunity to complete this short section would present itself… not to be dismissive of the walk, or the area… just that I don’t like leaving things undone. So, less than 24 hours after getting to Confey, I was back… sans junior son. He was rather clapped-out after the previous day’s activity so he granted permission for his pappy to go off on my own. Pity… he would have enjoyed a particular offer that occurred during the walk.
I was quickly into my stride… again amazed at how soon one can get transported away from the pressures of life and be totally surrounded by nature. There is much history in evidence in this area between Confey and Louisa Bridge. Take your time… look at what is happening… step off the towpath down to the Ryewater.
There’s a ruin of a building on the north bank, not many metres west of the new spill weir. History suggests this was the water level controller’s station… run-off water was diverted down the north slope to form the manmade waterfall… a spa developed in the late 1790’s early 1800’s.
Follow the walkway down to the lower end of the waterfall… have a look around. The summer vegetation is abundant… the place could well be a very pleasant picnic area… if the litter and rubbish left by previous visitors is removed and the area developed just a little. I could well envisage doing the odd BBQ down there… fun in the making?
I found an interesting creature at the base of the waterfall… a freshwater crayfish. I wonder how he got down there? I’ve never seen any signs of crayfish in the canal or in the Ryewater. Then, I’m no specialist. I do believe there are problems in the UK with the invasive Signal Crayfish. This fellow showed no signs of the red claws so I suspect he may be an indigenous local.
NOTE: – a bit of internetting confirms my suspicions… the local crayfish, the White-claw, is threatened. Ireland seems to be the last place in Europe still clear of the American invaders and the plague transmitted by these aliens! Click here to have a look at a short write-up…
I spotted something else in the pool below the waterfall… someone thought it a likely place to use as a wishing well… two 2 cent coins glistened in the shallows… I wonder what they wished for? Prosperity? Peace? The survival of the crayfish? Who knows…
After my exploration of the pools I looked around for a route down to the Ryewater… not at all evident in the abundant summer growth. I eventually found a path between the tall gunnera plants crowding the river bank. The stream passes through the single arch of the aqueduct… well below the level of the canal. This aqueduct was constructed at great cost in the late 1790’s. Have a look at the details on Map 2 of the IWAI Guide.
I eventually dragged myself away… as mentioned before, this is a pleasant spot with massive potential of being developed into an attractive family outdoor activity area… right on the doorstep of one of the large multi-nationals. The added advantage… it cannot be more than 150 metres away from the exit of Louisa Bridge Station.
Hardly five minutes further west is another attraction. A Romanesque bath some metres down from the north bank. Restoration has been taking place… again, this can well become part of the facilities in the general area… great potential. (Somehow I neglected going down for a closer look… I’ll have to return, soon… and add a few closer views.)
Then it’s on to Louisa Bridge… a favourite of MF, he of 31B. Have a look at his IWAI forum post… he really loves the place! I’ve suggested a fund-raising event… allowing MF to avail of the generosity of all the thankful RC users. We’re going to salvage the rocks/boulders/concrete blocks/bricks and sell them off as momentos. If we chop each block up we may well raise € 50 to add to MF’s diesel kitty… 😉
OK… I’d better move on with the tale… you don’t want to spend all day getting through the post. After rounding the bend at Louisa Bridge the canal is soon crossed by the relatively new dual carriageway bridge linking the Collinstown industrial area and the M4 motorway.
The north bank of the canal is lined with large established trees almost all the way into Maynooth. This makes for a very picturesque walking environment. If only, somehow, one could be rid of the traffic noise accompanying the walkers for the duration of the route. The opposite bank is also quite well planted… in places the branches overhang the canal by quite some distance, another little rib tickler for 31B’s skipper… 😉
Lock 13 at Deey Bridge soon comes into view. This is where I met Float 3 and her skipper MK. He invites me on board… do I feel like riding with him to Maynooth? I’m rather tempted… but, if I do I can’t complete the walk… neither could I get any of the great pictures soon to be had. So… I set off on foot… stopping every so often to take a photo…
The next structure along the way is the quay at Pike Bridge. This whole section of canal was diverted during construction to meet the ‘requests’ of the then Duke of Leinster. The fellow lived at Carton House, now a great golfing estate and home of the GUI. He thought of himself as important so he wanted access to the canal on his doorstep. After passing the gate of Carton House the canal enters the final run into Maynooth. The town is soon to be seen on both sides… and not long after Mullen Bridge Maynooth Harbour comes into view.
I assisted MK while he moored Float 3 and chat briefly with a lady and her young son, they also helped MH get the boat tied up and secured.
I have to stress… this is a rather interesting section of canal… plenty history… a wide, well-kept, towpath facilitating easy walking. Overlook the untidy aspects of the littering… ignore the incessant traffic noise… just walk for the enjoyment of the scenery, after all, it is a great bit of the Royal Canal to enjoy!
Ed’s note – please click on the first photo to enlarge, then use the forward or reverse arrows below each photo to view the gallery. Once again… please forgive the dreary, grey skies… if I have to wait for blue skies I may never get the walks completed…
PS: I do believe Float 3 may have been renamed this past weekend… MK mentioned something along these lines… I omitted asking for an update.
PPS: I’ve placed a link, together with all the other walks, on the Royal Canal Life page…