A special family fun day on the banks of the Suir in Ardfinnan

Community focus on the river

A special family fun day on the banks of the Suir in Ardfinnan

Getting to know the River Suir will be all a go next Sunday, September 25th where a Family Funday is being held in Ardfinnan village along the banks of the river.

Ardfinnan Community Council are holding an action packed fundraising event with activities for all the family from 2.00pm.

A new and exciting dimension to this event will see a collaboration with the Waters and Communities Office and local river groups along the Suir to showcase water based activities, biodiversity, wildlife, boating and fishing.

A whole series of events will take place on Ardfinnan village green ranging from sheep racing, Crazy Soccer Match, Bouncy Castles, Pony Riding, Tug-of-War, Children’s Races to river events including Flyfishing Casting Demonstrations, Waterlife sampling and Pond dipping, Canoe and Kayak Demonstrations, River Rescue Display and Biodiversity Walks. The demonstrations will be given by experts in water quality monitoring and wildlife surveying. Some of the techniques that will be on display are used by organisations such as the EPA and County Councils to monitor and make sure that our water is kept clean. A mini bioblitz will be held to compare water samples taken from different sections of the river to see which parts of the River Suir between Cahir, Ardfinnan and Clonmel are the healthiest.

Similar to experiences in the UK, local communities up and down the country are becoming more involved in getting to know their local river and gaining a greater appreciation of what the water life tells us about the health of the river. Anybody can learn how to read the health of a river by looking at the aquatic invertebrates (bugs) and this will be explained and demonstrated on the day by staff from Tipperary County Council. Other displays will include demonstrations by the Workmans Boat Club on the boating heritage along the River Suir.

Carrick-on-Suir River Rescue and Cahir River Rescue will provide demonstrations on the valuable and sometimes dangerous work that they do along the river. Inland Fisheries Ireland will display some of the work that they do including a demonstration of fish life in the river. The Waters and Communities Office will have a stand explaining how to get involved in the management of our rivers and protect them for everybody's benefit. Ardfinnan Canoe Club and Clonmel Canoe Club will carry out fun kayaking demonstrations on the river and there will be an opportunity for anyone to give kayaking a go. Kayaks will be available for trying out so bring a change of clothes, just in case, if you would like to give it a go.

Fly Casting instruction and demonstrations will be given by Clonanav Angling Centre, Ballymacarbry, so if you would like to learn how to flyfish this could be the event for you. Other activities will include talks on biodiversity and the dangers posed from invasive species to our rivers. The event follows 13 public engagement meetings along the River Suir and brings together traditions along the river with a local community event in Ardfinnan for an action packed, fun filled day.

The river aspects of the event are being organised in response to feedback from those public meetings whereby various communities felt that it would be a good idea to hold an event to celebrate the River Suir and what it means to people. It is intended that this will become an annual river themed event that will be held in different location every year throughout the entire catchment.

The day will finish off with a bat walk along the river bank on Ardfinnan green led by Internationally recognised mammal expert Dr. Paddy Sleeman of University College Cork, who will lead the walk later in the evening at 7.00pm. All are welcome. For more information check out www.watersandcommunities.ie or phone 0761 065 261.