River Poems

Lax Weir and Castle. Painting by Rosaleen Bolger.


The silver Abbey river
Round St. Mary's does a tour;
How oft she gave her bounty
To the labours of the poor!

She leaves her mother Shannon
By turning left "above",
And steady flows by Sandy
Down past the Sally Grove.

She flows on by Athlunkard,
'Fort of the little ships',
And mirrors Bishop O'Dwyer Bridge
As underneath she slips.

Here I sometimes think, she pauses,
Maybe, it's my own whim -
I think she checks in homage -
To the Abbey Fishermen.

For here they lived in humble homes
The Old Sandmall beside,
And made their brocauns agile
To ride both fall and tide.

The Hayes's and the Clancy's,
And the McNamara's too,
And many others out of Park,
I mention but a few.

Here they shaped the pole and paddle,
And made snap-nets 'their way',
To snare the silver salmon,
In waters where they lay.

With silent skill their paddles dipped
In pools beside the Fuzee
As they trolled by swaying sallies
To the flats at Corbally.

With hopeful hearts they pulled their oar
In fair weather and foul.
And passed quickly by Lax Weir,
To the heights o'er Kilquane fall.

To Gabbett's Grove and the Pike Bridge
Their prows into the wind,
And on then to the Shannon Fields,
With the Devil's Path behind.

By Lanahrone to Plassey,
At late the early hour,
To fish the 'draws' at Lugshinnell,
Craglarack and Tannyvour.

Ah, Annaghbeg, that lovely place
And pleasant to this hour,
How sagely you accorded,
Your loveings to the poor.

Sylvan singing water place,
None fairer can we get,
Your silvery stocks depleted,
Dear stream you glisten yet.

Now a long and bitter struggle,
Changing times and harsher laws,
Caused these strong men to relinquish
The above-mentioned draws.

Let me salute in passing,
And reflect upon their fate -
The rush of 'progress' crushes,
So many, soon or late.

But returning to our river,
Which we left at the Sandmall,
She turns right and quickly shoots
Down past the Old Canal.

And here she does not linger
For she hears a low, sweet call,
Her mother's calling softly,
From a nearby surging fall.

So on towards Mathew Bridge she runs,
Thus to complete her tour,
And rejoin her parent water,
At storied Curraghgower.


The fishnets are gone from the old Mall wall
No more do they hang there to dry;
Where are the men of the water?
Sad, searching winds seem to sigh,
"Gone evermore from the Abbey",
Swaying green sallies reply.

The brocuans are gone from the Abbey,
No more her clear stream they enjoy;
Where are the men of the small boats?
Freshing spring winds seem to sigh,
"Gone evermore from the river",
Swaying, green sallies reply.

Salmon grow scarce on the Shannon,
Corbally fall wonders why;
"Who depleted the peal and the salmon"
Soft river winds seem to sigh,
"Ah, it was not the men of the Abbey,
Swaying, green sallies reply.

The barges are gone from the Abbey,
No more the canal they go by;
"Where are the men of the big boats?"
Warm summer winds seem to sigh,
"Gone evermore from the river;
Swaying, green sallies reply.

And the sandmen are gone from the Abbey,
No more by her fair banks they ply,
Where are the men of the sand cots?
Cool autumn winds seem to sigh,
Gone evermore from the river,
Swaying, green sallies reply.

The brocaun, the barge and the sandcot,
No more by her fair waters go by;
Oh where are the men of the water?
Drear winter winds seem to sigh,
Gone, gone, evermore from the river,
Grey, leafless sallies reply.

Yet, flows the silver river,
And St. Mary's keep secure,
While her loss is keened by water-song,
At surging Curraghgower.


The Shannon runs fast from the falls of Doonass,
By banks that are sylvan and grassy.
And thence on from there flows She crystalline clear,
To meet the sweet Mulcair at Plassey.

Hilly waters spill out, at the Blackwaters mouth,
As she goes on by lea and by lawn,
To Groody's small tide edges in at her side,
And, together, they go flowing on.

Down past Lanahrone and the fall at Kilquane,
She courses as proud as the Nile,
Then forks for apace above the Mill Race,
And laps by St. Thomas's Isle.

She flows past the Lax Weir at Corbally fair,
All the while she is humming a ditty,
and at Curraghgower she is surging with power,
As she flows through the heart of the city.


“The rockery stones in your garden, sir,
With its beautiful shaped stones,
Could you tell me where you get them
I’d like one of my own”.

They’re all from Shannon’s silver stream
So rich in ancient lore:
Allaun, Corneen and Lugshinnell,
Lanahrone and Tannyvour.

That turned one in the centre
Might be a sculpture’s dream.
Came from a run at Corribalaun
Before the Shannon Scheme.

And the one there to the left of it
Where the clump of bluebells grow,
Were raised at Lurriga rapids,
A bit below Bannowe.

The little ones by the border
Which peep above the grass
Were pulled from gravelled eddies,
Near the falls above of Doonass

All Stones carved in the Shannon,
By gorge and fall and rill,
With names of purest poetry
Where teeming waters spill”

These poems were written by Arthur Lysaght, known as the parochial poet, he based his poetry around the Abbey river and it's surrounding area. His work recalls the great heyday of the Abbey river and the Abbey Fishermen, now long gone.

Latest comments

09.11 | 21:42

Yes just like the main history before the 2000s and the owners and things like that.

09.11 | 21:34

Hi Alesha, is there anything in particular you would like know?

08.11 | 19:05


08.11 | 19:05

Hi Ann, would you have information on the Corbally nursing home fo...