Paul Swift continues his series on the rivers of Ireland

The Leinster Blackwater (sometimes called the Kells Blackwater/An Uisce Dubh) rises in south County Cavan near the town of Bailieborough. It flows for 42 miles through Virginia and past Kells before joining the River Boyne in the heart of Navan.

Between Bailieborough and Virginia the river is known as the Upper Blackwater. On the outskirts of Bailieborough in the townland of Leitir, the river flows under the R191 and R165 regional roads. On the 1907 ordnance survey map this area is a hive of activity associated with the river.

There are three mills and two houses (Millmount and Vale House) located on the banks. One of the mills is a flax mill and another a corn mill. The river leaves this area and flows through Parkers Lough. From this lough it flows on to Galloncurra Lough and after leaving this small lake it flows by Pitwood Quarry and on to Gallon Lough.

After leaving Gallon Lough the remains of Gallon Church can be found on the eastern side of the river. Located in the centre of an oval shaped graveyard the ruins indicate that the church was rectangular and measured 16m x 6m. The first mention of this church was in 1406 and it was likely associated with St. Ultan.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own