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CORBALLY RIVER PEOPLE & LIMERICK'S ABBEY FISHERMEN

RIVER POEMS

ABBEY FISHERMEN
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
INNURES AND DRAWS
THE BATTLE OF THE TAIL RACE
RIVER POEMS
CORBALLY
CURRAGHGOWER 1951
CORBALLY REGATTA 1952
CORBALLY REGATTA 1953/54
ABBEY REGATTA 1977/78
MARATHON BOAT RACE
SAND COTS
RELAXING ON THE RIVER
LINKS
These three poems were written by Arthur Lysaght, known as a 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.
 
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The Abbey River and Her Fishermen
                               
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 falls 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 the 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 the 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 Plassy,
At late the early hour,
To fish the 'draws' of Lugshinnell,
Craglarack and Tannyvour.
 
Ah, Annaghbeg, that lovely place
And pleasant to this hour,
How sagely you accorded,
Your lovings 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 callingl sofly,
From a nearby surging fall.
 
So on towards Matthew bridge she runs,
Thus to complete her tour,
And rejoin her parent water,
At storied Curraghgower.
 

LAMENT OF THE ABBEY RIVER
 
The fish nets are gone from the old Mall wall
No more do they hang there to dry;
Where are the men of the water?
"Gone evermore from the Abbey",
Swaying, green sallies reply.
 
The brocauns 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 sandcots?
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.
 
Envoy
Yet, flows the silver river,
And St. Mary's keep secure,
While her loss is keened by water-song,
At surging Curraghgower.
 
 

 REGATTA BOATS
                  
The boats are at their moorings,
With the tide's flow they sway;
They've played hard on the river
And earned their rest to-day.
 
I mind how they gather closely,
As a group of old friends meet;
They've met in friendly rivalry
And given us a treat.
 
And I fancy they're conversing
As they move to and fro;
Are they talking about people
As the last spectators go?
 
Well might they speak of harsh Hell's Gate,
Ascent of Curraghgower Fall;
The pole that jammed below the cot,
The thud against the wall.
 
Some show the signs of battles fought
Along the riverside;
In triumph or in failure,
They show their scars with pride.

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