Dipping in the Dissour

As a young boy growing up in 1970’s Ireland, at lot of my youth was spend splashing and
dipping our toes in the local river that passes through the village of Killeagh in East Cork.
The rivers name ‘Dissour’ means ‘twice wetted’, which supposedly meant it had better
bleaching qualities than other rivers in earlier times. The village of Killeagh is on the main
N25 roadway. The river passes under this by a bridge built in 1832. Living in the village
meant we had easy access to the river.
There are many different memories of time playing, swimming and fishing along the river.
My brother and our friends would stroll down to the small local shop, purchase a bamboo
handled net and make our way under the bridge to catch little fish among the riverweed.
We would gather up our fishing rods and freshly dug worms from our parents garden and
make our way to some known deep pools along the river Dissour to try our attempt to
catch some rainbow or brown trout, and if lucky a sea trout. More often than not, we would
end up getting our line entangled with an eel, which would twist and squirm around our
fishing gut making for an eventful disentanglement. This normally took place on an old
abandoned cartwheel banding station along the riverbank. These were used up to the
1950’s to put the red hot metal bands on cart wheels which were made nearby and then
ceremoniously tossed to be cooled in the river Dissour, the hot metal band when
contracting tightening the wooden joints of the wheel. During these fishing days of my
youth, I kept a fishing log recording the date, the type of fish, its length, its weight and
where caught. The river Dissour helped form the manmade lake in Glenbower Wood that
sits next to the village of Killeagh. This picturesque lake was stunning in the summer time
with the sound of fish jumping and the skimming of stones along its waters edge.
The local County Council had a pump house close to the river just down from our home,
which we called the Green House; a dark green it was painted. We spent a great deal of
our time here. Along this part of the riverbank the water had exposed some clay soil,
which we used to mould into pots and cups, wetting it from the water of the river to get
the desired shape. We were master potters in our heads. Here we also made rafts or
made bridges from half fallen trees to gain access to the other side of the river. It was like
another world there, entering this Glen, a part of Glenbower Wood. Steeped in a beautiful
carpet of green leaves under a full canopy of trees we played and made cabbies, dug
holes in the ground by the waters edge and set traps. We were commandos living out in
the wild, until it was time to cross back over the river and head home, home for our tea.
Still stinking of some smell, a smell I still love when now walking down around this area
and along the riverbank, the area in full bloom of white flowers in May. That smell was the
scent of wild garlic, which we laid on while hiding, hoping not to be discovered by our
friends or enemies for that short moment in time as we played along the river Dissour in
our youth.