Memorable Moments on the Mulcair

The tractor trundled slowly over the bridge and jerked to a stop midway. “Ah it’s only
yourself Albert. Are you fishing?” I was just about to reply when tractor stuttered into life.
Summer on the farm is no time for long conservations, but the thread of our chat can be
continued later on.
Myself and Harry had been preparing for this pond dipping trip for weeks. The planning and
anticipation were just as much fun, as we became experts in scouting out local rivers. Ease
of access, car parking, cows in field and a good gravely bed all had to be studied, before a
final decision was reached.
We eventually settled on Toorenbrien bridge, located a few kms from Rearcross village. The
Mulcair flows here and last summer we spent an evening, listening to bats and up to our
ears and noses in biting insects
Been autistic it is sometimes more challenging to make connections with Harry. But now
from the back of the car, or resting on the wall of a bridge, conversations flowed around the
merits of each river.
The day before was spent packing. Net, guide, wellies and picnic were put into the booth of
the car. The morning arrived bright and dry and soon we were parked up by the river. The
bridge is beautifully constructed from cut stones with three low arches. For me each of
these arches represents a generations of Nolan’s. My eldest son sailed homemade boats
here, Harry is now pond dipping and every parent can dream of grandchildren. Rivers fill the
imagination of childhood with lifelong experiences.
I have to duck to fit under the arch and Harrys head knocks stalactites from the ceiling. This
is another measure of the all to advancing teenager years.
By the time I reached the gravely bed Harry has already filled the tray with water. I carefully
waded out into the river and hold the net against the flow of the water. With my foot I
disturbed the gravel and when I checked the net it was full of wriggling life. I poured this
living gravel into the tray and we waited for a moment while the silt settled down.
We both love the movements of the different creatures. The cased cadis fly is like a living
pebble that grows legs and starts to walk. Whirly gig beetles that move around like
fairground dodgem cars. Predatory dragonfly nymphs waiting with hungry mouths for their
next meal. All of these creatures will eventually leave their watery world and spent the rest
of their short lives as winged adults.
Almost unseen the farmer arrived back. Even In stout wellies he is used to moving quietly
over the land. He pokes his stick in the tray and I hold up a bug jar. He squints as he is used
to seeing life bigger and with four legs.
“Are they dangerous to animals?” I said no and was about to give a big explanation, but a
nod of the head shows that he is his interested and no more needs to be said. As he left for
dinner he briefly paused to comment on the challenging times and missing the chat and a
pint in the local
I turned back as I heard a big splash and Harry had fallen in. We retreated to the car and
released a few creatures trapped in pools in the wellies. We picnic by the sounds of the river
and on the way home we are already looking out the window and planning our next trip.