My River Barrow

The River Barrow, second longest river in Ireland, one of The Three
Sisters, rises in The Sliabh Blooms and together with The Nore and
The Suir flows into Waterford Harbour. There are many important
towns and villages along its banks, the Village of St. Mullins among
them. In the past, The Barrow played an important part in the
economy of these places, bringing goods like coal, barley, flour &
timber to their destinations.
The monastery at St. Mullins, founded by the great cleric Moling in
the seventh century was and is one of the features of the River
A heavenly choir foretold the spot on the river where St Moling was
to build his monastery and make his home. As well as building the
monastery & round tower, he dug a mill race to grind corn for the
monks with his bare hands. He blessed the well which is a place of
pilgrimage to the present day.
During the plague of the 15th century thousands of people came from
surrounding towns to ask protection at the blessed well from the
Black Death that was rampaging through Ireland at the time. The
river wide and slow moving which is tidal to St. Mullins, provided
food Shad (or Thwaite) (which are a fish peculiar to The Barrow) and
a mode of transport.
There is a story surrounding Shad in The Barrow. St Moling and St
Evin were both in dispute over the catch of salmon which came up
both rivers, St. Evin was responsible for The Nore and St. Moling for
The Barrow. They both decided they would call the shoals of fish to
discuss a fairer distribution but on the day of the meeting St.Moling
fell asleep at the appointed time and missed the meeting leaving St.
Evin with the Salmon in The Nore and St. Moling with the Shad, a less
meaty fish in The Barrow!
On another occasion as he sat on the riverbank with his companions
and pet fox, he was approached by a group of people who had
brought along a very distressed young women with a sick child. The
women pleaded with St. Moling to cure her infant who was at the
brink of death.” He has already passed away, there is nothing I can
do,” said the saint. The women’s wails got louder as she said “I know
that anything you ask of The Lord will be granted” and she thrust her
infant into the hands of the saint.
To their horror, St. Moling threw the infant into the swirling waters
of The Barrow and the child started to float off down the river. The
monks looked on in disbelief as the women screamed in horror. St.
Moling then calmly asked the monks to retrieve the infant from the
river and as they were wading out to fetch the child they heard a
loud wail. As they pulled the child out of the water their dismay
turned to joy as the infant had come back to life and was none the
worse for his ordeal. His mother was beside herself with joy at this
The Barrow is part of an unchanging landscape, unconsciously we
are soothed by its tranquillity and drawn to its dark waters. It
watches over our arrival and sings for our departure with its never
ending tune. We are blessed indeed.