The River Bandon An Bean Deas

I have lived with a goddess all my life. She is full of surprises; her twists and turns spectacular,
Sometimes she looks hollow and lean timid and shy, sometimes brimming full, bubbling over. Always
changing. Never ever quiet though. In the past there were times when her anger raged, erupting
escaping onto the streets. She was an unwelcome visitor flooding and destructive. What she
destroyed took ages to mend. Some say that the things she drowned could never be replaced.
Recently she has been tamed in parts beyond recognition, this had to be done to prevent future
destruction, to help protect the town she glides through. The lamprey is gone now, maybe some fish
and birds will never return, but people feel safer. A rerouting and reinforcing of walls and dams.
Rock armouring now preventing any notions she has to escape. Yes, she looks different now, but like
before she still retains the power to seduce. A fathomless beauty.
Where does this beauty come from?
A quiet start in the loneliness of The Shehy Mountains, she makes small tributaries on her way. The
Sally, The Brewery, The Small Blackwater, and The Bridewell rivers. All more unassuming than her of
My favourite views of her are from Kingston’s land, from the old and now new foot bridge and more
recently the walk we fondly call Graham’s Walk.
Her audience is captive. Grey languid herons hang about on stony banks. Noisy mallards dine and
gossip on her all day long, the cormorant looks witchy extending his black wings. There were times in
the past when we spotted brown trout and salmon trying to jump the old weir.
So many creatures of sky and water, that worship at her call. An occasional pair of swans’ glide near
marsh grass. Gulls screech and swoop to catch thrown pieces of bread from children on their way
past the playground. Noisy crows balance on the mossy old walls, blackbirds come and go preferring
the newly made walls. She brings an added beauty to sunsets, you are lucky to see them blend,
delighting any eye.
The rush of wind as I cross the footbridge makes her movement busy. It is as if the goddess is racing
to catch someone in time. Nothing stagnant or still, never staying, always moving, making music as
she goes. I wish that I were so fast.
These days it has become important for me to see her before she passes through. It has become
something I need. Seeing her makes me feel happy and hopeful. I follow her on my daily walks, her
sound giving me a calmness that nothing else can do. The trees seem to delight in her. It is as if their
branches lift their arms in praise. At this time of year, they are bursting with life. On my left there is
the yellow gorse, the Papery finesse of Dog Rose, bluebells popping up and snow drops. I spot
Starlings dancing in the cloudy sky. A summer palette of many greens makes her waters green. In
Winter they look blue as ice. Sometimes they are brown and black. Her coloured waters hold our
secrets. Every season makes her new.
I know that she is on her way to Kinsale to greet the ocean there. Now I would give anything to go
with her, to be as free as she. But I feel happy that momentarily she has made me feel free too. Yes,
its love I have for her, the BEAN DEAS, The River Bandon, the goddess of this town.