Imelda Walsh Brookes
O Joyous Spring which gave you birth,
Surging forth, enriching earth:
Headlong you rush along your course,
Powerful, ever growing force;
Swiftly down dark mountains sliding,
Gentle through green meadows gliding,
Twisting, turning, ever-changing,
Your every mood engaging:
Dark somber tones of sedge,
Shadows on your curving edge;
Brown bog land yields,
To suntanned fields –
Nature’s tender tints hold sway,
Enhancing all along your way,
And so to Leam:
New homes set on hilltop tall.
Brown mountains towering over all;
The gleaming mirror of the lake,
Reflecting beauty for beauty’s sake;
Flow through Glengowla still serene,
Peaceful, as a painted scene;
Yet dotted on the hillside green,
Stark ruins can still be seen,
Ivy covered gables still stand,
Mute testimony of a ravaged land;
Green ferns fronds ensnare,
Primrose shyly growing there,
Wind your way from Agraffard,
Quickening now to Oughterard,
To some sudden siren call,
Rush rampaging to the Fall,
Hurtling over sulphur rock,
Reverberating sudden shock,
Cascading down the layered stone,
Changing to a measured tone:
All rage spent, a limpid stream,
On your bed jewelled pebbles gleam.
You assume a gentle pace
For this peaceful placid place.
So softly slowly flow along,
Whispering your water song,
For soon you will have run your race,
Surrendering to the sea’s embrace.
The Owenriff River
Note: The Owenriff River (Abhainn Ruibhe – Sulphur River), flows through the Village of Oughterard along the main Galway/Clifden Road. The river rises 16km (10miles) west of Oughterard in Lough Aphreaghan. It flows through Lough Boffin, Lough Adrehid and under the Quiet Man Bridge, through Lough Agraffard and the Lead Mine Lake.
Its tributaries are the Conga that cascades down form two upper lakes, Lettercraffroe and the smaller lake Conga to join the Owenriff a short distance from Agraffard. It is joined by another tributary, Bunowen: it flows under Glengowla Bridge on the main Clifden Road. A small
stream from Lough Mall also contributes to the flow of water.
This massive and powerful body of water tumbles over a waterfall. You can gain access to the waterfall at a side entrance at “Waterfall Lodge”. The Owenriff is so named because sulphur stones were found in the river in 1666 and 1667, a period of extraordinary drought. Similar stones were found when The Board of Works was deepening the river in 1960. The name of the river was anglicized to Owenriff.