The Falls of Assaroe
"The silver salmon shooting up the fall,
Itself at once the arrow and the bow."
William Allingham 1824-1889.
The Falls of Assaroe, a famous salmon leap on the River Erne
in County Donegal, figure prominently in the annals and histories of Ireland,
and are celebrated in story and song, rhyme and rann, e.g. "The Winding Banks of
Erne" by Allingham, and "Lament for Thomas Davis" by Samuel Ferguson. Salmon
shooting up the Falls on their annual migration were a sight for thousands of
The Falls themselves were the site of numerous battles, of which none was
more famous than the complete rout of an army led by Sir Conyers Clifford,
English appointed Governor of Connacht, against Red Hugh O'Donnell, in August,
The Falls were sacrificed in the name of progress during construction of the
Erne hydro-electric scheme in the late 1940s. The tourist trade was adversely
impacted, and a valuable heritage was lost, seemingly for all time. Now, fifty
years later, engineering technology can restore the Falls and give back to the
border counties of northwest Ireland a natural treasure than can promote
environmental, ecological and economic benefits.
This World Wide Web page is devoted to developing awareness of a proposal to
restore the Falls of Assaroe. To that end, the history of Assaroe and of the
River Erne is told in a series of short stories and vignettes based on extracts
from the Irish annals and on the author's own experiences when fishing the
evening rise on the Erne, just above "the kindly spot, the friendly town" that
was the Ballyshannon of his youth.
The story settings span the millennia, from pre-history through 1,500 B.C.,
the Christian era and onwards, culminating in the early years of the 21st
The series is presented under the compendium title "The Hawk of the Erne".
The author, John Ward, is a former Donegal newspaperman, Dáil Éireann official
reporter, and Editor of Debates (Hansard) in the Canadian House of Commons.
If you enjoy "The Hawk of
the Erne" and find the proposed project worthy of your interest, please
alert your Internet friends to the existence of this site.
Readers have asked how they can participate in the
campaign to restore the Falls of Assaroe. One way is to send an e-mail to the
head of the Government of Ireland, An Taoiseach (i.e. Prime Minister).
A simple message, "I support restoration of the Falls of Assaroe", will
suffice. Better still, readers are invited to make their own individual
Please direct your message now to:
The Falls as nature made them.
Click for larger image
| Canadian Vindicator