ballyshannon, donegal, irish newspapers online, ireland, irish history, irish literature, irish famine - Linking Canada and Ireland - Linking Canada and Ireland

The Falls of Assaroe
Oil painting by art student Kevin Lowery

The Falls of Assaroe, oil painting by Kevin Lowery It is time to call a halt. For nigh on seven years this web site has conducted an Internet campaign calling for the restoration of the historic Falls of Assaroe on what was once the premier salmon fishing river in Ireland, the Erne. Readers were urged to send e-mails in support of the proposed restoration to the two Irish Prime Ministers holding office during that time.

Regrettably the campaign did not find favour with them. The Falls, as far as they were concerned, were part of history. They will not be restored in this generation.

The Falls of Assaroe were sacrificed to permit generation of hydro power in aid of rural electrification. In the process the local salmon fishery was brought to the brink of extinction. The river itself became a tailrace, all trace of its former glory obliterated in a man-made channel running through the town of Ballyshannon in County Donegal.

The consequences for the wild salmon stock, once so plentiful, have been disastrous.

Fortunately an alternative plan to rehabilitate the lower basin of the Erne has been put forward, more realistic in its reach, more promising in its potential to save the wild stock, more likely to promote growth in tourism, especially among the angling fraternity, and at a much lower expenditure of public moneys than required for the restoration of Assaroe.

It centers on the development of the existing Sminver Stream as a viable channel for passage of fish free from the stress of negotiating a poorly designed fishpass at the Cathleen's Falls power plant. Details may be found in's June 2003 article: Erne River Restoration Project.

The oil painting above is the work of local art student Kevin Lowery of Ballyshannon. Son of Murt Lowery, an E.S.B. manager of the Cathleen's Falls power station, Kevin's depiction of the long vanished Falls of Assaroe is remarkably true as can be seen from the photograph below, taken in years gone by, long before their desecration in the name of progress.

We hope that Kevin's progress as an artist meets the heights which this early work foretells.

His painting was spotted in a local crafts shop in 2002, and generously donated by the buyer to the originator of the now concluded Assaroe Falls campaign.

"The friendly town, the kindly spot." My thanks to one and all.

September 2003.

Kevin Lowery's postal address is The Knader Road, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, Ireland.

The original Falls of Assaroe


Home | About | Canadian Vindicator | Literature | Gallery | History