Monday 24 July 2017

We should make the most of our beautiful Boyne riverbank


PERHAPS MY husband would beg to differ, but I think I have finally become low maintenance! Not that I have lowered my standards of course (I'll be lucky to be served in any restaurant in Drogheda after last week), but I think my tastes have become more simple in other ways.

At one stage, time off with the family at Easter meant a holiday abroad, but bar the lucky few who have been unscathed by the recession (or are still living beyond their means), it is now a time for using the imagination and whatever is available on the Boyneside! And that is exactly where I happened to spend one of the most enjoyable, and certainly economical, few hours of the recent break.

Seeing that it was going to be a glorious spring day, i.e not snowing, bicycle tyres were pumped, gloves were donned, teeth were gritted and tracks were made for St Dominic's Park, to make use of what little public amenities we have actually been granted by our local council.

Now from talking to some people, once you arrived here, you would expect to be greeted with the sight of heroin addicts, axe murderers and any other manner of social deviant strewn willy-nilly across the park, but nothing could be farther from the truth. We were in fact greeted with the smell of freshly mown grass, as the entire park was being tended by a council worker, whom I'm happy to report was most definitely a Drogheda resident and not imported for the task!

The playground was bubbling with excited toddlers, boisterous tweenies, and chattering parents. The adjoining park was pristine, with barely a hint of litter, and thankfully, not a sign of anything a dog would naturally ablute al fresco! Bins for owners to 'scoop the poop' were placed at least every 100 yards, and in would seem they were being used (as I didn't spy any dog wearing nappies or crossing their legs).

Helmets on, and off we set for the tow-path along the Ramparts, on which the council did such an amazing job a number of years ago. Rather than being the isolated walk it once was, it was buzzing with walkers, joggers and swan-feeders, and I'm very happy to report the once-departed ducks are making a very welcome return to the banks of the Boyne.

The journey westward is punctuated with delightful plaques recalling stories of mythical Ireland, including the Salmon of Knowledge, which I can't help feeling we should be making more of in this town. Copenhagen has created a whole tourist industry based on a lesser-known fable in my view.

I'm no bird -spotter, but even an amateur like me can appreciate the variety of wildllife along the edge of this beautiful river.n A heron or two strutted their stuff amongst the more mundane, and the rustling reeds provided shelter for some recent anatine arrivals.

Of course, I wasn't blinded by romanticism. There was the odd shopping trolley or two strewn on the muddy banks, revealed by an unusually low tide, but they were far out-numbered by primroses, bluebells and dog-daisies nodding happily in the hedgerows.

It would be great to see the work on the Ramparts extended the length of the tow-path to the Cable Bridge. How about a pontoon or two to allow river cruises, and a further united push to get the Boyne Canal up and running again?

Our river and its banks provide a unique platform for outdoor activities of all kinds, which I'm delighted to see are being enjoyed by more and more people each year, so let's make the most of being Drogheda on the Boyne.

But I still think we should forget the gondolas...!

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