Ancient and modern marvels by the Shannon
The Irish Timber Growers Association held a field trip recently and for once we gathered in a place which was easy to find, had good car parking and actually contained excellent pubs and cafes.
This is not the norm for us hardy forestry folk. Frequently our venues are half way up mountains that require a course in orienteering to locate. Bringing wet gear and one's own food and sustenance is a further essential. Even cars can be in danger during ITGA outings.
I recall destroying the catalytic convertor on a large and expensive Mercedes on a rough forest road in Co Clare during a field day some years ago. Fortunately it wasn't mine but belonged to a friend who had foolishly asked me to drive. Enough said however on that sore subject.
Having learnt our lesson on previous outings, many of us bring 4WDs these days and manufacturers could well benefit from seeking an ITGA seal of approval as an added advertisement for their vehicles.
Drumsna in Co Leitrim was formerly on the main Dublin to Sligo road but like its neighbor, Jamestown, and many other towns and villages, it has since been bypassed.
Back in the 1800s it was the main resting place for horse-drawn carriages and its harbour on the Shannon was then thriving. The construction of a canal in 1874 changed navigation however and most trade moved on elsewhere. This pattern was repeated when the new motorway removed much of the passing commercial traffic.
Rather than dying a second economic death, however, Drumsna has been saved from economic decline by the River Shannon. The town is now a busy place and a popular spot for the growing numbers of holiday makers who enjoy messing around with boats.
Having first viewed and discussed a fine nearby conifer woodland, we retired back to the village to enjoy lunch, relaxing in the welcome October sunshine. Here I discovered that the famous Victorian novelist, Anthony Trollope, had begun his literary career while staying in Drumsna as an employee of the postal service.