By Dan Walsh
Is not it a devil when a pleasant Sunday afternoon arrives and there is nothing to do! Well, the hurling final was on in the park, but the Covid-19 restrictions ruled that one out, thought about a dip at Curracloe, but parking upsets people there these days and to keep the peace staying away for a while longer is the wise choice, so the natural course of events was to escape into natures land.
I needed a novel approach! Something I could write about and share some light reading on a day when local news either did not happen or was hiding behind ‘closed doors.’ And so, I arrived at Edenvale. Had been there before, but that’s not a valid excuse for not returning.
Edenvale is about one kilometre on the Crossabeg side of Castlebridge village, once famed for its milling trade, shortly before the River Sow empties into Wexford Harbour, and, believe it or not – one for the table quiz – the southern most tip of the existing Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council jurisdiction!
Edenvale Nature Walk is about 2.5 kilometres long, has several waterfalls, and on the practical side, hides away a water pumping station that services about 200 homes.
The laneway is in good order although does not really favour cyclists because of its hilly terrain, but there are no restrictions!
This is a place where time stands still in a wooded valley, very steep on both sides, coloured by centuries of afforestation, so old that some have succumbed to age and tempestuous weather, and have ended up sprawling both sides of the river.
The heavy rainfall of the past week has discoloured the water into a temporary brownish presence that is transferred into sheets of white cascading wash at the waterfalls. A shy freshwater river instantly grows angry and sends its natural energy into people’s homes.
Edenvale has always been a friend to nature. It has been mentioned in local guide sources since they first emerged from the printing press. On May 11, 1912, shop assistants were given the first half-day off from the town businesses, and many groups from Enniscorthy and Wexford chose Edenvale to celebrate the occasion, and as some vintage photographs record, they brought with them musical instruments with the most popular being the uileann pipes, banjo and bagpipies.
In the words of Wexford’s greatest historian and raconteur, Nicholas Furlong; “Edenvale became the Mecca for the day tripper.”
On my return home I have been trawling through different references to Edenvale and there is general approval that the beauty of the place is unparalleled, however, on the negative side, far too many images on social media showing ugly scenes of scattered litter appears at the touch of a keyboard.
While I was there today the place was busy enough. Family groups admiring nature, taking home images on their mobile phones, sharing a bubbly atmosphere and many a cheerful word, and even the canines were happy in the control of their faithful companion.
Respect was everywhere. Admiration for a green and thriving environment was at a premium. Edenvale was nature’s gift to those who dare to share. In fairness, the place was almost litter free, nothing of a serious nature, however, for the little guy who left his underpants on a fallen tree trunk…well, its dark colour did a fine job in disguising a moment of forgetfulness!