Riverbank Clean Up as part of the UL Green Week- 6 April 2014

After such a long and eventful winter, we are finally getting ready for a cleanup of the river bank along the footpath from UL toward the city .

We are planning to meet at 10am at the UL Boat Club (to be confirmed). We will try and clean up as much as we can of the river bank toward the city.

Here is a link to the Facebook event where you can sign up and get in touch if you wish.

As there are other areas along the river and canal bank that need attention, we are planning other similar activities in the following weeks (on April 13 and 27).

Spring Clean in February- great turnout, excellent work!

We were blessed with glorious sunshine today. A lot of volunteers turned up and we had 2 boats on the canal collecting rubbish from the water, thanks to Pat and Dan .

We organised teams who took care of different sections of the canal bank, and everything worked out wonders. We met at 12pm and a few groups started straight away. A small group lead by Arthur went to work around the boat house, where they had spotted a lot of rubbish.

But people continued to arrive for the next hour or so, and we distributed bags, gloves and pickers  and directed them toward the areas that needed more attention.

Tires were pulled out of the canal by the boats, and we were astonished to find so many tires that ended up in the canal. Someone solved the mystery – actually the canal bank was reinforced with tires when it was done up back in 2005-2006. They’re now becoming loose and some of them are ending in the canal.

A microwave and a bicycle were pulled out of the water, and a toilet seat was found on the canal bank. Tim and his three little daughters joined in, and with their united forces they were able to pull out a truck tire from the ditch between the foot path and  Richmond RFC.

Mary from Wildroutes took photos of some of the odd objects that herself, Pat and Joan Lysaght pulled out of the canal: a TV set, a CD folder, a supermarket trolley and so on. You can admire them on our Facebook page.

More photos from today are available here.

A lot of walkers passed by. Some of them avoided eye contact; some others had a word of appreciation. A fisherman who found himself surrounded by volunteers left his angles and piled the rubbish that he could find around him for the volunteers to collect it. A man we stopped asking if he saw any volunteers at work on the northern side of the canal asked to join. We tried to give him a flyer so that he can join next time, but he replied “I want to help now!” He took on the wheelbarrow and didn’t stop until all the rubbish bags were back at Richmond RFC. We found out that he is originally from Bulgaria.

A group from Transition Limerick joined, and they have done an absolutely fantastic job! Carla helped collecting the bags from the northern side of the canal with her van and brought them back to Richmond as well.

We had staff and students from UL, Susan from the Adult Education College, people of different nationalities, backgrounds and paths of life. None of us actually likes picking up rubbish, and it would be fantastic if we could make a difference by convincing people to take their rubbish home and not having to pick it up ourselves. Rubbish bins would probably make a difference if placed on the canal and river bank. In the mean time, those who really care about the river and canal banks- like Cait or Joan- pick up rubbish every day when they are out walking. Fair play to them!

We had 35 people out caring for the canal bank out today. Thank you very much for giving up your Sunday time to help a good cause! We were all proud to see how good the canal bank showed afterwards (although there are a few points where we need to go back).

We are extremely grateful to Limerick City& County Council – and especially to Sinead McDonnell, the Environmental Officer, for providing us with bags, gloves and pickers and for organising the rubbish collection on Monday.

We would also like to thank to the nice people at Richmond RFC for hosting our tea&coffee&chat at the end of the activity!



Spring clean-up – Sunday, 24 February 2013

It’s that time of the year again! The canal and riverbank look much better this year, after all the hard work that went in during the last year. The Limerick Civic Trust team has done an excellent job early this year, cutting down branches and collecting the rubbish.

Our job will be a lot easier this year, so maybe we can spend a bit of time talking about how to maintain the foot path and the riverbanks clean.

We’ll be meeting at 12pm at Richmond RFC on Sunday 24 February. We’ll start the clean-up at 12:30 and we hope to be done by 3pm. At 3:30 we’ll be back in Richmond for a cup of tea/coffee and cake.

View Richmond RFC in a larger map

In preparation for the spring activities

Today we went down by the canal to estimate how much work needs to be done in two weeks time.
We also looked for little corners that could foster our future “secret garden”.

Joan Lysaght pointed out this interesting plant, that was used as bed straw in the past. It has a lovely scent, but it looks like its use in mattresses was later proved to cause liver and kidney problems.
It’s called Winter heliotrope, also known as Butterbur.

Canal Walk in Preparation Of Cleanup


Harvest Time Guided Riverbank Walk on Sunday

The Limerick Riverpath Volunteers initiative group (previously known as “We love Plassey Riverbank”) lead several clean-up operations, as well as wild flowers sowing on the canal and river bank earlier this year.
Now it’s time to enjoy what the river bank has to offer! We are organising a guided walk followed by a picnic on Sunday, and everybody is welcome!

We will be meeting at 2pm at the old lock on the canal bank – behind Emo petrol station on Clare St.
We will start with a bit of history – Sharon Slater of Limerick’s Life will share stories about the glorious past of the canal.
Maura Turner of Birdwatch Ireland will draw our attention to the birds we might encounter during our walk, and horticulturist Joan Lysaght will open our eyes to the many plants, trees and bushes that grow on the canal and river bank.
We’ll walk by the canal and then by the river up to the junction with the Anglers’ Walk. Softday‘s Mikael Fernstrom and Sean Taylor will help us acquire the magic power of listening to underwater sounds.

On the way back to the Richmond Rugby&Football Club, we’ll look for blackberries and photograph as many hidden treasures as we can.
The berries are for the picnic, and the photos for a Limerick Riverpaths digital treasure chest!
And finally around 4pm, we’ll get back together for a harvest picnic at Richmond RFC. We’ll have the chance to sample each other’s baking while sipping a cup of tea/coffee and chatting about what we’ve seen.

Richmond RFC will be open from us from 1:45pm until 5pm.
Join us anytime, and be prepared for any weather. We’re doing our best to arrange sun;)

Raking and cleaning the canal bank

This Sunday, we had a lovely sunny day working by the canal. A few people joined Pat Lysaght in his boat and collected rubbish from the water. We cleaned the canal bank on the city side and had a great chat with the children from the neighbourhood, taking about their ideas for the future of the canal bank.


Wildflower sowing

As the sides of the canal footpath were cleaned and leveled,  we took the opportunity to seed some wildflowers. Mary Conroy from Wildroutes provided the seeds.

Second clean-up: the canal

Initially, we had planned to continue cleaning the riverbank from the Anglers’ Walk to the University of Limerick. But a few days ago, Miriam met a professional team hired by the County Council cutting the overgrowth and collecting the rubbish. They have done an excellent job, so now we can focus on the canal bank and collect as much rubbish as we can. Pat will bring his boat again, so that we can collect stuff from the water as well.

We’ll be meeting at Richmond RFC on Sunday, 11 March 2012 at 12.00pm.
We hope to be done by 2pm.
There will be tea and cake in Richmond afterwards. All ages welcome.

A well spent Sunday

Yesterday, about 20 people showed up for the canal and riverbank cleanup. We were hoping for some sunshine, but it didn’t happen. At least it didn’t rain!

The meeting point was Richmond Rugby Football Club on the canal bank at 12pm. The Munster Junior League final was on at 2:30pm, and we knew the place was going to get very busy.

People continued to arrive between 12 and 12:30. Miriam Lohan had done an audit of the riverbank and had maps for every group – with the severely littered areas marked on it.

Members of the Clancy Strand Street Feast group brought lovely cakes. Mary from Wildroutes showed us how you can build a nice birdhouse of almost any material. Children  were playing around. A fisherman showed up, wearing high boots, and offered us his help with carrying the rubbish back on the river and on the canal.

Shane Hickey and a few other people from the UL Green Campus initiative came to help, and brought materials left after last year’s  spring clean  with them (pickers, plastic bags).

We also had the support of the City Council Environmental officer, Sinead McDonnell, who helped us getting gloves and plastic bags, and made possible the pick-up of the rubbish this morning.

People spread along the canal and the river. We noticed the work that had been done to prepare the side areas for sowing grass. We tried to avoid them. Miriam cycled up and down, making sure everyone had the proper materials and helping various groups.

It was amazing to see how all the various people belonging to groups across Limerick city and from the neighbourhood came together. The “We love Plassey riverbank” Facebook page was the central point, but this blog post, together with the posters that we placed on the riverbank on Friday and the tiny flyers (actually business cards) also did the job.

We encountered mixed reactions from the people who were walking, jogging and cycling. Some avoided eye contact and didn’t answer to friendly hellos. Others stopped and engaged in a conversation. A lady told us it was the first time she walked there in ages – and she was really impressed.

There were people of several nationalities and backgrounds – together with locals, there were Swedish, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian. Not everybody knew the others in the beginning, but we quickly bonded.

The before and after pictures on our Facebook page show impressive transformations. We felt we really made a difference! The problem was that we ended up with 60+ very heavy bags of rubbish, that we had to carry back to Richmond RFC.

Dan O Neill, Plassey fisherman and hero of the day, ferried all he could fit in his boat.Anthony Furlong, of Limerick City Biodiversity Network  took quite a few of these 60 bags down the path on his bike. The problem was that we only had a wheelbarrow. Most of the bags had to be carried  back – and that was probably the toughest job we had! Asia came to our help with her 3 lovely daughters, carrying heavy bags at the back of the buggy.

When all the bags were brought back to the Richmond club – to be collected on Monday morning, we enjoyed the warm hospitality of the club, getting a cup of tea and a cake and planning the next action.

Note: Brian Leddin, who took part  in the clean-up, has a post on his blog on this event as well. There is also a mention of our action on this local blog.

We love Plassey Riverbank – a call to action

A couple of weeks ago, Facebook happened to be the medium where a conversation about the Plassey Riverbank started. During winter, as the water levels went up, the Shannon has brought downstream a lot of rubbish that is now making its banks look very bad. You can see in these photos how the beautiful sunsets and the first flowers of the spring are coexisting with plastic bottles, containers, car wheels and lots of polistyren.

After that conversation on Facebook, we decided we can do something about it ourselves. A Facebook page was created to try and get other people behind this idea.

This is how the We love Plassey Riverbank Facebook page explains why we, the people who love and use this area of the city should look after the canal and riverbank:

The University of Limerick is situated on the bank of the Shannon at Plassey. The old towpath goes along the bank to the Park Canal, the Abbey River and the city centre. It is in need of love and care, because people litter it and rubbish washed downstream gets caught on the bank and in the trees.

We made the following video two weeks ago and we posted it on Facebook and YouTube, to encourage people to join us:

For Sunday, 12th of February, we have planned a first clean-up operation:

We are meeting at 12pm at the Richmond RFC (by the railway bridge behind Musgraves).See map below!
If you have leaves rakes, fishing nets, wheelbarrows or any other tool you can think of, bring them

We are planning to try and clean up as much as we can of the canal bank and the river bank toward UL between 12:30 and 15:30 pm.

After the clean-up, we will reassemble at Richmond RFC for a soup&home-baked cakes and to watch the second half of the Munster Junior League final match.

Here’s a link to the Facebook event, in case you want to sign up.

View Richmond RFC in a larger map


The Green Campus Committee at the University of Limerick is supporting the event, and we will get to reuse some of the materials that remained after last year’s spring cleanup.
The Limerick City Council is also providing us with clear plastic bags and gloves, and will ensure the pick up of the rubbish on Monday morning.