I began my 2016 “Streets Of Ireland” programme with a visit to Kilkenny [9-11 May] and the weather was terrible because it did nothing but rain and at times the rain was very heavy. Based on experience gained in 2015 and 2014 I recently spent a lot of money getting suitable all-weather gear and a more suitable weather-proof camera system and while this investment did help the sky was very grey and impacted greatly on my photography. I had to undertake a lot of work in post to dehaze many of the images so at times the sky may appear a bit strange.
Kilkenny is very much a party town but I wanted to photograph something other then hen/stag parties, nightclubs and tourist-attractions so I asked some local shopkeepers for suggestions and every one of them suggested the ‘Nore Linear Park’ but they all made it sound like a bit of a marathon [maybe they thought that I looked a bit old or unfit].
I made two attempts to explore the linear park, the first was late on Monday but the weather was just so bad that I abandoned the task after I had difficulty exiting a raised-rampway after I came across an arrow pointing to John Street because every gateway that I came to was locked. I had to retrace my route and as a result I did find an interesting old graveyard which I returned to on Tuesday [I will publish those images later in the week]. I asked a number of people about the old graveyard but no one that I asked was aware of it or its history.
On Tuesday I made a second attempt in the morning and while the weather was not good I did manage to photograph all sections within a few hours and along the route I got to meet some very interesting people and one really rude person.
On Monday I used a Sony 28-135mm lens but for my visit the the linear park I switched to a Zeiss Batis 25mm lens [which may have been a bad choice because it is a wide-angle lens]. The Batis is light and much easier to protect from the rain which is why I decided to use it.
The Nore Linear Park follows the banks of the River Nore as it flows through Kilkenny City. The park has a network of accessible cycleways and footpaths on both sides of the river within Kilkenny City and Environs.
The Linear Park can be roughly divided into four sections: -
1. The West Bank (from Bishopsmeadows to the weir at Talbot's Inch): This section is approached from Riverside Drive close to Green's Bridge or from the Sycamores Housing estate. It can also be accessed (by foot only) from steps at Talbot's Inch on the Freshford/Urlingford Road. This section of the park travels through mainly meadow grassland. The footing is easy and level. The section of the park is accessible to persons of limited mobility from the Riverside Drive entrance and from the Sycamores entrance. It should be noted that the Linear Park is located in a floodplain and in periods of high rainfall may be inaccessible.
2. The Peace Park (between John's Bridge and Green's Bridge in the City Centre):This is the most urban section of the Linear park, travelling through town along the eastern bank, parallel to Michael Street. Much of this section is paved and lined with shrub planting beds with plenty of seating areas to sit and enjoy. Access is from Michael Street or from John's Quay in the city centre or from Greensbridge Street.
3. The Canal Walk (parallel to Kilkenny Castle Grounds)
The third section of the park runs between the Kilkenny Castle Park and the River Nore and involved the upgrade and extension of the existing 'Canal Walk'. This is an attractive walk lined for much of its length with mature trees especially limes. The walk runs from Canal Square and terminates at Fennessy's Mill . During Kilkenny Castle Park open hours it is possible to access the grounds of the Castle Park from the Canal Walk. See www.heritageireland.ie for Castle Park opening hours.
4. The Lacken Walk: This area has recently been upgraded with bank stabilisation works to restore eroded areas and extended with the installation of a raised timber boardwalk. This walk is accessible from steps on the Dublin Road or from the lower path on Maudlin Street and from a newly constructed ramp linking the area with the Ring Road. The path which is narrow in places runs between HSE grounds on the Dublin Road and the river bank and links to the Nore Valley Walk to Bennettsbridge and beyond.