The Community Water Development Fund supports communities developing water related…
Kilteevan TidyTowns helps their community enjoy Moments by the Water
Eileen Fahy, Chair of Kilteevan TidyTowns, reflects on a project they worked on called Moments by the Water. Kilteevan’s wetland walks, cycleways, fairy trail, seating areas and picnic benches were a respite during the pandemic connecting the local community with nature, and even more importantly, with each other…
This article was originally published in the Winter 2021 Catchments Newsletter.
Kilteevan TidyTowns supports the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. We value our wild and natural places and wish to protect them as a natural heritage for present and future generations to enjoy.
From 2017 to 2021, with funding from the Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme, the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme, the support of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Roscommon Co. Council and the local community, we developed walks, cycle ways and installed a fairy trail, picnic bench, seating areas and information points. Little did we know how quickly our project would become a vitally important resource.
During COVID-19, large numbers walked the network of roadways around our 10,000-year-old raised bogs. Our Wetlands kept us connected and engaged with each other and with nature. This was of major benefit to our health and well-being.
To fight COVID-19, we washed and washed our hands and listened to constant reminders to wash our hands again. During all that time, did we once stop to think about the life giving and lifesaving resource flowing from the tap?
We wanted to take part in National Heritage Week 2021 and wondered what could we do? The thinking caps went on. Because of ongoing restrictions on events and gatherings, we explored the possibility of a project which everyone could view online.
Reflecting on our walks and all the handwashing we could see WATER was the common denominator.
The time had come to celebrate Water – the 24/7 365 day of the year, frontline resource which underpins our health, wellbeing, environment and future prosperity. We decided on a Water /Well-Being project to lift our spirits as we cautiously emerged from cocooning, lockdowns, social distancing and self-isolation.
Albert Einstein advised “Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better”. With this in mind, we created a mindfulness video to celebrate our water bodies–The Cloneigh River, the Kilteevan River, Lough Ree and the Cloonlarge Loop.
Our project idea was developed by collaborating with Conor Ruane, Community Water Officer, Local Authority Water Programme and Nollaig Feeney Heritage Officer, Roscommon Co Council. A local video company, Spicy Dog Media was contracted to create our video. The video premiered on Kilteevan TidyTowns Facebook page and Kilteevan Community website on August 22 2021, Water Heritage Day.
Watch the video
Reflections on the video
Seeing things from a different perspective gave us new insight and experience. The bird’s-eye view in the video helped to understand the concept of a catchment. We could see how the water catchment supports plants, animals, fish and insects and livelihoods such as agriculture, recreational angling and water sports. It was also interesting to see our water bodies feeding into the habitats of our Special Protected Area (SPA) and Lough Ree Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Feedback on the project
Many people enjoyed and appreciated the video, which was viewed over 700 times on our Facebook page. The video was described as “brilliant”, “beautiful”, “an excellent job”, “the images of water unlocked inner peace and calmed a very overactive mind”.
Some found it hard to believe this was Kilteevan. Viewers appreciated being able to see the beauty, the power, the grace, the meandering, the flow, the colours, the sounds, the magic and the mystery of the living water. The benefits of the human /nature relationship and its interconnectedness with our health and wellbeing were experienced and expressed. Conclusion: Einstein was right, nature has the answers, we just need to look… deeply.
Eileen Fahey, Chair of Kilteevan TidyTowns