Catchment News

Stories from the Waterside – a unique collection of short stories celebrating Ireland’s waterbodies

Stories from the Waterside is a unique collection of short stories celebrating individual connections with Ireland’s rivers, lakes and beaches. These stories are the winners of a national story writing competition held in April and May during the COVID-19 lockdown.

This book has the winning stories and several others that were shortlisted. It has been launched to mark Water Heritage Day Sunday 23 August, the last day of National Heritage Week 2020.

Water Heritage Day is an opportunity to celebrate water, both as a precious natural resource and part of our heritage.

The competition was organised by the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) in partnership with The Heritage Council, the Heritage Officers Programme, Waterways Ireland and Inland Fisheries Ireland. The competition was a resounding success with almost 500 entries from across the island of Ireland in both English and Irish.

All of the stories can be read on the new Stories from the waterside website –


This selection of short pieces from the ‘Stories from the Waterside’ competition vividly reveals that our relationship to our local rivers, lakes, ponds, shorelines and canals are rich, intense and diverse.

For many writers, memories of a waterbody conjure up stories of lost and dreamy childhood freedoms, when time stretches and where anxieties fall away, freedoms that too few children enjoy today.

Fishing is a recurrent theme, sometimes expressing ecology’s key insight, that the abundance of any one species depends on the health of its whole interlinked habitat.

Other writers remind us of the social and economic importance of water, that clean water comes from community stewardship of complex ecosystems, not from taps.

For many, spending time near water and the places it lies and runs has healing, liberating powers, sometimes experienced through fascination with plant and animal species, sometimes in a more holistic way.

Welcome to these stories from the waterside! – Paddy Wordworth

You can download the booklet with all the stories on

Learn more:

The booklet is available to download for free from

The launch of Stories from the Waterside in Kilkenny with Minister Malcolm Noonan TD on 18 August 2020.

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.