St. John’s River: Confluence

This and the following four posts are dedicated to the Friends of St. John’s River.


Waterford is situated along the beautiful River Suir – the river one cannot miss. Many visitors, however, might never realise that there is another river sneaking behind the Waterford Crystal House – St. John’s River, which, according to her Friends, represents the heart of the city. About a mile from the Rice bridge River Suir curves to the SE direction. Right before the curve is where two rivers meet.

Until the 18th century, St. John’s River didn’t have banks – there was a marshland and a pool of water that filled up at high tide and almost emptied at low tide. The pool was drained, the city expanded, and St. John’s River was contained within the banks reinforced with stone all the way to the River Suir. Here is some more history.

We know where the mouth of St. John’s River is, but where is the source? I don’t know it, but we will walk as far as we can and try to find it out.

Meanwhile, lets stay at the mouth of the river a little longer and enjoy the wildlife.

This heron at Marina hotel is wise enough to understand that photographers cannot fly over the fencing.

This gull is probably an adult non-breeding Herring gull.

These two look like young Great black-backed gulls. My knowledge of the juvenile gull classification is almost nonexistent.

One ‘teenager’ annoying the other πŸ™‚

The cutest group of Black-headed gulls in their winter plumage. I have no idea what is that ‘stranger’ they have adopted.

The last look at the River Suir from the Scotch Quay before we are off to follow St. John’s River through the city.

We walk to the Georges Quay. The unnamed metal pedestrian bridge connects to the Adelphi Quay.

Gigantic red buoy in the Georges Quay is a lovely bright detail among the grey surroundings.

Pigeons are heading to the William Street Bridge. So are we.

We cross to the other side of St. John’s River. William Street bridge was built between 1780-1820. It is a single arch humpback bridge.

Pigeons are foraging on the walls.

We pass the car park and enter City Courthouse grounds. Courthouse was built to the design of Terence O’Reilly on the site of the ruins of St Catherine’s Abbey in 1841. Many of the dead from the 1604 outbreak of plague were buried in these grounds. Courthouse was recently refurbished and extended. In 2016, after the epic All-Ireland hurling semi-final, Kilkenny flag was put out at the top of the Courthouse .You might remember my blog post where I mentioned the long lasting rivalry between our two counties divided by River Suir.

I am mostly interested in starlings residing in the grounds.

Charming lattice work iron bridge over St. John’s River connect Courthouse grounds with People’s Park. The bridge was opened in 1857 by then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland William Frederick Howard, 7th Earl of Carlisle, and named Carlisle Bridge for him.

In the “waste and weary swamp covered with dank and fetid water“, People’s Park was laid out in 1857, after the marshland was drained and St. John’s River diverted and contained in the banks. The “Orb” in the picture is a sculpture incorporating water continuously flowing over it. The sculpture was created by Tina O’Connell, and installed in 2002 in the place of a beautiful Victorian fountain which was vandalized beyond repair.

Look back at the Courthouse ( I just love this bridge).

Blackheaded gulls on the Carlisle bridge.

One more look back.

This is the end of today’s walk. We leave People’s Park and walk into town again. Hardy’s Bridge below was built in 1841/1842, and commemorates the captain of Admiral Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy (1769-1839).

We resume our walk along the St. John’s River in two weeks. Thank you for joining the tour.

www.inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

131 comments

  1. Thank you for taking us on this lovely walk, Inese – I stayed home today doing some spring cleaning so this was a very welcome break. πŸ˜‰ Love the seagulls and had to laugh when I saw the one teenager gull annoying the other. πŸ˜„ Have a beautiful weekend! xxxxxxxxxx

  2. Fantastic post, Inese. I loved seeing the many picturesque views of St. Johns River, and hearing about the rich history that goes back so very far in time. Your photos, as always, are spectacular. I especially liked the row of gulls (1st) and River Suir from the Scotch Quay (10th). I liked how your photos reflect the integration of the rivers into the towns, so paramount as they are.

    1. Thank you so much Jet! The river is a part of the history indeed. I would prefer a ‘wild look’, but the river is tidal and some flood defense system has to be in place. Still, some birds find a home there. When we walk out of town in my future posts, we will see more wildlife πŸ™‚

      1. Whenever I’m away from the sea I miss the gulls. Annoying as they can be they are my favourite birds. They have the attitude I wish I had ~ George

      1. Ah! Some glitch I guess. Thank you so much for joining the walk. I am away in May, but I will keep posting the guidelines so that you can keep walking πŸ˜‰

  3. Inese, always a pleasure to take a journey with you. I think the “Orb” would look best on a moonless night.

    1. Thank you! πŸ™‚ I wouldn’t dare to go to the park at night to see what the orb looks like in the dark. This is a wintertime picture. The orb looks better in summer, with the water flowing over from the top. Also, Kilkenny marble border looks beautiful too.

      1. Oh I more than. I never know how you do these amazing captures. I mean I do but simply put your talent always leaves me thinking OMG. I could use many more words here but OMG sums them up. Here you take gulls which okay…we live in a city that is concerned cos they now attack folks in taxi queues so they…..not the folks, probably alas… get certain labels. (Mind you I did have to smack a gull once with my bag for attacking my friend who .seriously was just waiting to get into her taxi and had no food in her hand. ) But your pictures? Well they just show gulls and they have the same right to things as the rest of us xxxxxxxxx

        1. Shehanne, they do attack people, and I was attacked by the great blackbacked a few times when trying to take a close up, but never fought back because I was afraid they would call for a reinforcement πŸ™‚ I just run πŸ™‚ Blackheaded gulls mostly keep to the river. You can see how neatly they perched and didn’t make any trouble xxxxxxxxxxxxx

            1. Ironically when I married I moved to Germany and it was my plan to go to Ireland to get Waterford straight from the source but did not make it there. Have a lovely day!

        1. I have to visit him :). I will wait until they have chicks – I might find them by the noise they make. Meanwhile, I will visit your blog for more pictures ❀

    1. Thank you for such a warm report or page, ( don’t know computer jargon), but anyway, beautiful photos of Carlisle Bridge and surroundings. I was very sad to hear of the senseless vandalism to the once, Victorian Fountain, such a waste and a shame. I really have no interest in modern art, in fact I think some of it just makes the place look awful, but the large circle or balloon object is quite nice and all gratitude to the artist.

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