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. Dear Inese, your photos are truly amazing! I loved the photos with the aligned gulls. You’ve captured a magical moment. Thank you for sharing your beautiful and magical moments with us! Have a beautiful and (photographically) inspired day!

    1. Thank you Mihaela! I am glad you like the walk and the birds πŸ™‚ I was lucky to capture a photogenic moment in the gulls’ life πŸ™‚

  2. Inese, thank you so much for sharing your delightful walk with us! Accompanied by so many varied birds. The cluster of gulls are beyond cute and the heron is proudly posting for you. I love the bridge as well but am in two minds about the Orb. A terrific post with beautiful photos and great writing and explanation! Happy Easter! πŸ˜€πŸŒΊ

    1. Thank you so much, Annika! I have scheduled another four blog posts about the river πŸ™‚ I am surprised that there is so much to tell about the river that is 3 km long πŸ™‚ Happy Easter! ❀

  3. The picture of the heron and gulls remind me of the streams in Korea. πŸ™‚ Had I not read the title, I would have mistaken this place to be Korea. Truly fascinating. I wonder if these birds migrate from here to there. Loved your pictures! xoxo

    1. Thank you so much! The herons stay here over the year, but the gulls can migrate πŸ™‚ So you have herons over there. How wonderful! They are lovely and funny birds. xxxx

  4. Oh, these are lovely! And your talk of marshes makes me so excited for next month. As a Mother’s Day/Birthday gift for my mom and my daughter, I want to take them on a marshland boat tour. https://www.horiconmarsh.org/ I can’t decide if we should do the birding tour, or just the basic tour. I probably should let them decide. πŸ™‚ xxxxxxxxxxx

    1. Jean, they will love the boardwalks and the boat tour. I think you will see many birds anyway, without taking a special tour. So exciting!
      I have scheduled five blog posts since I am away in May. This little river has been a source of comfort, when I needed it. xxxxxxxxxxxx

      1. Oh lovely! I can’t wait to see your other posts. I hope you can return to the river often!
        My other big photo hope this year is to finally take my family to my childhood town in the western part of the state. The town’s been flooded out three times in only the past few years, and I want to capture what I can before the past is washed away. x

        1. It will be a wonderful trip! Sharing stories, visiting special places, taking pictures of your family will be a memorable experience. Hope it comes true soon. xx

  5. Wow Inese, what a fabulous post.. I love your part of the world through your eyes! I also love a good bridge and your photos of the birds in flight are just brilliant πŸ™‚ xx

    1. Thank you so much, Gill! The river walk was a source of joy for me during this winter. I owe a thank you to those who made it happen πŸ™‚ xx

  6. Thanks for the beautiful walk, Inese. I love rivers and bridges. I quite like the orb but it’s a shame that the Victorian fountain was destroyed. Some people place no value in history and its memory. Such shame. I look forward to the rest of the walk!

  7. A beautiful walk through the park, Inese. I love the photo of the gulls all lined up in a row and the two teenage gulls annoying each other. It’s so sad that the Victorian fountain was vandalized. I’ll never understand some people, I guess. Thanks for taking me on the peaceful tour. πŸ™‚

  8. Interesting shot of the gulls, all lined up like a row of soldiers. I think we may have stumbled onto the St. Johns River, not far from the confluence, while looking for a place to grab lunch. Our guide had suggested trying a local bread called blaa. Think we found a small deli that used the buns, I can’t remember what we opted for as a filling.

  9. Thanks for taking us along on your river walk! I enjoyed seeing the different gulls that you have – ours are so ordinary and mostly all the same. The red buoy was a nice bit of color. Great photos and facts!

      1. WordPress is playing their jokes, I guess πŸ™‚
        Thank you for walking with us. The lone Herring gull in the picture looks American to me, but I didn’t write about it just in case I am wrong. However it is possible, as sometimes these birds cross the ocean.
        I love birds, and will share their pictures in every John’s River post πŸ™‚

  10. Thanks for taking us along on this river walk! I enjoyed seeing the different kinds of gulls you have – our are very ordinary and very similar. And I liked the orb as it seemed to be a reminder of the future. Sorry about the Victorian fountain though!

    1. Thank you for stopping by! I would prefer they restored the Victorian one, and then put the orb in some other place. The same thing happened with the old Courthouse.

  11. I like watching gulls and love your first picture with many gulls line up together like that. I’ve seen only small birds do that. This post has many bird activities. I also like the two gulls together too. They look like a cute couple.. Oh, I am with you about the bridge (blue and white – Carlisle bridge ?), I like it too.

    1. Thank you so much for coming along for this walk! The gulls were good models πŸ™‚ I love birds, and there will be more birds in my next blog posts πŸ™‚ The river banks are where the birds live.
      Glad you like the bridge. There is something about it. Good it was not replaced with a new one.

  12. As ever, Inese you present so much of interest within just a single post. We only visited Waterford just the once and this brought back fond memories. I recall, early on a Sunday morn a group of gals still a tad tipsy from their Saturday night endeavours. They were on good form and most polite spinning and sharing yarns of their night out. Lovely post.

    1. Thank you, Mike! Yes, Sunday morning is that time πŸ™‚ Good you didn’t go looking for John’s River… Two decades ago it wasn’t a nice place at all. Now the things started to change thanks to the dedicated heroes.

  13. How I’ve missed these incredible tours you give of places I can only dream to visit, Inese. πŸ™‚ Your opening shot is perfect, not a better way to begin this small journey ~ with my favorite pieces being the pigeons are foraging on the walls, great shots. Beautiful work.

    1. Thank you so much, Dalo! Your blog is always a source of inspiration.
      The pigeons surprised me. I though they were only able to pick crumbs in the streets.

  14. Thank you for the tour Inese and always presenting us with professional photographs and for giving me a smile. Love your photos but what caught my eye was the birds in flight. You captured their flight so eloquently that I wanted to be a bird. Beautiful presentation as always. Be well my friend

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Joseph. I have a soft spot for birds, and take pictures wherever I have a chance. Our little John’s River is an oasis for birds in the urban area.
      I hope you have an enjoyable week ahead.

  15. Thanks Inese! Love this place, and look ahead to the future post.
    OMG… the pigeons are gorgeous! We have some in Toronto that look exactly like them. They must be related, somehow! πŸ˜€ xx

  16. 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

  17. 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˜‰

  18. 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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