After 50 years of living with the geographical feature that is the meeting of the Three Sisters
, you might think that I would take it for granted at this point. Truth is though, I can’t ever remember a time that the rivers fail to interest me. Ever changing and always with some activity occurring around it, it’s either been a central feature to my days or a beautiful and appreciated backdrop. Of course leading walking tours in the area, the uniqueness of it is reminded to me by those visitors who view it, especially for the first time. The reaction seems more pronounced from those who walk from Faithlegg House
, along the Glen and through the Glazing Wood. I guess its because they have been sheltered and teased by fleeting glimpses through the forest of the River Suir passing 200 feet below them, which will collide with the Rivers Barrow and Nore at Cheekpoint
, and then flow as one out the estuary to form Waterford Harbour.
|An old postcard view of the meeting of the Three Sisters
copy supplied by Anthony Rogers
These days when people talk about coming to Cheekpoint it’s to get a meal at McAlpins, to visit the wonderful playground, do shore angling or play a round Faithlegg Golf Club. But there was a time when it was the scenery, the views and the meeting point of the rivers that drew people here. Numerous reports from older newspapers and travel writers give a sense of why.
Cheekpoint: This is a favorite little retreat now on Sundays. On last Sunday it was crowded with boats of all kinds and sizes, amongst which we observed Alderman Davis’s, Mr P. Galwey’s, the Messrs Murphys’ Mr F Kavanagh’s (with music), Mr J Mullowney’s, Mr S Allan’s, and Mr E Campion’s neat crafts and many others now not remembered. The hospitable mansion of Mr Patrick Tracey, so comfortable situate, and in which is to had such right good cheer, was crowded to overflowing. The day was beautifully fine, the waters of the rivers calm and limpid, and the gorgeous scenery by which it is surrounded, could hardly be excelled – if at all equaled – on the banks of the Rhine. A view from Cheekpoint is well worth the labor of ascension – you behold from it at least five counties-namely Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Tipperary, and Carlow; you witness from it the delightful mansion of Snow Hill, Belview etc, and beneath you, you witness the magnificent residence of Faithlegg, with its thickly studded woods, its beauteous walks, and its sloping dells, where by and by, the Incumbered Commissioners need never expect to place their fearful hoofs. From the hill can be seen Dunmore, Brownstown Head, the unrivaled bay of Tramore, and even the unmovable Metal man himself. From it may also be witnessed the fine stately old ruins of Dunbrody Abbey, with its stately tower and ivied turrets, a standing monument of Irish genius and architecture and an unfading emblem of Ireland’s imperishable faith…All of these things may be seen from the hill of Cheekpoint, and many of them from Mr Tracey’s table d’hote.
The Waterford News. Friday June 7th 1850
The same paper has, under a heading of pleasure trips, news that the Young Men’s Society band will travel to Cheekpoint on the following Sunday, in a piece dated July of 1861, Unfortunately I could not find a follow up report. In the 1770s it was the renowned travel writer Arthur Young, and I have mentioned his thoughts on the area previously. I’ve also mentioned when the Barrow railway viaduct was opened in July 1906 by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the the special event train, stopped for a time on the bridge to view the meeting point and absorb the feat that the construction project was.
More recently the regional initiative for Ireland’s capital of culture bid for 2020 has seen the counties of Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford come together under a banner that seeks to embrace. They have chosen the Three Sisters, as it was, correctly in my view, a symbol of connection and inter- dependability. Should the region win this bid, it will bring crucial investment and tourist numbers to the region, and no doubt our area. If nothing else, it has already brought a renewed focus on the wonderful resource that is our riverine network and the beauty that is the meeting point of the Three Sisters. If you haven’t already done so, get involved in supporting the bid at: www.threesisters2020.ie/
I publish a blog each Friday. If you like this piece or have an interest in the local history or maritime heritage of Waterford harbour and environs you can email me at email@example.com to receive the blog every week.
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