RTE Television

Abhainn

Episode 1: An Mhuaidhe - The Moy

Rising in the Ox Mountains of County Sligo - The Moy takes a circuitous route south through Co. Mayo before turning back northwards through Ballina to finally reach the sea at Killala bay. As it twists and turns, the waters of the Moy have etched their mark on the landscape and the history and culture of the region are clear to be seen along the banks.

If the Moy is about anything it's about the Salmon - a fish of folklore and myth - indeed the experts might well admit how little we know about the Salmon and how and why it does what it does. That's maybe the attraction of "An Bradán Feasa" and why the Anglers come from all over the world to pit their wits against the salmon on the banks of the Moy. Now that the drift netting has been stopped on the Moy the returning salmon numbers are improving and the one on one combat between the angler and the king of fish seems to be a fairer match of skill and cunning.

Ballina might style itself the "Salmon Capital of Ireland" but the Tiernan Brothers -Michael & PJ, are a legend in Foxford which they'd say is the real fishing capital on the Moy. Here's where everyone, from near and far, gathers to share a story - not just about the ones that got away - to browse or buy the best bait & tackle - to buy a licence and some salmon tags - if you're feeling lucky !

Foxford is synonymous with their Woolen Mill - founded by nuns in 1892 but today a local group headed up by Joe Queanan have taken over the mill and have turned it around - with a whole new modern stylish range with an emphasis on good design.

In their day, the Anglo-Irish appreciated the sport and riches that the Moy valley provided. Historically the Knox family would have been one of the big estate owners and several of their grand houses along the river are now fine hotels - Beleek Castle & Mount Falcon, in some way rehabilitating not just the fine cutstone work but giving new generations a fresh insight into a way of life, long gone.

"Connie Aldridge was 50 year ahead of her time. She was doing this when it wasn't even a thing. She was using the wild garlic in her soups, using the beef from the cattle on her land - using her own vegetables. She was the ultimate modern day chef - Zero kms, grow your own, organic! Before it was fashionable. An incredible woman - she lived to be 96 years of age ! " Shane Maloney, Mount Falcon

Abhainn
  • RTÉ One, Monday, 7.30pm