10,000 years ago the lee Valley basin, in the south of Ireland, sat silent under a solid block of ice. As the ice retreated a meandering river carved its way through russet red sandstone, from the barren rugged hills we know as Gouganebarra 45 miles eastward to the second largest natural harbour in the world: Cork Harbour.
In November 2012 while out paddling the mid harbour I happened to meet a man with a very special connection to the river Lee. Alan Nolan is a salmon angler who has incredible bond with the river. His relationship with the Lee spans over thirty years. ”Fishing the rivers for salmon has made me the person I am “. Taking up angling for trout during his early teens and salmon from his mid teens, has given Alan an ongoing fascination with this magnificent creature.
The wild Atlantic salmon is considered the KING of fish! Salmo Salar is unpredictable, migrates from the farthest reaches of the north Atlantic to the gentlest fresh water mountain streams in southern Ireland. Alan continually reminds us that the salmon is an INDICATOR species. He sees these fascinating creatures as messengers ! This wild fish was once in such abundance that the Lee was referred to as the Silver Lee, however, multiple factors over time have caused a serious decline in their numbers and may well lead to eventual extinction.
This is the first in-depth documentary film profile on the river Lee and it’s silent magical inhabitants: the wild Atlantic salmon. The Celts respect for nature especially trees and rivers is the ancient core of our identity and spirituality. Down through the centuries as man progressed, nature in many ways regressed. The old saying that what is “out of sight is out of mind” could not describe better our current lack of understanding for these magnificent creatures salmo salar (latin for leaping salmon)and the difficulties we have ignorantly imposed on these creatures during their relatively short perilous existence on our blue planet.
Archaeological remnants of Corkonian ancestors have been found in the lower harbour dating back some seven thousand years. So for this incredible time span the Atlantic ocean on a six hourly basis has ebbed and flowed through the north and south channels of the Lee, nine kilometeres upstream to the Lee weir. Here the river becomes one and the salt water is diluted by the endless freshwater flow.
This film THE RIVER RUNNER explores the perilous journey of SALMO SALAR, the complexities we have created and the role we are obliged to play into the future. This news blog will be updated regularly with captions, photographs and video clips.