- Much-loved local amenity with rich history
- Huge potential as an outdoor recreational spot
Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed confirmation from the ESB that funding will be provided for a rejuvenation of the Tailrace trail in the Ardnacrusha/Parteen area.
The Tailrace is a canal embankment south of Ardnacrusha Power Station and it runs for a little over a kilometre in length, connecting the dam at Ardnacrusha with the Tailrace Bar, a well-known local pub.
It was formed in the 1920s when the Shannon Scheme was being developed, when steam trains had to bring materials to and from the construction site at the power station in Ardnacrusha, but the old railway track became obsolete in the 1940s and 50s.
However, it has continued to be a recreation used by locals in the 60+ years since.
“In recent years, the Tailrace has enjoyed something of a renaissance with more and more people using it for walks, runs, cycles, walking their dogs and so on and it’s also a much-loved nature trail for kids attending Parteen National School,” said Deputy Crowe.
“Most of the railway tracks have been removed and many sections have been used to help reconstruct the preserved West Clare Railway at Moyasta.
“Only fragments of the old infrastructure still exist on the Tailrace now and though the trail is quite narrow in places and can be overgrown with vegetation, it continues to be widely enjoyed.
“I asked the ESB to enhance the trail and install signage and they have agreed to accede to my request and will make funding available to carry out works this year.
“I think the trail improvement will be a relatively easy process – much of the work will merely involve trimming back the vegetation that takes over in places.
“There’s also a lot of scope for having a really beautiful trail with proper signage highlighting some of the old history of the walk.
“The Tailrace has a fascinating past which I’m sure some of those who enjoy it are not aware of, so it would be really great to ensure it isn’t forgotten.
“Tragically, in the 1920s, a German man by the name of Jacob Kunz, who worked in the power station, was murdered on the Tailrace – an event which was featured in a TV documentary in recent years.
“In 1969, a Disney film called Guns in the Heather, starring Kurt Russell, had a scene filmed on the Tailrace section of the railway.
“I think spelling out these historical events, coupled with signage relating to the array of trees and native plants there, will enhance the experience of everyone who enjoys it at present.
“It’s within my 5km and something I’ve been blessed to be able to enjoy with my kids throughout the months of lockdown so I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s to come.”