Stories from the Waterside

Ireland has a rich heritage of storytelling. In fact, it is part of our identity and helps define us as a nation. Stories bring memories to life and help us reconnect with special places. Stories help us pass on knowledge and experiences to future generations.

Stories from the waterside was initially a story writing competition held in May 2020 during the first COVID-19 Lockdown. The response was overwhelming, with almost 500 stories submitted from across the entire island of Ireland, and further afield from Irish living abroad. Stores were submitted in both English and Irish languages. It was a hard process to select 20 prize winning stories and equally challenging to select 38 stories for publication in the Stories from the waterside book, which was launch during National Heritage Week 2020 on Water Heritage Day.

In response to requests to LAWPRO to publish the remaining stories submitted to the competition we are delighted to present a dedicated website that will record and archive local stories from the waterside. The website was launched at a special online event on 02 February 2021. Some of the stories were read by their authors to over 150 participants. The event was hosted by radio presenter Jim Finn and it also marked World Wetlands Day 2021.

Stories from the waterside website can be accessed at the following link:
https://storiesfromthewaterside.ie/

A special thanks to all those who took the time to share their wonderful stories, for you have truly captured the value and magic of Ireland’s natural waters. This website will be a valuable resource for future generations to access these stories into the future.

In coping with the challenges of restricted movements during Lockdowns, many people have reconnected with nature and natural places, especially around water. Stories from the waterside reflect these connections through themes involving wildlife, fishing, heritage, traditions, crafts, and ways in which nature can inspire the imagination and replenish one’s sense of wellbeing. This new website is a celebration of these stories and we hope that you, the reader, enjoy them.

As an island nation, the sea surrounds us, and our landscape holds an intricate network of natural waters. Our rivers, lakes and coasts are some of our most beautiful places, forever changing with the seasons. They are deep-rooted in Irish mythology, legends, and folklore, having inspired countless stories through the ages. Undoubtedly, nature is at its best where there is water, and these places relate to countless memories and stories. As we continue to change our landscape, many of these stories and tales risk being lost. Stories from the waterside seeks to capture these stories and record them for posterity.

The Local Authority Waters Programme organised the story-writing competition (LAWPRO), in partnership with The Heritage Council and The Heritage Officer Programme, Inland Fisheries Ireland and Waterways Ireland.

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