Just 25 miles from the centre of Dublin lie Blessington lakes.
Beautiful and tranquil, there is a nostalgic tale of loss together with a sense of pride in their creation.
In the 1930’s a decision was taken to build a dam at Poulaphouca waterfall. The waterfall now no longer exists. There was a need to supply Dublin with drinking water and hydroelectricity. The reservoir, officially known as the Poulaphouca reservoir flooded the valleys of two rivers; the Kings River and the River Liffey. These rivers once met at this point.
The village of Ballinahown was submerged beneath the waters.
Locals were relocated, their fields and homes lost beneath the waters.
As one local said, “the dam was built and the water was the sheriff”.
In preparation for the flooding the army blew up bridges and roofs were removed from homes and buildings. Trees were stumped and a cemetery beside the waters edge was moved. A sacred well, known as Bodens well was also lost beneath the waters.
In 1978 the waters retreated and some of the old features of the area emerged from the waters. Bodens well was in full view and some locals even visited the shrine. Old rags and mementos tied to the wells shrine many years before also emerged from the waters. The old bog road was visible once again until the waters returned and they were again submerged.
Today the lakes have become a visitor attraction with recreational facilities such as boating and kayaking. They have also featured in the hit TV show, Vikings. The Blessington Greenway is an amazing walk along the shoreline which joins the lakes with Russborough House.
The Avon Ri Lakeshore resort and adventure centre takes its name from the original Kings River. In their clubhouse you can see many historical photos showing both the pride of the construction, and how the area looked prior to the creation of the reservoir. Take a cycle or drive around the lakes and view it from all perspectives. Blessington itself is a lovely town with lots of great places to eat and drink. The lakes are well worth a visit and can be accessed by bus by traveling from Dublin City centre on the 65 bus route.