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The Nore River Catchment

What is a catchment?

A river catchment is described as a river, its tributaries and all the drains into it.  We are live in a catchment and every that we do impacts in some way, positive or negative on the health of the catchment.  Ireland has 46 river catchments and many sub-catchments.

The Nore drains approximately 2,540 square kilometers of Leinster and Munster and is one of the significant catchments in the southeast along with its sisters; The Suir and the Barrow.  The main land use is agriculture with dairy and cattle farming being dominant. 

The population of the catchment is approximately 100,000 people with Kilkenny being the largest urban area;  other significant towns include Mountrath, Durrow and Abbeyleix in Co Laois, and  Callan and Thomastown in Kilkenny.  The main channel is joined by many tributaries; the Mountrath, the Erkina near Durrow, the Dinan, the Breagagh in Kilkenny City, the Kings and  the Little Arrigle near Thomastown.

The river is a valued amenity and used for water sports particularly kayaking, swimming at a number of designated locations, angling and walking.  There are a number of well established Kayak clubs throughout the catchment and Trail Kilkenny manages and promotes the trails in Kilkenny.

Habitats of the River Nore

The 140km long river Nore passes many habitats on its journey from the Devil’s Bit in Tipperary, through Laois and Kilkenny before it joins the Barrow and then enters the sea at Waterford Harbour.  These habitats vary from upland grassland, forestry, improved grassland, raised bog, flood plains, wetlands and woodland. 

The main channel and some of the tributaries are designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) due to the presence of a number of habitats and a Special Protection Area (SPA) due to the presence of Kingfishers.

There are other designated sites within the catchment ranging from the most easterly Turlough at the Loughans near Urlingford to the Ice House at Woodstock to the Slieve Bloom Mountains in Laois. and are great resources for checking these sites. 

 There are many non-designated habitats throughout the catchment too.  As much of the land is in agricultural production, hedgerows are a very important and significant semi natural habitat throughout. They are an important habitat for many native Irish species of flora and fauna and are vital as wildlife corridors for foraging birds and mammals. They have played a significant role in the history of the Irish landscape over the last few hundred years and are often celebrated in literature.