Harbour to Headwaters
Meeting of the Waters
Water draining from Avoca mines into the river is identified as a significant pressure on water quality. The discharge from the mines is called Acid Mine Drainage and this water carries toxic concentrations of heavy metals to the river. This severely impacts on the river habitat and aquatic life in the river.
The confluence of the Avonmore River and Avonbeg River here at ‘Meeting of the Waters’ gave rise to Thomas Moore’s ‘Sweet Vale of Avoca’.
Locally, Copper was first mined some 2,000 years ago, but not on an industrial scale until the 1760s. Commercial mining closed down in the early 1980s but while the mines brought local employment, it also brought ecological devastation with toxic spoil heaps and metals leaching into the Avoca River to this day.
Feature Creature: Red Kite
The Red Kite was extinct in Ireland until it was reintroduced in 2011 in Co. Wicklow. The Red Kite has an exceptionally long wingspan and usually nests high up in broadleaf trees situated on a slope. In winter they commonly gather into roosting flocks, the largest and best-known of which is close to the village of Avoca.