Understanding Local

Rivers & Weather

Local Weather – Cork
Local Rivers:

The Lee, Lower: Difficulty – I – III Weir Waterworks Realtime Waterlevel

In 51.9034, -8.6595Out 51.8947, -8.5172

Note on coordinates. Put in given is the uppermost possible just below the dam. Take out is given mid river outside Phoenix club even though the weir and sluice are just downstream.

Brief River Description

The Lee fields section of the Lee is the most paddled section of the river; used by freestyle, polo, long-distance and beginner paddlers. Phoenix Kayak Club are based on this stretch and both UCC and CIT canoe clubs hold sessions here regularly.

The Lee fields are found just west of Cork city centre on the Carrigrohane road. Head out from the city centre, towards UCC. Continue on the N22 past UCC, then take a right onto Carrigrohane road when you reach the Crows Nest restaurant. The Car park is about 400m ahead on the right hand side.

River Description

The Lee has two hydro-electric dams (at Innascarra and Carrigadrohid) so it’s flow depends on the electricity demand and the time of year.

**The Lee Fields car park, Carrigrohane road:**

Long distance paddlers get on at the slipway here and paddle up stream.

**The Weir:**

The Weir curves across the width of the river, broken in the middle by a fish-steps. At low water levels the weir can be run any where along its length but at higher levels sticky stoppers form all the way from the fish-steps to river left and from the fish-steps to a few meters to the wall on river right. The Cork Rodeo is often held here.

At low to medium levels there are playspots on the river left and river right corners of the weir. The water flowing over the weir isn’t very deep so expect to bottom out at times. Ploughs are usually installed near the river right bank for competitions. in low water you can run the weir slide at the river right to avoid getting stuck on the weir face

At very high flood levels, a fantastic wave forms on the far river right edge of the weir. It is very fast and has a very big surfers left shoulder making righty moves a doddle. Landing the moves can be tricky although as it usually waves into the the horrible horrible hole next to it, making for some tricky manoeuvres to get back on the wave. Very enjoyable.

**The Sluice:**

Downstream from the Weir on river left is the Sluice. Here the Lee splits into two dropping about 2 meters over a concrete sill. This side of the Lee is tidal so the type of hole at the sill will depend on the height of the tide and the level of the Lee above the Sluice. Generally a low tide will give a sticky hole while a high tide will flush out the hole, the type of hole can change over a single session.

In medium water and a low tide this feature becomes known as the hole of death. It has been known to chew people and paddless to the great amusement of onlookers. And is perfect level for the most recent cork rodeo’s. Crowd entertainment is what its all about.

At high levels the Lee flows over the concrete around the Sluice and the gap might be difficult to spot from upstream. Local paddlers sometimes install wooden ploughs at this spot over the summer to improve the hole. Most hole moves can be done, depending on the level.

Also during an incoming tide, and very high river levels, some waves form along the rocks below the sluice, at the right levels, the hole in the wall spot can form a great wave/hole feature, and on that perfect day, when everything is right, two really fast waves can form, nice and wide with well defined shoulders each side, the spot is shallow and makes any move attempts a feat of great bravery but if done to perfection, big moves and no rock rash can be had.

**Ballincollig Weir**

Close to Lee fields, in Ballincollig theres a weir on the Lee just off the Innascarra road with two long weirs on both sides and a 9 maybe 10 foot drop in the middle about 20 foot wide. It has a big pool about 8 foot deep at the bottom of it. In low water its very good for beginners. In high water it would be a good play spot as two holes form at the base of both weirs and the gates right and left. But caution is required on the right hand side of the river (side close to the walkway). There is approximately 3 Iron bars erected at this site that can be quite dangerous. There’s a park at the put in were you can leave your car, the weir is about 600 yrds down stream.

**Local issues

**Fishermen:** Fishermen slouch on the river-right bank of the weir and at low levels fish from the weir itself. The Sluice can also have fishermen on the river-left bank. Keep an eye out for “six-pack” fishermen.

**Parking:** There is a car park upstream of the weir in the Lee Fields. There is also limited parking outside of the Coca-Cola factory (please don’t park in the Coca-Cola yard unless parking has been arranged).


The Blackwater: Difficulty – I Blackwater Realtime Waterlevel

In: 52.1290, -8.7063Out: 51.9785, -7.8494

Crayfish plague has been discovered in the Blackwater catchment. All gear should be disinfected after paddling here.

Truly a lowland river, it rises near the Kerry border where there are some overgrown short stretches of whitewater.

Mostly it’s flat or nearly so, except for a few weirs.

There used to be a touring race from Fermoy weir to the next weir downstream which was a bit of fun. Sadly no longer.

According to the print guidebook the weir at Lismore has a decent wave in high water.

From Cappoquin to Youghal is tidal but scenic.

Gauges. Due to flooding issues in Fermoy it probably has more gauges than kayakers who use it.

For no particular reason the one here is the one immediately below Fermoy. I have no calibrations.


Bandon, Lower: Difficulty: II – Lower Bandon Realtime waterlevel

In 51.7449, -8.7437Out 51.7632, -8.6555

Very easy grade 2 water. The weir at the start has been rebuilt and a fish pass added (dubbed the whale pass by locals). Signage prohibits paddling this but you’re in west cork and everyone ignores the signs. The main part of the weir looks like it should go but as it’s new sharp rocks you really would need a boat you didn’t care about. And if you swam here the chance of a leg entrapment would be high. The stretch through the town has been canalised and it’s not until you get out of town that there’s any character anymore. Useful for training but not much else.


Bandon, Upper – Difficulty: II – III – Upper Bandon Realtime waterlevel

In 51.7535, -9.1080Out 51.7247, -9.0984

Probably the most often paddled river in Munster, runnable most of the winter (at Gadget (low) levels anyway)and massive fun in flood.

Used by generations of paddlers to learn whitewater.

There doesn’t appear to be any limit to how high you can run this.

Generally the top 300m gets lapped, although the stretch to Dunmanway is worth doing.

Brief River Description

This river is an absolute gem in big water. High volume, is semi playboat friendly, and lots to stop and play at. Also, with big water, the boulder garden is nice and fast, much much fun to be had.

#### Directions to the Put-in

Put In From Cork City Direction: Drive into Dunmanway town and take the first right (signed macroom). Continue out this road for 3km and take the first turn to the left ( signposted for The Birth Place of Sam Maguire ) just before a concrete bridge over the river.

option 1 Continue up this road for 1.7km until you get to a crossroads. Turn right and drive 0.3km until you come to the river. There is space for 1 car at this point.

Or as most now do, park at the White House just beside the river and the first rapid. The owner is super friendly and loves paddlers. Just be sure and leave space for him to get his own car out

Note: the big drop can be scouted before hand by stopping at a gateway. Keep checking the river to the right of the road until you see a large pool which is just below the drop. There does not appear to be access problems but respect the area surrounding the drop if cattle are present.

#### River Hazards

The main drop is worth scouting if you have not paddled the river before.

Low lying branches close in on 1 section and are worth mentioning.

In flood you can’t get under the mid point road bridge.


Laney, The – Difficulty: II – Laney Realtime Waterlevel

In: 51.9295, -8.9360Out: 51.9037, -8.9407

Easy section used by Phoenix paddlers from Cork.

Trees can be a problem.

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