Local agencies, private business and locals come together to give children a wonderful fishy experience!
A very successful event led by the River Moy Trust was held on Tuesday 10th July as part of the Ballina Salmon Festival. The event, promoted by the River Moy Trust and supported by the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office (LAWCO) Inland Fisheries Ireland, Mayo County Council and local businesses as well as local anglers saw 20 children experience all that that the Moy Valley has to offer. The sunny weather obliged on the day and the groups aged between 9-12 years were split into groups to work their way up along the stalls erected along the Cathedral Beat.
Mayo County Council was represented by Pamela Bergin and her team who held a kick sampling demonstration to educate the kids on the biodiversity and wildlife that exists underwater. Magnifying glasses were then at the ready to identify the various insects and bugs.
Next up were the National Parks and Wildlife team who gave a presentation on the animals we could expect to find along the river Moy. The team from Ballycroy National Park had some stuffed animals on hand to show the kids and educate them on the distinguishing features of each and what they fed on and where they were to be found in the valley.
After that, the team at Mount Falcon Estate had arranged for their Falconer Martin Mc Phillips and his able assistant Izabele to attend with some peregrines and owls on hand. He pointed out the features that made these winged predators so elusive and enabled them to hunt and seek out their prey. This was sponsored by Mount Falcon and big thank you to Jim Wilson and his professional team on the day.
The children were then brought to the Cathedral Hut where they were treated to snacks and drinks. Declan Cooke, who is the manager for the Moy Fishery had a glass tank filled with aquatic wildlife and the children helped identify the various fish that live in the River Moy.
After that the fishing started. Local anglers and ghillies were on hand to demonstrate the various fishing methods used on the river and all the children were given the opportunity to catch a salmon on the world-famous Cathedral Beat.
The ghillies were organised by Martin Parker and Michael Tiernan from The Moy Catchment Association. Spectators enjoyed seeing the children grapple with their newly acquired skills and when it all came to an end two silver fresh salmon had been successfully caught.
The next event on the calendar for the Trust is the Foxford Riverfest which will take place on Saturday 1st September. A similar schedule of events will take place as well as a fly-fishing demonstration organised by GAIA. (Game Angling Instructors Association) and the RNLI will be in attendance. This is a free event for all children and adults. The day will be filled with fun and surprises. For enquiries, please contact Taragh Cosgrave or Ciaran Boland at firstname.lastname@example.org. The group will also be making an appearance at Food Fleadh Ballina which will coincide with the Other Voices Ballina Festival at the end of September.
The organisers would like to pay special tribute to Mike Kane who is our Community water officer based in Castlebar.
Thanks to the Moy Catchment Association who also played a big part in the day and assisted children along the riverbank teaching them how to cast and giving them a wonderful experience. Declan Cooke and the IFI played a massive part of making the day a special day for all the Children. Declan’s enthusiasm is infectious and his dedication apparent. Finally, sincere thanks to Paddy Bonner of the Ballina Angling Centre who supplied all the tackle and bait for the day free of charge.
We hope that this will become an annual event in the Ballina Salmon Festival calendar and look forward to working with the River Moy Trust in years to come.
Thanks to Michael Pajkert for the wonderful photos!