Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, is offering a month-long programme of events from 1 June to 1 July 2012, including:
- on 1 June, an evening with singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, Carrick-on-Suir poet Michael Coady hydroelectroacoustic ensemble The Water Project
- on 3 June, a talk on the archaeology of the River Nore, which will include industrial, transport and commercial heritage
- on 17 June, poems and talks on mapping the Nore and on the river’s role in the development of Thomastown
- on 24 June, talks on cot fishing on the Three Sisters rivers and (by Shay Hurley of Clonmel) on the cot-builder Tom Cuddihy
- on 1 July, the Thomastown Regatta, including cot racing and cot handling.
We recall that Samuel Lewis wrote of Thomastown in 1837:
A very considerable trade was formerly carried on, and the town was the commercial depot for the county of Kilkenny ; flat-bottomed boats of an aggregate burden of 11,000 tons were constantly employed in conveying goods from this town, besides many others which did not belong to it; but the river is now choked up with deposits of sand. Inistioge has become the head of the navigation of the Nore, and the boats employed on the river at this place do not exceed an aggregate burden of 150 tons; the goods are now conveyed on Scotch cars by land from Waterford to Kilkenny. The improvement of the navigation of the Nore would tend greatly to the revival and extension of the trade of the town, and to the development of the resources of the county, which is rich in marble, coal, culm, slate, and limestone, for which, in addition to its agricultural produce, it would afford facilities of conveyance to the neighbouring ports. It has been estimated that the clearing of the channel of the river, which would open the navigation from New Ross to this town for flat-bottomed steam-boats of 70 tons’ burden, might be accomplished at an expense of £15,000, and effect, by a reduction of the charges for freight and the discontinuance of land carriage, a saving of at least £10,000 per annum. There are several large flour-mills worked by water in the town and its vicinity, and also two breweries and a tan-yard.