When the Thomastown Weir was breached back in 2008, a group of interested locals set up the Thomastown Community River Trust (TCRT), with the goal of restoring the amenities at the weir. Their dedication to their community’s dreams has certainly paid off with the completion of the projects new outdoor swimming area.

This project was developed in two phases. There were many environmental, financial, legal, planning and logistical matters to overcome, but with the support of Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP), the first phase of works was completed in 2011. Phase 1 delivered a new riverside walk, stabilisation of river banks, improved river management, improved access for recreation, enhanced river aesthetics and preservation of local heritage.

The second phase was completed in September 2014. These works included stabilisation of the remaining weir arm, river bed stabilisation and protection, dredging / excavation to reinstate a safe swimming area, plus landscaping. The old sluice gate and breast plate have also been restored to heritage specification.

The completion of the works means TCRT has met its goals to restore a much loved local amenity and provide a safe swimming area and training pond for canoeists, while at the same time protecting local heritage and wildlife. It will give back to the people of Thomastown and its environs a focus for outdoor pursuits based around the river. Equally important, it will reinvigorate Thomastown; by bringing back locals, tourists and canoeists who will support local businesses.

TCRT Chair Aideen Comerford commented “We are extremely grateful to all those who have helped us: individuals, local associations and clubs, landowners, commercial enterprises such as Veolia: “Mount Juliet Golf Club”, government agencies, the Heritage Council and Kilkenny County Council. But speaking on behalf of the TCRT committee, I think it is fair to say that we could never have achieved what we set out to achieve without the fantastic guidance, financial support and positive encouragement of KLP. They have supported us every step of the way, and played a pivotal role in making this wonderfully worthwhile project happen”.