Aideen Barry and Denis Connolly at the Eco Showboat event in Shallee on Friday, May 12. PHOTOS: DEIRDRE POWER

Eco Showboat visits Nenagh district

The Eco Showboat, a fully solar-powered boat, has been moored at Dromineer Harbour since last week to meet local people and raise awareness of climate change.

On Friday, May 12, artist Aideen Barry and her partner Cathal Murphy, who live with their family in Shallee on the slopes of the Silvermines mountains, graciously welcomed over 40 guests to their home as part of the Eco Showboat programme. People came from all over the county, as well as from Limerick, Galway and Clare to hear about the adventures of the Eco Showboat and to meet Denis Connolly, one of the founders of the Eco Showboat project. Later, there was a screening of the prize winning documentary, ‘The Silver Branch, by Katrine Costello.

In a bout of gargantuan hospitality, Aideen and Cathal cooked dinner for all 40 guests, followed by quantities of gorgeous homemade strawberry sponge cake, and guests lingered and talked into the night as the sun set over the beautiful but scarred mountain. This is a place that has been mined for over a thousand years, an extraordinary place to live, but also a place where traces of the industrial past bring certain risks - Aideen and Cathal are advised not to plant vegetables directly in the soil of their gardens, but to use elevated beds with fresh topsoil, and local farmers can no longer raise livestock or cultivate land at certain places on the lower slopes of the mountain.

Denis Connolly said: “This was a spectacular evening - a lovely coming together of people, with ecologists, artists, friends and neighbours from Shallee and the surrounding district mingling and chatting. It is just exactly what the Eco Showboat is about, creating the opportunities for people to meet and discuss environmental challenges we face together, and we are very grateful to Aideen and Cathal for inviting us and such a fabulous group of people. I'm looking forward to hearing about any new ecological projects or initiatives that may emerge from the chats that took place.”

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