Is Míse Boann
>> This is part of our Save the Boyne campaign.
The river clean-up along the Boyne was in response to the threat to the Boyne River by Dawn Meats. They are proposing to run a 7km pipeline discharging 400,000lt a day of treated waste into the river. It was held on the 20th of March 2022 and despite having 3 weeks to organise, it was a great success.
This was a very process-led project. A call-out was put through the Facebook page Mná na Uisce to discuss how we as a community could respond. In the original dreaming on the zoom call, 9 women were in attendance.
It was decided that connecting people to the mythology of the river could inspire them to the preservation of the ecology. A river clean-up was proposed and originally decided for the 13th of March. Two teams formed, one as a creative direction to create a 3-minute film with a Call to Action for people to submit their objections by April 7th. A larger film telling the story of Boann was proposed. This team consisted of Saor de Paor, All is Well, Women of the Water, Earthy Soul Mates, Sound Your Soul, EcoStorytales, and Candlelit tales
The other team was the organisation team, this consisted of Singing the Land, Save the Boyne, Women of the Water, Jealue, Youth friends of the Earth, All is Well. They focused on bringing awareness to the different governmental organisations that would have an interest in stopping the pipeline. A website savetheboyne.org was created by Women of the Water. A call for filmmakers was created by Jealue and All is Well. This was circulated widely. A flyer was created by YFOE and All is Well for materials to hand out on the day. There were also press releases and radio interviews with LMFM. Each project involved widely shared a post about the day over their social media platform. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook were employed. If our followings were combined, we potentially reached 24,205 people.
Contact with the local Guards and the County Council was established with favourable responses. The council ensured the collection of the collected rubbish on Tuesday. There was positive outreach with the community wardens and the Environmental officer Bernadine.
Of the 9 on the original call, 6 women arrived on the day. The absence of the other three was down to illness and distance.
On the day, there were many 12 counties represented, Dublin, Wexford, Louth, Westmeath, Meath, Sligo, Clare, Galway, Limerick, Kerry, Cork. Upon arrival at the Ramparts, it was discovered that another community group had held a river clean-up the week before and there was very little rubbish. We revised our strategy and decided to identify the rubbish along the Boyne and employ vehicles to convoy to these sites.
There were 11 Fairy Council member organisations who attended. The members of the FCOI in attendance on the day were Wild Irish Retreats, Wolf Academy, Gaelic Woodland Project, Emily Dawson, All is Well, Women of the Water, Young Friends of the Earth, Jealue, Save the Boyne. Earthy Soul Mates, and EcoStoryTales.
Notable participants were James Cogan, Pip Advisor Ireland, Shannon Soul Sounds, JuliAnne Hennelly, Deirdre Wadding, John Anthony McGowen, Martin O Keefe, Fiachra, Sam and Padraic
The main camp was held in the Ramparts, Navan. The fire circle was held by the women, while a team of eager volunteers filled 3 cars and worked in rotation.
There were 15 in the main clean-up crew with a flow of people who arrived during the day at the Ramparts. The main cleaning crew had shared their geo-location so they could be found along the river. Their first stop was where the pipeline is proposed to be placed, The Cotton mills. Ironically, This was the site of the most amount of rubbish. There were car batteries, mattresses, and about 30 bags of rubbish collected.
The next Location was along the Red River studio, where they removed shopping trollies and another 6 bags of rubbish. At the main camp in the Ramparts, there were three bags of rubbish
We had the kind hospitality of Marion from the Red river Studio. She was able to accommodate with a dorm and a private room for the family in attendance. There was use of a kitchen and bathroom facilities. In exchange, we tidied her yard and ensured the rubbish was removed from her section of the Boyne.
In total 10.9km of the River Boyne was cleaned in a six-hour period. After the clean it was noticeable in the improvement in the ecology of the water. Wildlife including otters, herons, mallards, and fish were seen returning to the area.
Coinciding there was the film made over a two day period. Women of the water filled the role of Boann with lyrical voices of Julie-Anne and Shannon Soul Sounds. Saor DePaor provided the poetry behind. These were filmed in each of the collection locations the Ramparts and the Red River Yoga Studio.