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The Windings of the Moy Revisited

posted Dec 1, 2019, 10:17 AM by Bernard O'Hara

Fishing on the River Moy at Foxford, County Mayo
A welcome recent publication in the west of Ireland is The Windings of the Moy Revisited by Pat McCarrick. The river Moy rises in the Ox Mountains in County Sligo and flows in a semi-circular route for about a hundred kilometres before entering the sea at Killala Bay in County Mayo. It is of course Ireland’s premier river for salmon.
In 1923, Rev James Greer (1845-1929), a Church of Ireland clergyman who came from near Inishcrone, in County Sligo, published a widely acclaimed book entitled The Windings of the Moy, with Skreen and Tireragh. That book was re-published in 1986 by the late Gertie McHale (1922-2016), also a native of Inishcrone, who is also widely remembered as the driving force behind the MacFirbis Weekend School of History that continued for 17 years and for organising the O Dubhda/ODowd clan reunions at regular three year intervals.
There are two major differences between Rev Greer’s book and this one. The original one followed the windings of the Moy from the sea to source, whereas this one takes us from source to sea. The second big difference is that Pat McCarrick has included over 150 delightful photographs, whereas the original book contained only a few images. Pat McCarrick, who comes from near the source of the Moy in Cloonacool, County Sligo, is a professional photographer and his stunning images adorn the pages of this book. Pat has retained excerpts from Rev Greer’s engaging original text in the appropriate places.
In the introduction, Pat discusses the source of the Moy, and his local knowledge is most interesting. It is generally accepted that the source of the river Moy is in Knocknashee in Mullinabreena and that is the one given by Rev Greer in the original book. However, Pat tells us that there is another source in the Ox Mountains at Loughill in Cloonacool, which he states is ‘definitely the longest and largest source tributary’. Pat concludes wisely that ‘it is fair to say that the Moy, like all rivers, has more than one source’.
After his interesting introduction, Pat takes us on an evocative journey along this beautiful river from the scenic Ox Mountains to Killala Bay. The route starts with wonderful images of various sites in the Ox mountains around Knocknashee, Cloonacool and Stirabout Bridge, before capturing the Owenaher river, Lough Talt, Glenree, Banada and Aclare in County Sligo before continuing in County Mayo with Cloonacanna, Swinford, Meelick, and Straide, with the grave of Michael Davitt getting special attention. Rev Greer’s text recalls that his own family, like that of Michael Davitt’s in Straide, was evicted. Pat’s photographic journey continues on to Foxford, where there are several great aerial images, as well as the mill and Foxford blankets, before continuing the journey to Ballina. There the cathedral receives special attention, as well as capturing Belleek Castle and the Ice House, before capturing Inishcrone, Rosserk, Moyne , the former Asahi plant, and ending at Killala Bay. It is a delightful journey with Pat’s wonderful photography to enhance the experience.
Pat McCarrick deserves our thanks for undertaking this project and giving us a book to treasure. The Windings of the Moy Revisited is a delightful book, with stunning photographs along the banks of the river Moy from its source to sea, which should interest everyone, especially anyone with knowledge of any part of that region. (

Exploring Mayo by Bernard O’Hara is now available Worldwide as an eBook for the amazon Kindle application.
The print version of Bernard O’Hara’s book Exploring Mayo can be obtained by contacting also sell the print versions of Killasser - Heritage of a Mayo Parish , Anseo and Davitt.
Bernard O'Hara's book entitled Killasser: Heritage of a Mayo Parish is now on sale in the USA and UK as a paperback book at, or Barnes and Noble
It is also available as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from and (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from (Nook tablet and eReader).
An earlier publication, a concise biography of Michael Davitt, entitled Davitt by Bernard O’Hara published in 2006 by Mayo County Council , is now available as Davitt: Irish Patriot and Father of the Land League by Bernard O’Hara, which was published in the USA by Tudor Gate Press ( and is available from and It can be obtained as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from and (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from (Nook tablet and eReader).