During the unusually hot and dry summer of 2018, Blessington Lakes gave up some of its treasures as the water level became very low. Visitors were rewarded with glimpses of old broken crockery, pieces of farm machinery and skeletal stumps of once grand trees that lined the entrances to homesteads. We caught a glimpse then of what lay beneath the Lakes.
I have always been drawn to the Lakes. This huge expanse of water, situated in the valley of Poulaphouca, is a place of great beauty but it also carries with it a story of great sacrifice, loss and sadness.
The Lakes were created 80 years ago, between 1938 – 1940, when the landscape of Poulaphouca was transformed from over 5,000 acres of farmland, bog, homesteads, villages, bridges, places of worship and a final resting place for the departed to the wide expanse of water and the tourist attraction that it is today.
They were created to provide a water and electricity supply to Dublin and surrounding areas. This came at a great cost to the people who had lived on these homesteads for generations, people who had worked the land and who had built their lives in their community. The compensation paid to landowners was very poor and people who had held rights to work the land were left with nothing – no work, no homes – destitute!
Beneath the Lakes is a tribute to the people of the land who paid a huge price for the beauty that we take for granted. It is a glimpse of the past, the full lives lived there and the secrets that are guarded under the cover of the Blessington Lakes.
More to follow.