Saturday, August 04, 2018

Billy keeps his garden right in the drought

Billy Redmond is a man you can always depend on to do the right thing, writes Brian Byrne. And it is in his nature, and his training as a former Army man, that he will find a way of doing the right thing even if it seems impossible.

So it was in the last six weeks, when he looked at his beloved garden, and at the weather-caused drought conditions, that he had to find a way to do the right thing by both the garden and Ireland's water shortage.

"So I thought of the spout in The Valley," he says. "With a constant water flow, just going into the river."

The spout was, of course, once the only source of fresh water for the original town of Kilcullen, and even in this writer's memory there are the times I'd struggle up the road as a child with a bucket of water for my grandmother.

Not that she didn't have running water, but she always maintained the water from the spout was better, for both drinking and cooking.

But back to Billy Redmond's dilemma ...

"I have lots of plastic 5-litre bottles, so I've been going down to The Valley every day and bringing back 50 litres of water from the spout, which I've used in my garden."

And the garden is indeed flourishing. But Billy is Billy, eternally curious about every little and big thing in life — as readers of his longtime column in The Bridge will know. He wasn't content with just bringing the water home. He was curious about how much water goes through the spout.

"Because I have the time to do it, I measured how long it took to fill my ten bottles. And I estimate that it flows up to 10m gallons a year."

And indeed, while that is a little more than the 6.5m gallons a year that the late Jim Collins estimated when he unearthed the original spout in the summer of 2000 and replaced it in its present location, either way it sure does represent a lot of water.

Good to see Kilcullen people haven't lost their 'can do' spirit ... Kilcullen Community Action have also been using water from the spout to keep the flowers on the bridge going during the shortage.

(Originally, the cast-iron spout was set in a wall on the laneway down towards the river by Molloy's milking shed, which is where the Valley Park begins today. It was lost when the area was bulldozed to build the park 40 years ago, and only rediscovered by Jim at the turn of the millennium when a new sewer line was being laid. He's pictured here getting the spout going again in 2000.)

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