The Erkina River is the largest of the Nore river tributaries in South Laois and has it’s source at a point close to where Counties Laois, Tipperary and Kilkenny meet. It’s journey takes it past Templequain bridge and Clarney Hall bridge. At 1km west of Rathdowney the Quinn river joins the Erkina. This waterway serviced the old malt mill at Donaghmore near the current Donaghmore Agriculture and Famine Museum (formerly Donaghmore Workhouse). From Coneyburrow bridge at Rathdowney the Erkina makes it’s way past Rathdowney 18 Hole Golf Course and passes under Coolkerry bridge, Carrig bridge and Boston bridge.
Image: Donaghmore Museum, near Rathdowney is visible from the joining of the Quinn River with the Erkina River.
The river then becomes slow moving as it approaches the Wooden bridge. This bridge, as it’s name suggests, is made of wood and is one of a small number in Ireland carrying regular road traffic. The river then traverses an area known as the “Curragh”. This area is a bird-watchers paradise as many species of migrating birds flock here each winter. This was illustrated in Don Conroy and Jim Wilson’s book “Bird Life in Ireland”. The river then makes it’s way through the alluvial woodlands of Bishopswood and Knockanoran before entering the grounds of beautiful CastleDurrow.
After passing the ruins of Merciers Mill 1km east of Durrow the Erkina river has it’s confluence with the Nore river.