Lusk Waterways: Palmerstown Stream and Chapelfarm Stream

Lusk Waterways: Palmerstown Stream and Chapelfarm Stream

by Dr Tom McCloughlin, DCU Water Institute

Ask one of the “blow-ins” if there are any rivers in Lusk, and their first answer would probably be no unless they were familiar with Chapelfarm or the north end of the ring road. But all settlements need a water supply! In Chapelfarm you have a short stream that rises on the hill out a little on Quickpenny Road. It winds its way under the housing estate and meanders through the farmland between Chapelfarm and the Carriage House. After that it goes under the main road under a strong bridge and then drops down to Rogerstown Estuary near the Birdwatch Ireland hide joining the Ballyboughal River proper. Unfortunately, this stream does pick up a fair amount of domestic run-off in Lusk and a lot of chemicals end up in the water so we need to be careful that our drains don’t empty into that stream making it stink and killing the life in it.

The other stream which originates way up in Palmerstown and twists its way downhill in two channels - one heading through the Commons while the other comes alongside the ring road after being re-channelled in the early 2000s. The Commons branch passes through Horestown and Rathartan through to Whitestown Mill near Rush. The lower branch pass alongside the ringroad, below Kingstown, then drops down to Effelstown through to Whitestown Mill joining the other channel and the mill-races out to the estuary at the bottom of Spout Lane.

You might be excused for thinking nothing lives in those streams but you’d be wrong since there are a lot of stickleback fish, freshwater shrimp, water slaters, bloodworms, and small shellfish though little of the high-quality pollution sensitive creatures that would indicate a clean stream. You can only see these by actually getting in the stream, though I wouldn’t recommend it unless in full PPE as the stream has a very soft bottom and you sink quite a bit in places, there’s been quite a bit of dumping too, which this writer has at times taken to extracting with thanks to Fingal CoCo for collecting the piles of junk and rubbish I’ve left for them. Pressures on the stream from pump-ing water out of the stream to spread on farmland, disturbance to the channel and again domestic run-off all conspire to kill what is there but the one we can all work on is to stop drains going di-rectly into the stream.Everything has a consequence, they say, and these streams affect Rog-erstown Estuary, the Irish Sea and all that they bring us.

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