The Timeless Broadmeadow

The Broadmeadow river curls around the centre of Ashbourne, Co. Meath, injecting a
beautiful, ever-moving, natural entity into the urban backdrop of my home town. The river
has been abused by pollution in the past, but has now been rejuvenated to a state of good
health; perfect for plants and animals to flourish. One of my favourite things to do is to follow
the river walk into the main village and peer over the railings to see how much wildlife I can
spot. I love that there is always something to see; whether it’s a moor hen hidden amongst
the reeds, a heron standing tall and graceful in the glittering water, butterflies dancing along
the beds, or an otter with her babies scuttling away under the bridge, the Broadmeadow’s
inhabitants can always be sought out if one looks closely enough.
When I was a young child, my mam and dad would bring me down to this river and we would
catch tiny fish in small nets. I remember my dad gently reminding me to set them free again
after I had a little peek, because animals should be treated with respect, he would say. Since
giving birth to my first baby almost 4 months ago, I find myself revisiting my childhood in my
mind quite often as I draw on these experiences to nurture the emotional growth and
development of my own daughter. Although she is only small, I make sure to pass by the
river on every walk we go on so that she can just be in the presence of nature despite the
concrete apartment blocks looming overhead. There’s something very comforting about how
my parents used this same river to help teach me not only about animals and nature, but
also empathy and compassion… and now I get to pass this experience on to my little girl.
I think about how much time has passed, and how the river’s layout remains the same,
despite the varying changes in its aesthetic over the years (much like people). In a world of
uncertainty, the Broadmeadow will continue to flow, forever, and this constant is something
that I take great solace in.