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05 Oct 2022

Kenny's Rock emerged from depths of River Suir in Carrick for first time in living memory during dry spell

A fire was lit on the rock during its brief appearance to fulfil tradition practised by local fishermen

Kenny's Rock emerged from depths of River Suir in Carrick for first time in living memory during dry spell

Ralph O’Callaghan pictured watching the fire he lit on Kenny's Rock in the River Suir in Carrick-on-Suir in the early hours of August 15.

When a large flat stone emerged from the depths of the River Suir in Carrick for the first time in living memory during the long dry spell, a local fisherman fulfilled the tradition of lighting a fire on the slab.

Ralph O’Callaghan lit the fire on Kenny’s Rock at 4.05am on Monday, August 15 when the stone became visible for a few hours during low tide.

In lighting the fire on the rock, Ralph was following a tradition practised by local boatmen and fishermen but not witnessed in living memory as the water level in the river had never plunged so low.

Kenny’s Rock is located in the Suir between Carrick’s Old Bridge and Dillon Bridge just downstream from Shambles Lane. The rock is also known locally as the Fire Rock or Carrig Tine.

Ralph, who lives just 200m from the River Suir at Churchtown, Carrick, was accompanied by his wife Catrine on the pre-dawn boat trip to light the fire on the rock, a custom that is believed to have originated as a rain making ritual.

He had been watching out for the stone to emerge from the river for days beforehand and the low tide of August 15 provided the best conditions. There was a bigger than normal drain on the river due to the full moon’s influence on the tide.

“There wasn’t a sinner around. It was just one of those moments you would cherish. You think about when the fire was last lit and who lit it,” he said.

Ralph said some people in the town say 1921 was the last time Kenny’s Rock was exposed on the river and the fire was lit on it but he doesn't know if that is correct.

His grandfather, a Carrick boatman who worked on the river, never mentioned the tradition being carried out in his time. Ralph said it was extra special that Kenny’s Rock emerged from the Suir during Heritage Week

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