PLEASE NOTE that due to the limitations of PC screens and websites the images shown are of a low resolution. Actual printed images are of a much higher quality and clarity.
The hydro electric station of Kathleens falls as seen from Assaroe lake Ballyshannon. In 1775 the salmon-leap of Assaroe at Ballyshannon was famously praised by the Dutch traveller Richard Twiss in A Tour in Ireland
“The Giants Causeway is an object which is scarcely worthy of going so far to see; however that is to be determined by the degree of curiosity of which the traveller is possessed. But the salmon-leap at Ballyshannon is a scene of such a singular nature, as is not to be found elsewhere, and is as peculiar to Ireland as the bullfights are to Spain…..”
A hydroelectric power station was built in the town in the 1950s. The project, or ‘Scheme’ as it was then referred to, brought engineers, electricians, and specialists in hydroelectricity from many parts of the country and abroad to the town, which experienced a boom during the decade-long construction period. This involved building a dam upriver from the town at Cathleen’s Falls and digging out a deep channel to lower the riverbed through the town to increase the head of water at the dam in order to drive the turbines. Before the station was built, the river was wide, and the water level much higher than it is today. A long bridge spanned from the northern shore to the ‘port’ on the southern bank. The waters spilled over a number of waterfalls, among them Cathleen’s Falls, before meandering out to sea. Today, however, the river runs through a narrow channel, far below the level of either bank and a narrower single arch bridge has replaced the old one. This turbulent water is all that is left of the once mighty falls a valuable heritage is lost, seemingly for all time.