River Runner – The Untold Story of Cork’s River Lee

We live in an era where many shrouded, dark secrets of Ireland’s past have been broken wide open. River Runner is an in-depth documentary film that highlights some of the murkier events that now lie buried beneath the impounded waters of one of Ireland’s larger rivers, the River Lee in County Cork, Ireland.

As its central core the film uses the sad dilemma of the River Lee’s Wild Atlantic Salmon to convey the disturbing truth of what happened to this once famed and spectacular river, just a mere sixty years ago. In doing so it brings to light several tragedies that have been hidden away all this time, and by some, hopefully forgotten. Not only does the film cover the plight of the Salmon it also looks at the fate of the Salmon-dependent, Freshwater Pearl Mussel, a species now perilously close to extinction. It also exposes the shocking destruction of one of Western Europe’s rarest forest types, ‘the Gearagh’. Before the damming of the river for hydro-electricity purposes, this was the last pure stand of ancient, riverine forest that had survived intact since the end of the last ice age. Sitting as it did on a vast, inland delta of several thousand acres, this unique forest ecosystem was one of just four such systems left on the planet. In addition, with the forest’s demise, the last true Community of ancient, forest dwelling people also vanished. The story of their scattering and forced relocation is a harrowing and heart-breaking saga.

This untold saga of the River Lee is narrated by two Corkonians, Alan Nolan and Kevin Corcoran. Alan, who grew up beside the lower reaches of the river, is a World Class, Salmon angler who passionately describes the present dilemma of the River Lee’s ‘King of Fish’, the wild Atlantic Salmon. Kevin Corcoran is a well-known author of walking guides and a very experienced and respected environmental biologist. A living descendent of the ancient forest community that lived in the Gearagh, he has spent a large portion of his life studying, recording and trying to protect the tiny fragment of the Gearagh that still survives.

In order to capture the essence and varying moods of the River Lee, as well as its unique wildlife and cryptic secrets, River Runner was filmed over a period of two years, during which the camera spent most of its time mid-river. The winter of 2013/14 threw up some of the most violent storms ever encountered by the camera man, conditions which however, give the film footage its very own drama.

What happened to the Rive Lee is not just a local issue but a Global one. In the last forty years Global Animal Species Populations have collapse by a staggering 52%. If ail citizens of the Earth begin to RESPECT NATURE we can reverse this trend. Let us begin by respecting ‘OUR OWN LOVELY LEE.

Here, like never before, the true story of what was done to Cork’s ‘Own Lovely Lee’ is finally unveiled.

Following its sell-out premier at Cork Film Festival in 2014, River Runner will be screened at Briery Gap on Monday 19th January at 8.30pm. The film-makers will attend the screening and will host a Questions and Answers Session immediately afterwards. Tickets €7 on sale now from the Box Office on 026-41793.