Tigh na Cille… the house of hazel is where we began our journey again on Saturday beside the old mill and across the river from where the three abandoned wooden barges lie hidden at the entrance to the canal. The once grand lough gates allowed merchant traffic travel down into one of the most manicured river landscapes of the entire valley. Lord Beaupark was intrusted with overseeing the purse that had iron forged and wooden beams sawn into gates to complete this long and difficult section of waterway. His attempts to civilise the great forested embankments of the River Boyne, forced the engineers to stone face long sections of pathway from lough to lough, while incorporating little mills and folly like houses over re-routed streams for lough keepers and workers. The records talk of bullocks being commissioned to help float lough gates up river and large amounts of whiskey being paid to locals whose job it was to prevent works from being washed away during sudden floods. But the hooded men of the hazel forest seemed the greatest menace to the project, stealing or vandalising at every opportunity to prevent the empire expanding further inland with each and every year. The earliest drawing of a river currach was sketched here on these banks while fishing, and the Reilly family has memories of these ‘tubs’, as they called them, still being used in their day, as a ferry to re-unite brothers and sisters from across the river on Sundays. My favourite perch to stop awhile was curiously carved 5,000 years ago with a spot like the sun and rays of light carved as waves emanating from a stone dropped from outside our world to pulsate over the sky. Who knows what the little doodler was thinking of as he sat by the river each day to carve his mark, simply to say he was there. Passing by Slane Castle, the ocean blue water drew our attention to the new 15ft well that I can only presume is for the new distillery being built there. I wonder will it be as good a whiskey as the whiskey that kept men in payment for digging the trench of the Boyne canal. We finished beneath Newgrange between two fly fishing tourists, whose virtual presence in the river seemed but for a sudden moment to overlap ours.