Water is so simple now days, just turn on the tap and there it is.
John Joe Crehan, Cloonavihony Newbridge
Water is so simple now days, just turn on the tap and there it is. Back in 1800 when there were over 30 houses in the townland it was not so simple. Most of the houses were thatched so there was no way of collecting rain water. Some water for household use had to be collected from the nearest drain. During the wet weather this was no problem. Dry weather meant that people had to draw from the river which might be some distance from the house. One person would be only able to manage two buckets which was very tiring. The ass and cart was often pressed into service with one or two 40 gallon wooden barrels go to the river fill up the barrels and go home, this might last two days at most.
For drinking or cooking the townland had a good well. It was known far and wide as Tansey Well up to this day where the cool clean water still flows. The well was the most important site in the whole area. Somebody from each house called there every day where you always met somebody for a chat and an exchange of local news, it was a means of cementing them loyally to each other. It fulfilled the same role that the phone does in our own day.
Often our State was founded the County Council took an interest in small local improvements. As a result in 1930 or so a concrete wall was built around the well to keep out cattle, which was a great improvement.
The well is used to this day. One man whose house is nearby has a pipe from the well to pump on his farm to provide piped water to his house and farm.
The most development in water supply was in 1940 when the Department of Agriculture gave a grant for the provision of concrete tanks to harvest rainwater off roofs of tanks and farm buildings. To qualify for the full grant of £12.00 the tank had to have a capacity of 300 cubic feet.
From 1950 on people began to install bathrooms and install a hand pump to fill the overhead tank. When the ESB came along these were replaced by Electric pumps. The electricity first came to Cloonavihony in 1955. Since then there have been bored wells and group water schemes. The village well still flows and will continue to do so. The only danger is pollution from sub standard septic tanks or slurry pits. It would be a shame if this were to happen as it is part of our heritage.