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Slaheny River

  Grade:   3 to 5       Rating: river rating
  County:   Kerry   Date updated:22/01/2009
  Section Length:   3km   Version: 2 (History)

Brief River Description

A fun paddle with a couple of Grade 3 read and run rapids punctuated by 3/4 Grade 4 rapids. Some of the bigger rapids have very obvious Horizon lines and should be inspected. Mainly pool drop with some longer runs. The river narrows in places, is quite overgrown and eddies are small enough.

Directions to the Put-in

Located outside the village of Kilgarvin in South Kerry. Take the N22 out of Kilarney, turn off is about 20 minutes down the road on the right hand side for Kilgarvin(Same turn off as the Roughty, before the turn off for the Flesk). Take the left hand turn down the hill in the village. I can't remember anything significant at the put in so someone else can fill that bit in.

The take out as recommended by the guide book is the first bridge, however the sections below the bridge turned out to be bigger then anything above it (on high water) so I'd keep going until you can see the village on your right.

Directions to the Take-out

The river runs parallel to the road for nearly the whole way to Kilgarvin, possible take outs are the 2 bridges or Drive back into Kilgarvin and turn left, after a couple of hundred metres there is a small gravel car park next to a picture of Jackie Heally Rae. You can see the river below. From the river below you will see another river merge with the Slaheny and then the village will be above you to the right.

River Description

At the get on there is a couple of easy read and run rapids that may require a look depending on the group. The river twists and turns a lot but when you come across the first major horizon line you should have plenty of time to eddie out. Scouting is easiest on the river right.

This is a fairly continuous rapid that can be broken down into two steps.

The first part snakes left then back right and has a series of seams and holes that presents a fairly easy line down the left all the way. At the bottom are two submerged rocks that quick up a nasty looking rooster tail that will draw your attention. It is possible to catch an eddie at the very bottom left (and then ferry right) before the next section.

The second part is an easier section that requires a left to right drive over a strong reactionary and then straighten up at the bottom. At low water this rapid takes on a far different look with the second part becoming tight enough that you are required to tuck your elbows and drop down a slot.

In lower levels, the above rapid is very distinctly two rapids. The first section is long and rocky, and should be check for trees before running. The second section provides and interesting double drop into a tight gap with some enjoyable funny water. It is very deep here and has been known to swallow paddlers only to spit them up further downstream

After this you paddle some grade two rapids with the main hazard being that it is very hard to see anything because of the trees. The next main rapid sneaks up on you.

At high water when you see the bridge there are 2 eddies of no return on the left. Going down the left would be very bad. Very bad.

This is a rapid that is very difficult to protect in both high and low water. In low water, you can get out on the rocks in the middle of the river. It is a boof drop into a tight section with a very strong towback. Swimming here is ill advised, as you could be there a while.

At high water this part can be run on the far right. At a lower level the chimney section on the left looks nasty as it creates a room of doom that is undercut apparently.

The river gets more continuous from here and at high water you will end up paddling through fields and trees to avoid fallen debris. There are 3 more large rapids, the first one is after the second bridge and isn't easily seen, the river forks. There is no close eddie service to inspect. River right drops into a fairly large hole that is best boofed.

The last rapid before you see Kilgarvin is a lot of fun. We didn't really scout it but it felt big. The land levels off a bit and the river turns hard to the right. There are a number of big holes that will stop a boat dead in its tracks, a couple of overhanging trees also make things interesting. This should definitely be looked at.

Take out is about 2 minutes later.

Local issues

The roads are very narrow so be mindful of passing traffic when you're parking.

River level gauge

When the flesk is running or too high.

If there is water on the Roughty, the Slaheeny will be a blast, If the roughty looks mighty meaty, put on your smiles, its gonna be fun.

River Hazards

Fallen trees mainly. The sides are also lined with barbed wire which makes getting out awkward but potentially could be dangerous. The drop (at the river left) at the bridge has the potential to be very dangerous so it is best walk/scout and set up safety) This river can rise quickly. It rose by about a foot in the hour or so it took to run the first part to the bridge.


Original Author: Dave Pierse
Latest Author: Mickey Barry
(Full History)

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