BeautfulLee Group is something new and exciting to have come out of our time in lockdown. 
Families got the chance to spend some real quality time together. Mary and her family enjoyed some special times down by the river, so much so that she decided to organise some River Events in the hope that others may enjoy the river and its surrounding areas too. 
Mary explains her vision for this new group.
Around 30 people of all ages gathered on Saturday morning around the Inniscarra graveyard for the first meeting of the BeautifulLee group. The idea for a new group came from my experience over lockdown of getting reacquainted with the river and the fields around it. As a family we’ve taken walks, had picnics, skipped stones, watched the ducks, gone fishing, and collected some rubbish. One day we even held school down by the river. I wish I knew more about the plants and the animals that live in and around the river, whether it’s safe to swim, how the area around the river could be managed to encourage biodiversity, what can be done to treat the knotweed and limit the litter, and whether there’s more ways to have fun in and around the river. There’s so much potential! I also wondered whether others felt the same way.  So I decided to see whether others shared these interests by holding a few events. The goal for each of the summer meet-ups is to clean up an area around the river, learn about the area, have fun and get to know people in our community who are interested in the river and the area around it.
This past Saturday in Inniscarra volunteers quickly got to work and collected eight bags of rubbish and one old mouldering mattress, while the kids (and some adults) had fun making chalk creations on the pebble beach. Pat O’Callaghan provided historical background to the area, most memorably the origins of the name Inniscarra. Thank you very much to Patsy for his presentation, to Mel Harris who led the chalk play, and to Ballincollig Tidy Towns for providing us with gloves, high-vis vests, rubbish bags, and litter pickers and for removing the filled bags and mattress afterwards.
BeautifulLee’s next event is on Saturday, 1 August in the field at the far eastern edge of the Regional Park (access through Manor Hill estate, down the hill to Fionn Laoi estate, VCVC+6X in google maps). We’re hoping to make things with sticks and leaves, collect litter, and have a talk on the landscape and geography of the area.  And on Saturday, 5 September meeting in the fields across from the Angler’s in Carrigrohane. And we’ll see how it goes from there…
I hope you’ll join me.
Mary Venables
BeautifulLee: protect, learn, play