Ballynafagh Lake (or Blackwood Reservoir) lies 2km north of Prosperous town. A man-made lake, it was originally built to supply water to the Grand Canal via the Blackwood (Coill Dubh) feeder, and the remains of the gate house that controlled the water-flow to the canal are still standing. Carefully climb down to the stream and look under the ruins for an example of some fine stonework from the 1700’s.
The lake has since been become home to a wide variety of wildlife, and it is now an important habitat for some rare and unusal plants, insects, birds and other ainimals. The site is now formally protected as a Special Area of Conservation, and the National Parks and Wildlife Service have published a Site Synopsis detailing some of the species that have been found. The recently launched Kildare Branch of Birdwatch Ireland held their very first outing there, and the 37 bird species they spotted, including the rare Hen Harrier, are listed on their Outing Report.
Access to the site has been improved recently, and it is well signposted from Prosperous. A new car park has been installed, and a grassy track now circles the lake. Note that depending on the weather some parts of the track can be muddy, so wear appropriate footwear.
If you have a few hours to spare some day why not take a spin out and enjoy the fresh air, sights and sounds.