The Quoile River flows through County Down to Strangford Lough. The river has given its name to a townland about a mile north of Downpatrick.
According to the PLACENAMESNI website, the original Irish name for the river was An Caol, translated into English as early as 1549 as “Narrowe Water”, and now anglicized as Quoile.
The river forms the northern boundary of the townland. The western boundary is the Rathkeltar Road. Cars can cross the townland on the A25 Strangford Road and the Mearne Road, but I took the quieter option of parking at the Quoile Brae and walking along the riverside path.
The River Quoile has been used as a filming location for the HBO TV show Game of Thrones. This wooden jetty was constructed for the funeral of the character Hoster Tully, Lord of Riverrun. Stripped of its banners and carved fish, the jetty was then left in place to become part of the Quoile Pondage Nature Reserve.
The word “pondage” refers to water held back behind a barrier. In this case a tidal barrier was created in 1957 to protect Downpatrick from flooding. The change from salt water to fresh water in this part of the river, and the protected status of a nature reserve, brought new plants, then insects, then birds. On my walk I spotted a pair of bullfinches; only the male stopped long enough to be photographed.
In the past, before the flood defences were in place, the Quoile river was used for shipping. Quoile Quay (in Demesne of Down townland) and Steamboat Quay (in Quoile townland) were busy ports. You can still see mooring bollards used from the 1830s to 1920 at Steamboat Quay.
I walked to the Quoile Countryside Centre to find out more about the steamships, the nature reserve and the ruined tower house known as Quoile Castle.
Still, there is plenty of information online, including an excellent description of the riverside walk on WALKNI.com.
Which county is Quoile in? Down.
Which parish is Quoile in? Saul.
Which townlands border Quoile? To the north, Finnabrogue and Lisbane. To the east, Saul, Ballintogher, and Ballysugagh. To the west, Ballyrenan and Demesne of Down.