A Week on the River Shannon, Ireland, August 2008

Start base: Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim, Ireland
End base: Portumna, County Galway, Ireland
Craft: Lake Star, "Corry"

Many more pictures are available via a Flickr set here. You can email me here
 
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Wednesday 20 August 2008

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Another fine morning, and with a water tap close by, we filled the boat again before setting off towards Athlone at 09:15.

We had failed to get a pump-out the previous day, so after about an hour cruising we spotted the machine at Athlone marina. Athlone was the biggest town we were to visit on our trip. We moored against the pump-out facility, paid the €10 (euros) to a very friendly chap and set off downstream.

However we were stopped by the waterways navigation police from going under the bridge! They were testing the water flow just beyond Athlone's main bridge with an expensive piece of equipment. The guys in the dinghy said that they would be finished around 11:30, so we took the opportunity to visit the town and get some more supplies.


Water flow tester

 

We decided to have a cup of coffee, and set off from the Marina at about 11:45. For some reason, the navigation inspectors delayed the boats through Athlone lock for 45 minutes. We eventually left Athlone behind at 12:25 as the weather worsened to a gentle drizzle.

 


Clonmacnoise

Whilst travelling along this stretch, the extra height of the water became very apparent. There were "No shooting the ducks" signs virtually submerged along the river banks. The river banks themselves only really noticable by the long grass poking above the water level ....

There is an RTE report of the Irish flooding here.

After 90 minutes cruising, the weather had improved to sunshine and we had reached Clonmacnoise, County Offaly, and decided to stop to look around. It's a very pretty place, with a visitor centre worth looking in for a couple of souvenirs. We quite liked the "sheep" items :o)

It's not recommended to moor here overnight in high winds, but it's a beautiful spot to spend a couple of hours.

 

We had planned on staying at Shannonbridge overnight. An hour after leaving Clonmacnoise we had arrived to find some of the moorings actually underwater! These moorings were the ones downstream of the bridge, and now had temporary black marker posts attached to the submerged wall.

 

A fellow "skipper" said that these moorings were not underwater 2 days previously when they had initially passed by. This clearly had put them out of action, leaving a possibility of 5 mooring slots unusable. The small marina moorings were fully utilised when we arrived at 17:00, but we had spotted that a couple of moorings just upstream of the bridge were unused and duly parked up.

My initial feelings of Shannonbridge were of disappointment. The bridge is clearly stunning, but the village seemed to lack character and also looked quite dead.

There were only a couple of small shops, and I needed a small top up of lager. The only place I could find to buy some was a shop next door to Killeens pub.

We had a quick look through the adjoining door and it was apparent that Killeens was a traditional Irish type of pub, which we visited later in the evening when they had some live Irish country style music.


Underwater moorings at Shannonbridge

 

The pub has 1000s of business cards pinned all over the ceiling, and was complimented by a pint of Guinness. My opinion had certainly altered from earlier in the evening, making this one of the week's highlights.

 

 
Hodson Bay -> Athlone Marina. Cruising time : 1 hour
Athlone Marina -> Clonmacnoise. Cruising time : 1 hours (1 lock)
Clonmacnoise -> Shannonbridge. Cruising time : 1 hour
 

 
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Wednesday 20 August 2008

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