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
Index Previous day

Thursday 21 August 2008

Next day

Large boat under bridge

For our penultimate day, we didn't have any particular plan. We were now close to our final destination at Portumna, so we thought we'd pop into the boat base to find out the departure time for Saturday.

We had a quick look around the old Fort building (now a restaurant) before leaving, but then spotted a huge boat coming our way upstream in the distance. I had taken a couple of pictures of the water level marker by the bridge, and it had actually risen overnight by about 2 inches. Along with this and the river probably well over 3 feet higher than usual, it was unclear whether the large boat would actually get under the bridge!

To say it was close was an understatement .... the aerial on top of the boat's wheelhouse was certainly touching the bridge as it crept under.


We left Shannonbridge at 10:00 under blue skies and high clouds. Soon after leaving, we passed another peat burning power station. There are 3 altogether in Ireland.


Arriving at 11:30 at Banagher public marina, we could hear gun shots in the distance. There was the 8th World DTL (down the line) clay pigeon shooting competition in progress at nearby Eskel.

Banagher is a very nice small town, with some good little unique shops as well as a central shopping area and large supermarket. If extra provisions are needed on the way, then this would be the place to visit.

After visting the town, we decided to stop for lunch before the short 15 minute journey to Meelick Lock (or Victoria Lock).

Banagher Public Marina with "Corry"


Moorings at Victoria Lock cutting

Victoria lock was the prettiest we visited on our trip in my view. The upstream entrance and moorings are particularly lovely.

We waited about hour before our turn to navigate down through the lock, allowing me the chance to take some more pictures and wander around the lock area. I always find it is good fun to watch other craft use the locks.

We exited the lock at about 14:50 and then cruised along a very peaceful section, reaching a straight section just before Portumna swing bridge. This stretch is often used by waterskiers, and with the gorgeous weather, today was no exception.


Just before the swing bridge and entrance to the Emerald Star boat base, there is a speed limit of 5km/h as denoted on the navigation guide and on signposts in the river. There are set opening times for the bridge, which vary with the season and day of the week. We had already chosen the time we were going to pass through (17:30), so as time permitted we slowly entered the boat base marina.

The entrance is very narrow, so a slow speed is essential, as there may be other boats leaving or mooring. We moored in a vacant place and found out the details for our journey home on Saturday morning.

We had about 45 minutes to wait until the time slot for the bridge opening, so we moored close by. There are a few mooring places in order to wait, but some people decided to circle in the channel. Unless arriving close to the opening time, or if there are no mooring spaces left, there is little point in joining the "circle". The "bridge keeper" will hold the traffic light for plenty of time for all boats to pass through.


After only a few minutes, all craft were through and set off towards Lough Derg. I have a short YouTube video of the craft about to enter Lough Derg here. It clearly shows a tranquil scene and beautiful evening.

We had planned to moor overnight at Terryglass. We usually try to moor quite early, due to the possible lack of moorings later in the afternoons. Within 30 minutes of exiting Portumna swing bridge, we were at Terryglass Marina. There were mooring slots available outside the harbour wall, which we had already spotted through the binoculars.

The marina was already full inside, so we moored at the outside slot. Unknown to us, Terryglass was having its 10th Arts Festival, with Irish comedian Ardal O'Hanlon appearing in the main hall this evening!

It wasn't therefore surprising that the marina was full, and people mooring against other craft. Along with the Arts Festival, Terryglass is also a beautiful place.

Terryglass Marina


We had dinner on board, and had a Guinness at Paddy's Bar later. There is quite a bit of benefit in mooring within the harbour walls, there are very few waves to rock the boat at night :o)

Terryglass Sat Nav position
N 53 03' 39"
W 08 12' 21"


Shannonbridge -> Banagher. Cruising time : 1 hours
Banagher -> Victoria lock. Cruising time : hour
Victoria lock -> Portumna. Crusing time : 1 hours (1 lock)
Portumna -> Terryglass. Cruising time : hour (1 swing bridge)

Index Previous day

Thursday 21 August 2008

Next day