Onwards up the Shannon in Leaps & Bounds by Daquiri (Lanesborough to Leitrim)

Oh my goodness we’ve been doing so much adventuring we’ve not been able to keep up with our blog. It’s been all go but here we go with our latest cruise adventures.

We very sadly parted company with Nuala as she was heading south & we were off north. To beat the weather we set off very early on an overcast day a short hop up the River Shannon to Tarmonbarry. It’s here that the Clondra Canal meets the River Shannon. So we just moored here for one night ready to set off up the Clondra Canal & then onto the Camlin River the next day. We moored for the night in the short entrance to the private marina.

The next morning we traversed the River Shannon & entered the Clondra Canal & up the one lock. At the end of this you can turn right to Richmond Harbour & the start of The Royal Canal which is hopefully our plan for winter. Today we turned left onto the very pretty Camlin River which winds round & then joins the River Shannon further north above Tarmonbarry.

Once we’d rejoined the River Shannon it was actually quite busy & we passed several boats. We continued north up across Lough Forbes & up Roosky lock to moor up on one of the fabulous jetties along the bank.

We stayed here a couple of days & mum was able to get a few top up supplies from the shop. Then we made the short hop up To Dromod. On the way mum stopped for diesel I think she nearly fainted as she only needed half a tank & it was 243euros!!! Apparently we’re trying to only run our engine days we move now as its longer days for the solar & the fire isn’t going on till at least November at these prices!

Dromod was one of harbours mum had recce’d on her holiday & she knew there was a smaller side harbour which had a lower bank for getting us off. She was also uncertain if she’d be able to turn in there so she did a reverse manoeuvre with an audience of hire boats who had all looked out when she turned up probably wondering how she was going to fit in the main harbour. Anyway we got moored perfectly & we could get off fine here.

The wind picked up a bit across the weekend so we stayed a few days at Dromod. The pretty town of Dromod is situated on shore where Lough Boderg (Lake of the Red Cow) and Lough Bofin (Lake of the White Cow) intertwine. Mum had a nice evening our at Coxs steakhouse & visited the wonderful Cavan & Leitrim Railway. It is  is a unique family attraction being the only location in Ireland where visitors can board an airplane cockpit and view heritage steam and diesel locomotives. There is a massive eclectic collection of vehicles and mum even got a little train ride. Heres a few photos to give you a flavour.

We were also treated to a spectacular sunset whilst at Dromod.

After the weekend the wind calmed & the forecast for the next week was very calm. So we decided to continue northwards & skip Kilglass & Grange as we’ll save those for our way back as we’d like to spend a few days there & we didn’t want to miss this current good cruising window. From Roosky northwards we’ll be able to visit again on our way back down at the end of the summer. So it was full steam ahead across 3 loughs: Bofin, Boderg & Tap to Drumsna.

We were very relieved to see there was space by the steps as again the wall would be too high for us to get off. We actually got a rare bit of sunshine while we were moored there too.

Next day we headed back down the river & turned onto The Jamestown Canal. We were hoping to moor at the end of this but alas the wall was too high so we continued onto Carrick praying that there was room as it was late afternoon. We normally try & arrive in the mornings to ensure we can get our long boat in at places. Anyway we needn’t have worried as there was loads of space. We did have to moor on short finger moorings here that we only get just under half of our length on. Luckily as it was a calm forecast we were fine.

Carrick-on-Shannon is the county town of County Leitrim in Ireland. It is the largest town in the county of Leitrim. A smaller part of the town lies in County Roscommon. It is situated on a strategic crossing point of the River Shannon & is a mecca for Hire boats.

Carrick-on-Shannon is the county town of County Leitrim in Ireland. It is the largest town in the county of Leitrim. A smaller part of the town lies in County Roscommon. It is situated on a strategic crossing point of the River Shannon. Carrick on Shannon is known as ‘the marina capital of Ireland‘ and the Marina is an attractive focal point of the town with many hire boat companies & a daily trip boat running. It has a beautiful riverside park & boardwalk over the river that we enjoyed for walkies.

It also has the Costello Chapel which is the smallest chapel in Europe & the second smallest in the world. The Chapel is sixteen feet long by twelve foot wide and thus covers an area of 192 feet. The Costello Memorial Chapel was erected by Edward Costello to mark his devotion to his wife, who died in 1877 at the age of 46. On the death of his wife, Mary Josephine, he had work on the memorial Chapel started. It was to be both a monument to his love and a last resting place for his wife and himself. The little building was dedicated on April 22, 1879 and after the consecration ceremony, the body of Mrs Costello was placed in a sunken space to the left of the entrance, and covered over with a thick slab of specially made glass. The body, which was interred in a metal coffin, had been embalmed when Mrs Costello died, and had been cared for in the interim by the marist nuns. Mr Costello himself died in March 1891, and his remains also in a metal coffin were placed in a sunken space to the right of the entrance. A thick glass lid was placed over this vault too, and today the inscriptions on both coffins can be read with the aid of a torch.

On a slightly less sombre note Carrick has many pubs & restaurants which no prizes for guessing mum was off visiting!

Now we didnt want to spend too long at Carrick as we’ll be back here in a couple of weeks to meet friends & you’re only allowed to moor at the harbours for 5 days. So after the important task of an online shopping delivery of 4 large bags of dog food we set off northwards to Leitrim. We’ve now ended up very ahead of schedule as Leitrim & Lough Allen were our end goal this summer. Ah well we can always go to our favourite places again or move our goals.

Leitrim is a small village at the start of the Shannon-Erne waterway which is our 2023 goal. It is just on a canal section & we found a perfect mooring with grass right next to us.

Unfortunately it did nothing but rain all the time we were there & its one of the first places we had a very poor internet signal. Of course this meant mum had to go to the pub to use their wifi! Mum had hoped to cycle further up the canal to have a look at the locks but given the weather that plan was shelved.

We’re now quite a way up the waterways as can be seen from the map below. This blog has taken us from Roosky to Leitrim. Lough Allen is next & then we also have Lough Key to explore which we’re really looking forwards to.

We decided to move onwards from Leitrim & have a quick look up at Lough Allen as there’s a festival on at Drumshanbo then we’ll possibly come back & do more time on Lough Allen in August. We’ll fill you in on our Lough Allen adventures in the next blog.

We’ve Conquered Lough Ree by Cosmo (Barley Harbour, Portrunny, Lecarrow & Lanesborough)

So we got another beautiful still day so we said goodbye to our River Inny mooring & set off northwards in our Funky Boyz Convoy again. Wanting to stop at every stop we had a slight detour for a stop at Rindoon jetty near Rindoon Castle. This jetty isn’t connected to land so was not for us a good mooring with no cockaleggies so it was just a quick photo stop. Unfortunately the castle is a bit hidden by the trees but we still accomplished our mission. Rindoon, “Camelot on the Shannon” was built in 1227 by King Henry III of England and was populated by up to 1000 people in it’s heyday. On St. John’s Point peninsula lies the abandoned medieval town of Rindoon. With its town wall, castle, medieval hospital, church and mill there is nothing that compares to it anywhere in Ireland or the UK. Built in the first half of the 13th century and abandoned a few hundred years later, the site has remained largely untouched.

Then it was full steam ahead to our next destination Barley Harbour. The paper maps we use are the ones given out to hire boats & as this is not the easiest harbour to moor at due to rocks its not marked for hire boats, But under Nualas expert navigation we were soon moored up safely in this beautiful location which we had all to ourselves. Like most of the stone harbours it has high walls for us but there were plenty of sets of steps down so it was just a matter of aligning our bow against one of these so we could get off. Although the harbour was constructed in the 1950’s, its fine stonework and serene atmosphere suggest a far greater antiquity.  The adjacent picnic area is a perfect spot to relax and take in the glorious views of the lake. Here’s a few photos to give you a flavour of our idyllic little mooring.

We had another wonderful evening there with our favourite BBQ for tea. We all sat out & watched the sun set & mum & Nuala drank wine of course!! Truly boat life at its best.

If anyone would like to see a bit more info about Barley Harbour check out this video blog by Driftwood

The next day dawned & we were headed northwards again this time up to Portrunny. We’d seen we had a couple of days of good weather then it was turning a bit windy so we decided to overnight in Portrunny first then visit Lecarrow as we wanted to be tucked up in the more sheltered Lecarrow when it was windy. Well thats what mum told us but we think its because Lecarrow had a pub!!

Portrunny was one of the spots mum visited on her recce week when she was staying in the cottage in Galway. Heidi The Narrowboat Pirate did a fantastic video of the whole week which you must watch especially to see our behaviour at the end tee hee! In the video you see mum stood apprehensively looking our across Lough Ree from the wall at Portrunny knowing she’d be bringing her boat here. So yay now we’ve done it. Super duper Narrowboat Pirate Video

The next day we had a very early window to move down the lough to Lecarrow so mum made us get up in the middle of the night at 5am!!!! But we were scuppered as although it was calm it was foggy so we couldn’t set off. We did get some great photos though.

Luckily when the sun came up it burnt the fog off quickly & before long we were on our way on a stunning morning. Lecarrow Harbour is linked to Lough Ree at Blackbrink Bay by a short 1km section of canal. We actually still made it onto the canal by 7am which had been our aim before the wind picked up. It was strange being back on calm canal cruising after being out on the lake.

There was only really one spot suitable to get us off so we had to do a bit of inventive mooring in the harbour but before long we were moored & after a short walkies we were trying to get 40 winks at the harbour.

It’s a great harbour very sheltered with electric, water, bins, service block & a small shop & pub nearby plus grassed areas for us. We spent a few days there until we got another calm morning window when we were up & off early to reach our end destination of Ballyleague/Lanesborough at the very top of Lough Ree.

There are a lot of mooring options at Lanesborough from jetties to the wall along the River Shannon to the old harbour. We were aiming for the jetties as we wanted electric. Initially we had to go on a shorter jetty but was boast moved we were able to get on the end hammerhead longer jetty.

Now in hindsight that didn’t turn out to be such a good mooring as see that gap to the right of the breakwater in the above photo that became our enemy. The weather worsened over the time we were there as a tropical storm came though Ireland. We spent nearly 3 days with waves sneaking through that breakwater & slamming against our boat non stop. Neither of us liked it & don’t think mum was keen either. Daquiri spent the nights up on mums bed panting keeping us all awake. I braved riding it out on the settee. Anyway all part of the boat life its not all sunsets & BBQs!

So we have now reached the top of Lough Ree at Lanesborough & are back on the River Shannon as you can see on the map below. We set off from Shannon Harbour initally just over a month ago.

We have had the bestest time mainly due to the wonderful Nuala Redmond on Funky Duck who has been our tour guide extraordinaire as well as our BBQ buddy & mums drinking partner. Having someone so knowledgeable to follow & to know where to moor has taken all the stress away from mum who is normally in a panic looking for the next red or green marker! We are so grateful for an amazing few weeks in the Funky Boyz Convoy its been so much fun. So yay we’ve conquered Lough Ree!!!!!! Thank you Nuala xxxxxx

The Funky Boyz Convoy by Cosmo (Glasson to Coosan Point to River Inny)

After a lovely few days at Glasson we had a very small very early calm window so we set off just after sunrise for Coosan Point.

Coosan Point was only a short cruise but it had water that we needed. So we were soon moored up safely as the forecast was for a few very windy days.

Coosan Point was a fabulous spot for us with little trails through the woods, beautiful views along the shore of Lough Ree, lots of informative signs about the geography & wildlife of the area, both BBQ & picnic areas, playground for the kids, a pub & the newly opened Lough Ree Lifeboat station. Ireland does do these areas so well.

It was quite a busy spot with swimmers & lots of coats cruising past of all shapes & sizes. As well as the ones pictured we saw the Viking Boat & the Hot Tub Boat again plus the magnificent Shannon Princess.

While we were at Coosan Point our new friend Nuala aboard Funky Duck arrived who is going to cruise with us across Lough Ree. Her boat is amazing with great big windows so particularly good for socialising on summer evenings & the best bit is we’re allowed onboard so we had great nights with mum & Nuala.

We had to wait quite a few days before there was a gap in the wind conditions but one evening mum was taken on a trip out across the bay to the wonderful chalets restaurant at Killinure. It had its own small private harbour which was quite tricky to get into. Nuala managed it superbly but we’d never have got Golden Boyz in there.

Eventually the wind calmed in our favour & the day dawned of our big cruise up Lough Ree – well partway up it. So ropes were cast off, life jackets donned & vhf radios tuned in & we were off. It was an absolutely stunning day for a cruise in our Funky Duck Convoy.

We made our way up the lough & headed east across the bay towards the River Inny.

After about an hour & 40mins we turned left onto the winding River Inny which again was spectacular cruising.

Just for reference we are about where the number 13 is on the map below.

In the past you’ve needed to do bankside mooring along the Inny but Waterways Ireland have installed a very swish new jetty at Red Bridge which is the end of the navigation. We moored on the end with a fabulous view out up the river.

Now we had the best time there as we had not one but two BBQs! Mags came to visit one night & brought Baileys cheesecake but we weren’t given any of that!!! It was a beautiful setting with a fabulous sunset view. Now we were also very excited each night as it got dark as the jetty has these amazing motion activated solar nights. They only come on when people are on the jetty. How ingenious. We tested them each night when we went for late night cockaleggies!

One day mum disappeared off on a Falcon adventure as she discovered we were near to both The royal Canal & the Irish Center Parcs. We won’t say too much about those places here as we should be on The Royal Canal this winter so hopefully we’ll be able to visit them all again but here’s a few photos of her day.

After a couple of days work the forecast is now looking good again so the Funky Boyz convoy will be bidding farewell to the Inny & heading northwards soon.

A Massive Leap for Dogkind by Daquiri (Ballinasloe to Glasson)

After a very pleasant few days we departed Ballinasloe solo. It had been a bit of a wet day in the morning but the rain eased as we travelled in the afternoon. We were a bit concerned Shannonbridge would be full but there was only one other boat there.

It turned into a lovely evening & the next day was a stunning calm day with barely a ripple on the river as we headed north.

Our mission was to moor at Clonmacnoise that we’d visited 2 years ago by bike. It was again another lovely spot & nice for walkies.

We had originally intended spending a night here & mum wanted to have a play with Dermot the drone but we’d had word that some of the moorings were closing at Athlone so we wanted to get up & secure a spot as we knew it was forecast to be windy the next week. As we got to Athlone the lockies were absolutely amazing & sorted us a spot on the wall & even helped mum tie the boat up.

Now although we got a spot mum was very worried the wall would be too high for us to get off. She knew I’d make it but Cosmo the wuss was a completely different matter. Well he took us all by surprise & performed a giant jump for dogkind & was on & off easily all week. In fact mum had more trouble getting off than us especially when it was raining as she either had to go out on her knees or her bottom. It was a sight to behold!!!

We had a nice week in Athlone. Mum was ecstatic to find an M&S with a foodhall & she got to see the new Downton film. Our viking friends on the Viking Boat often passed us & we even got to see The Hot Tub Boat.

One day when mum wasn’t working (or shopping!) we went on a nice walkies down to the old Athlone Canal which we’d passed the entrance of as we were cruising to Athlone.

Boats passing through Athlone nowadays use the lock beside the weir and downstream of the current road bridge. Lock, weir and bridge were constructed by the Shannon navigation commissioners in the 1840s. Before then, boats used a canal, about a mile and a half long, to the west of the river. Although the old canal is no longer navigable, small boats are kept at its upper end and the entire line is easy to follow.

After a week at Athlone the wind calmed & mum deemed it a day safe enough to venture out onto Lough Ree. As you may remember from our previous exploits on Lough Derg narrowboats aren’t as stable as cruisers due to their flat bottoms so mum can only cruise in very calm conditions. So we bade farewell to Athlone & said hello to the vast waters of Lough Ree.

We were headed only just onto the bottom corner of Lough Ree & to the east opposite Hodson Bay where we went on our Viking Boat trip. Mum was anxiously following the markers with her Navionics app on her phone. We decided to pass Coosan Point as there were loads of swimmers all on the jetty where mum needed to pull in plus it was a beautiful day so mum thought she’d be brave & explore the bottom corner of Lough Ree & Killinure Lough.

We passed several private marinas & soon had our destination in sight The Glasson Lakehouse Hotel & Golf Club. It certainly looked impressive from the distance & boy was it even more impressive close up. When we arrived there were no boats in the little harbour so we were able to reverse into a nice spot on the jetty for us. No more giant leaps for dogkind! It really is the most stunning setting with a fabulous view of the hotel in front of us & an amazing view of the Lough we’d just cruised behind us. We were very happy moored here.

Mum was feeling very accomplished having managed her first little cruise out onto Lough Ree. After getting us off for walkies (priorities please!!) mum went up for a look around the hotel & was blown away by it. It has a wonderful restaurant & amazing bar with wonderful areas to sit out with fire pits, a gorgeous outdoor heated swimming pool, hot tubs with a view of the lough, an extensive golf course & even a cute burger truck. Best of all its a doggie friendly hotel.

This all obviously comes at a price tag but for those who can afford the finer things & those of us who are lucky enough to moor here it truly is a spectacular location. So all in all our first little cruise & mooring on Lough Ree couldn’t have gone better. A great start to our 2022 Lough cruising

Out on the Shannon & Disaster Strikes by Cosmo (Shannon Harbour to Ballinasloe on the River Suck)

Well off we set with our newly serviced & bottom blacked boat on our summer adventures 2022. This year we are heading north up the River Shannon. Our first planned stop was Shannonbridge as there was an IWAI Athlone event planned there that evening. So after doing a vehicle shuffle mum set off with Auntie Joy as crew. We dropped down our last 2 Grand Canal locks & then it was a right turn up onto the River Shannon. The big 2022 adventure had begun.

We hadn’t been cruising for long when disaster struck. Golden Boyz did a sort of cough & a splutter & lost all power. Now this isn’t good at any time but on a river with a current it’s quite scarey. Luckily it wasn’t windy & the flow wasn’t too bad. The engine wouldn’t start again so mum was immediately checking the fuel as although we’d been full maybe someone had drained it & she also checked the fuel hadn’t been shut off accidentally. Both were OK. While she was doing that she quickly rang Tom who we knew was coming up later that day & passed the phone to Joy. Tom set off immediately but was about an hour away. By this time mum saw we were actually just slowly drifting into some reeds at the side so she decided she didn’t need to deploy the anchor & we just sat gently at the edge of the river awaiting Tom. Mum tried the engine again & now it started but we still waited for Tom in case it happened again. After an hour Tom the Cavalry arrived!

So we set off again in a little convoy & had no further issues. Soon we were moored up safely at Shannonbridge after our eventful day.

We joined in with the IWAI cocktails beneath the bridge (as it was raining) then had a quick drink in Lukers & a meal up at Fallons. It was lovely to meet some other boaters. Unfortunately the meal at Fallons was really slow about 2.5hours after we arrived & as they were really big portions it made mum feel ill eating so late. So she left early & that night her throat got sore & her whole body ached. So at 4am mum was up convinced she had finally got the dreaded Covid & took a test. Much to her surprise it was negative. Anyway the next day she felt better so it was probably just the stress of breaking down on the river.

In the morning Sean came & checked the boat over but nothing was found to have caused the power issue so we’re thinking it was just air or a fleck of rust in the fuel. Fingers crossed it doesn’t do it again! Then we set off again in a convoy with Tom for Ballinasloe on the river Suck. We had to backtrack a short distance then turn right onto the River Suck.

It was a absolutely beautiful cruise on a very still day so we saw lots of reflections in the river. Part of it is quite winding & rocky so it feels like you’re doing a slalom course around the marker posts. Just before Pollboy lock you can see a mini rapids coming down & we take a sharp left there to the lock.

We’re now on the big electric locks operated by Waterways Ireland lock keepers. A bit like the locks on the South Yorkshire navigations except we operated those ourselves.

We were soon at Ballinasloe the whole journey taking just over 2 hours. There’s a fabulous well kept harbour there with electric, water & a services block. The town is really close with 3 big supermarkets just a few mins walk away so it was a really pleasant mooring.

It was great for us going on walkies down the river where we met some very friendly new friends. Daquiri wasn’t too sure but I was brave & said hello.

On Tuesday Auntie Joy bade us farewell to continue on her Campervan travels heading up to Northern Ireland & mum returned the hire van (after buying us 4 big bags of food) & caught the train back to the boat. We stayed here a few days so mum could catch up on work. Wendy & Fergal came to visit us & they were playing with their vhf radios talking to each other from opposite ends of the harbour!! Mum is getting ready for her expedition across Lough Ree in a week or two & praying our engine behaves!

Pirates Vikings & Loughs by Daquiri

As we were enjoying our little park mooring at Shannon Harbour we got the biggest surprise ever! Auntie Joy arrived & she’s coming on holiday with us and she brought treats from Auntie Jackie & Uncle Mick!!

We were very busy well we weren’t we were snoozing but mum was collecting her hire van from Athlone & checking out moorings at Athlone while she had wheels. Once back mum helped Tom down the locks at Shannon Harbour & hitched a ride on Toms cruiser to Banagher.

Mum Joy & Tom had chips sitting on Toms boat in Banagher Harbour then Mum finally got to go in JJ Houghs Singing Pub although as it was early so there was no singing but she had some weird dentures cocktail with the milk teeth sweetie in it!

The next morning mum shot off early to pick up a pressure washer for the boat blacking then we were all packed into stupid van & off on our holibobs. It actually wasn’t a long journey this time just over an hour & we stopped en route at Ballinasloe for mum to check out the moorings there & to do the big holiday food shop. Then it was off to our holiday cottage near Dunmore county Galway. It was a beautiful cottage with 3 bedrooms, a great big garden for us & a hot tub & very cold swimming pool! Mum needless to sya loved the hot tub & we loved the garden. The Visiting House

About an hour after we’d arrived mum disappeared on a mission to Galway train station & boy did she bring a surprise back. Auntie Heidi who we’ve not seen for well over 2 years!!!

So the first day of the holiday dawned & mum had a big day planned for us all. Mum wanted to use this week to check out most of the moorings we’d be stopping at during the summer to check they were suitable for a long narrowboat & of course most important to check we’d be able to get on & off at them. Today we set off to the stunning Lough Key & the fabulous Forest Park where the moorings are.

We had a quick stop at Boyle where moorings are potentially not doggie friendly so we may end up skipping on here the boat then onto Lough Key. We’ll save telling you about Lough Key till we’re here in the boat but today we met up with Jan & Alistair & their fabulously cute furpals Brannigan & Phelan.

We had coffee & Cake at Jan & Alistairs fabulous Dutch Barge First Lady & they showed mum the 3 mooring options there. We can’t wait there’s miles & miles of walkies for us!! Mum is excited as there’s a zip wire course & a place where you can ride a BMX across a suspended walkway high up in the trees. I think she still thinks she’s 20!!

Next it was full speed ahead to Carrick on Shannon but with a quick stop at Cootehall on the way. Now we had planned to meet Rosie & Steve who were moored at Carrick but they didn’t know auntie Heidi was with us so it was a big surprise for them. Straightaway we were invited onboard & everyone was on the alcohol except us & mum who was driving. We got to meet Philpot who was vey naughty & kept mounting Cosmo. Then we were naughty & destroyed some of his toys.

Of course before long they were all off out for a meal followed by drinkies in a fabulous pub with live music.

Much amusement was had in the pub as you see auntie Heidi does a weekly world famous Video log (vlog) & she has a few gadgets she uses to film with so the locals were highly entertained by her. You can check our her superb blog here: The Narrowboat Pirate It’ll be a few weeks before our holiday is shown but we can guarantee it’ll be a blockbuster so subscribe now so you don’t miss out.

The next day we had a chill out day. No surprises guessing where mum spent it. We had a great time playing in the garden with our toys.

We were blessed with gorgeous sunny weather all week. The next day we stayed at the cottage while the humans went off to explore Galway city.

Of course they ended up in a pub or two. First O’Connells with its amazing beer garden set out like a little street of shops.

Then it was onto Taaffes lured by the live music session where Auntie Heidi sampled her first Guinness.

The next day it was our turn to go out again as we were again on a moorings checking mission. So we visited Jamestown, Drumsna, Dromod, Rooksy, Tarmonbarry, Richmond Harbour, Lanesborough, Portrunny & Lecarrow – phew a busy day. We’ll save the photos till the boat gets there. At Roosky we caught up with Jan & Alistair again & Auntie Heidi & Auntie Joy stowed away for a trip on First Lady while we moved the van then walked down to them.

It was a very exhausting day & this was us when we got back to the cottage!

But we soon woke up when the BBQ was lit!

The final trip out was a special mission to Athlone & we were left at the cottage. Today they all went off on a Viking Boat courtesy of Viking Tours. The boat cruised our onto Lough Ree & around to Hodson Bay & back.

Of course after that they ended up in a pub. This time it REALLY is Irelands oldest pub Seans Bar

The last day of the holiday we hotter than ever & we all chilled out at the cottage with the hot tub in full use.

Saturday we dropped Auntie Heidi back at the train station & drove back to Shannon Harbour to collect a newly blacked Golden Boyz.

All in all a fabulous week. Who’s coming to visit us next??

WINTER ADVENTURES PART 2 BY DAQUIRI (Sallins to Shannon Harbour)

So we awoke after all the shenanigans of St Paddys day to a glorious sunny cruising day. We were keen to take our guests cruising so we bade Sallins farewell & set off up the Grand Canal. We had a mission not long after we set off though as mum knew there was a geocache on Soldiers Island so seeing as we had crew onboard & especially Uncle Alan the geocaching guru they managed to catch it by mum sticking the bow of the boat into the bushes on the island & Uncle Alan hanging off the front. Unfortunately Ger on the trip boat came round the corner just as mum was diagonal across the canal but he knew we were after the geocache. After that we set off in a straight line to our next destination of Robertstown. On the summit level the water was really shallow wo struggled to get round the bend at Robertstown having to do a 20 point turn just to get round it. The wall was full so we had to go past & onto the jetty which we struggle to get in when there is water in the canal. Luckily we were only staying one night as our long planks only just reached & it was all a bit precarious. The humans trotted off to Charlie Welds for the evening.

The next day it was off to one of our favourite spots at Allenwood conveniently near a bus stop as our crew were flying home the next day. I was absolutely exhausted so had 40 winks in my happy spot.

After we bade farewell to Uncle Alan & Auntie Carmen it was back to normal routine of working & cruising. But as mum was near a bus stop you know what she’s like she had to squeeze a couple of last Dublin adventures in. Both had a musical element; the first was a candlelit 80’s concert & the second was an afternoon kayaking on the River Liffey with music played beneath the bridges.

After that we started making our way along the now very familiar Grand Canal as we were due in Shannon Harbour for the boat to come out of the water for blacking. It was interesting seeing all the changes along the canal now the new greenway has been completed. Rhode & Daingean looked completely different they’d even rolled the red carpet out for us at Rhode!

At Daingean we had lots of surprise visitors; firstly Nell & Mistys mum’s came to visit us who we met back in Daingean 2 years ago as they follow us on instagram. We had lots of cuddles & they left us a big bag of treats including yummy things for us! Then coincidentally Mary & Graham who mum met when they were on a hire boat in Rathangan last year cycled by so we arranged to meet again in Tullamore. Mum also got her new annoying buzzing bee thing out. We think its called a drone but as everything else we have onboard has a name we’ve christened it Dermot the drone! It’s only a smallish toy one so mum is nervous of taking it very high but its good enough for her get some aerial photos of our moorings & annoy us with.

From Daingean it was up to Ballycommon as the greenway all the way to Kilbeggan Harbour has now opened so mum wanted to cycle to it. She really enjoyed seeing where the canal used to run & was able to stand in the bottom of the harbour which was beautifully kept.

Next stop was Tullamore & here we caught up with Julie who was over from the UK. Julie came with us on our very first cruise in Ireland from Sallins to Robertstown way back in Feb 2020. We went for familiar walkies past Srah Castle.

Whilst in Tullamore mum went out for a curry wit Mary & Graham & arranged for Mary to cruise to Pollagh with her. Mum also caught the Tullamore Tradfest so finally got a couple of live music nights in pubs. Who’d have thought when we came over its take 2 years for this.

We had a great day cruising with Mary down to Pollagh & they even found another golden retriever to fuss at one of the locks. At Pollagh we were met by Mary’s aunt Eileen who whisked them off to the pub aptly named The Pull Inn. Needless to say mum didn’t take much persuading especially bearing in mind all these pubs had been closed when mum & cruised past previously.

After a couple of days there & a quick work catch up for mum it was off to catch up with Ann at Ferbane where we spent so much time in lockdown two. It felt like coming home. Dermot was brought out to play again so we had a good bark at him.

From Ferbane Ann joined us as we cruised to Shannon Harbour & for once we got a superb spot on the jetty. McIntyres pub has also reopened do we visited there. The owners also have a golden retriever too!

Now we were in position ready for blacking in the dry dock at Shannon Harbour but mum sneaked in one more adventure. The new Meelick Weir Walkway had opened since we were last there so mum cycled to it & we must admit she did get some fabulous shots with Dermot.

So when the boat is in dry dock it’s very difficult for us to get on & off it so mum has booked a holiday cottage not far away at Dunmore in Galway & we have more visitors coming. So as we’re busy packing our bags making sure all our food, dishes & toys are in we’ll tell you all about the next time. Bon vacances tout le Monde!

PADDYS DAY BY COSMO (BHAG achieved!)

Mum arrived back in Ireland & we were all reunited although we nearly had a big mishap. The water levels had changed so mum was moored right at the extent of her planks. When we got brought back from wooffys & snuggles I made it safe across the plank but when Daquiri & the kennels lady stepped on the plank started to slip down the bank so mum yelled to jump off. Luckily neither of them ended up in the water. Later that afternoon we oved to the visitors jetty as we were headed off soon anyway.

For the first 2 days there was no sign of mums stowaways. Apparently they were staying in Dublin as mum had to catch up on work. But after 2 days they turned up & joy oh joy it was Uncle Alan, We’ve not seen him for soooo long & also Carmen joined us. We were so happy to see them. Daquiri is in bliss having his head scratched on this photo!

The next day we were all up early as its a very important day in Ireland St Patricks Day & after it being cancelled for the last 2 years it was a big one as it fell on a Thursday & we’d been given an extra one off bank holiday on 18th so we had a 4 day weekend. Now it has a particular relevance to mum as she’s into this goal setting malarkey. Now as part of this she sets a massive goal each year which she calls her BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal – we must be the hairy bit or maybe we get BFAG get it??!!). Now her BHAG for 2020 was to move to Ireland except the actual BHAG was to be in Ireland by St Paddys day 2020 & attend the festivities. Whoever could have envisaged how that didn’t happen through no lack of action on mums part, Anyway finally we got there in 2022. Don’t even ask what 2022’s is??!!

So we went on walkies & then the three of them were off on the early train into Dublin for the big parade. Now a big parade wasn’t initially on mums radar as she wanted to take part in more local celebrations but due to where we were moored she decided Dublin would be worth a shot although she was expecting it to be rammed. Anyway train journey went fine it was pretty bus but all were in good humour. On the advise of friends the made their way to the starting point of the parade. Anyway it was great advice as they got a fabulous view.

Well after being dubious about the parade mum said it was absolutely outstanding; well organised, safe, friendly, colourful, fun, vibrant & all 3 of them were mesmerised & didn’t want it to end. There were group after group & the parade went slowly so you had plenty of time to watch. The parade started with the Irish flag & then very poignantly followed by members of the Ukrainian Community including the amazingly brave medical student Rachel Diyaolu who had had everyone praying for her as she managed to flee Ukraine.

Mum told us the biggest round of applause was for the 2 Super Duper pooper scooper guys who were part of the parade with their big poop sucking machines

US actor John C Reilly was the international guest of honour.

Olympic gold medallist Kellie Harrington and Paralympian Ellen Keane were this year’s parade grand marshals, as their traditional homecoming celebrations were not able to take place during pandemic restrictions last year.

Another highlight was 6 year old Adam King in his spaceship Shelby. Adam, who has disabilities caused by brittle bones, captured the heart of Ireland when he appeared on the special Christmas edition of Ireland’s longest-running TV show the Late Late Show where he spoke of his hope of working for Mission Control when he grows up. Adams Dream is so worth reading about

He became a mini celebrity.  An Post has joined forces with Adam to combine ‘Adam’s Virtual Hug’ with Ireland’s traditional Céad Míle Fáilte greeting to send messages of love and friendship around the world for St. Patrick’s Day & raining money for charity. You can read about the Virtual Hugs here: Virtual Hugs Postcards

There were also some doggies in the parade!

The parade lasted about 1.5hours & was completely mesmerising. Here’s a selection of photos from the parade. We hope you enjoy!

After the parade they made a dash for a pub for some lunch & mum had a celebratory drink for finally achieving her 2020 BHAG!

There was loads going on in Dublin in addition to the parade over the big 4 day celebrations so they then made their way to Collins Barracks where there were several stages with live music & activities & enjoyed watching bands & Alan & Carmen had a great time jigging to the ceilidh band.

Tea time they caught the train back to Sallins to come back & keep us company & avoid the Dublin Mayhem of Paddys Day nighttime celebrations.

So overall mum says she can’t recommend the ST Patricks Day Dublin Parade highly enough & if you’ve never been add it to your bucket list or even make it a BHAG or BFAG!!!

Winter Adventures Part 1 by Daquiri (to the Uk & back!!)

Well we’ve been keeping busy during winter. We’re still on the Grand Canal awaiting our blacking slot at the end of April before we start our cruising adventures. However, mum being mum there’s still been lots going on! We’ve been up & down the Grand, mum finally got to go back to the Uk & we finally had our first Paddys Day here & inbetween all that mum has been availing of Ireland’s public transport & off doing numerous adventures in Dublin. So we thought we’d have a quick recap & summary of what we’ve been up to during the winter aboard & share some of the photos.

So mum kind of fell in love with the 120 bus route as she could get into Dublin & back from both Edenderry & Allenwood. So the bus adventures began.

Dublin Adventure 1: The first one mum hired an ebike & cycled around Phoenix Park. She’d previously walked through to the Zoo but hadn’t explored it properly. Now mum was very keen to see the deer at Phoenix Park. there are 600 here & mum hoped she might spot one. Well she nearly fell off her bike as she spotted slightly more than one. Phoenix Park Deer

After her exercise mum had a quick drink & bite to eat in the pubs around Temple Bar before heading back to us.

Dublin Adventure 2: Mum had booked a tour with a rather unusual tour company which is run by people affected by homelessness & is not only a sightseeing tour but gives you an insight & understanding of life when you’re homeless. Secret Street Tours The Picture below is of amazing Street Art by a homeless man called Goose

Next stop was The Leprechaun Museum which mum had been itching for to reopen.

Dublin Adventure 3: The first part of the day was a Vintage Afternoon Tea trip on a vintage bus & Sarah joined mum for this. And then mum went on an ebike tour around Dublin. As she was the only one booked she got a personal tour.

After her 3 adventures we cruised to Sallins & parted company as we went off on retreat at Wooffys & Snuggles & mum went on a secret visit back to the UK

Mums visit back to the UK had been a long time coming thanks to Covid. She actually kept her visit secret from most friends & just a select few who were instrumental in arranging get togethers were in the know.

After a long 35 mins flight mum collected her tiny hire car & was off up to Garstang to stay with her Dad & catch up with family. Most knew she was coming but she did manage to surprise her cousin Nicola & hubby Andy whilst getting to meet the wonderful new addition Storm. After a couple of day/nights with Dad & brother Andrew it was a family meal of aunts & uncle & a whizz round some of the cousins. Much fun was had at Dads as Andrew had bought mum a mini drone which she of course had to play with round Dads lounge. She soon stopped though when she flew it into herself & got it knotted up in her cardi!

Tuesday dawned & it was off down to Birmingham area with a big surprise reunion on the way. Mum picked Toastie up in Manchester then it was off down to Ye Old Kings Head on the Macclesfield Canal to surprise a couple of our boaty pals including Heidi the Pirate! Mum even got a mention on Heidi’s world famous vlog which you can check out here: The Narrowboat Pirate So she met up with Jules & Pete who’d planned the meal, Heidi & Jan who didn’t know mum was coming & then there was Kay & Steve too who mum didn’t know were coming… are you following this??! So it was surprises all round.

Then after a big catch up it was back in the little bubble car down to the West Midlands & Pelsall for part two of the big secret Uk tour staying with Angela & Jim.

Mum had a nice night in & a blissful bath (about time if you ask us!!) The next day mum was up early firstly to catch up with Dom & Jane as they were sorting some work stuff out.

Then it was across to Urban Moorings to catch up with lots more boat friends & see all the progress that has been made there.

Then a catch up with Richard ex Spice coordinator from Birmingham in the afternoon & Maggie & Pete in the evening also from old Spice Birmingham days.

On mums final day in West Mids she next caught up with Kim & Toastie again for lunch & with Kathleen plus Angela & Jim in the evening. Have you noticed its all eating & we can’t believe we missed out!!

AH now there was a bit of fun that didn’t involve eating mum finally got a bit of a play with the drone this time outside at Angela & Jims!

Then all too soon it was onwards towards Sheffield for part 3 of the big secret UK tour. A stop was made on the way at auntie Dawn’s house where we’ve moored lots of times & had great fun running round her garden. And then it was up to Rotherham for a chance for mum to meet Doodle who has moved in since mum last saw Auntie Gill.

Then late at night mum arrived at Uncle Alan’s the last new bed on her tour.

Saturday was big surprise day as mum met up with many of her Sheffield Spice friends surprising most of them including a very ecstatic Caitlin who mum hid round the corner from!

And all too soon we were on the very last day of the tour. Lunch was with more Spice Sheffield friends & in the evening mum got Uncle Anthony with a big surprise as she sneaked up behind him outside a restaurant in Sheffield.

And in the blink of an eye mum was boarding the plane back home to us. But she had 2 stowaways along with her – we’ll tell you all about them next time & what they got up to on mums very first St Patricks Day over in Ireland finally!

A Corking Time in Cork by Cosmo

Finally Calendar Club was over & mum didn’t have to go out to work every day anymore & we don’t have to go for silly walkies in the dark in a morning. I mean we’re getting on a bit now we need our rest!

So pennies earned we decided we’d treat ourselves to another little Irish break. Its often not easy finding a doggie friendly cottage that will take 2 dogs most only specify one. Some even say small dog only & we don’t think we quite fit into that category. Now I suggested leaving Daquiri at home but mum wasn’t having any of it. Mum had set her heart on Cork & she finally found a cottage though it was rather a long way way away. We stayed just south of Skibbereen in Cork & once mum later started researching she was delighted to find out it was actually a top location to stay as there was lots to visit nearby.

The day dawned & we had to get in that stupid van. Mum broke up the journey partway by ticking something off her bucket list & we got to stop for cockaleggies. We stopped for a quick visit to Blarney Castle as mum wanted to kiss the Blarney Stone.

As the rumour goes, the Blarney Stone bestows the gift of gab on whoever kisses it. For all that it seems like the stuff of fairytales, the stone is comfortably lodged at Blarney Castle, a medieval fortress near Cork, Ireland, and it’s considered a world landmark that thousands of travelers have flocked to every year since the 1800s. The Discovery Channel even lists it as one of the things you should do before you die. Oh God as if she doesn’t talk enough!!

Anyway from the photos the Blarney Castle looks nice as we weren’t allowed in. Built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftans, Cormac MacCarthy, and has been attracting attention ever since. Over the last few hundred years, millions have flocked to Blarney making it a world landmark and one of Ireland’s greatest treasures.

But the more fun was the kissing the stone. Mum came back puffing from climbing all the steps saying she’s going to have to get fit again (again??!! thats what we said when she said that!) but oh my giddy aunt the photos were hilarious. Wish we’d been there to see it mind you she might have hung us upside down too.

Kissing it is not an easy feat. You have to endure a steep climb that involves 127 steps from spiral staircases. Once you get there, a bit of flexibility is required. Visitors lie on their back, hold on tight to an iron railing to avoid falling, and lean backwards a lot, all while handling the dizzying sight of the ground from 100 feet up. A practiced attendant was there to guide through the process. One century back, travellers weren’t as lucky. The old-fashioned way was to hold people’s ankles and then hang them upside-down so they could kiss the stone, but this practice came to an end when a traveller slipped free from his friend’s grasp and hurtled down to his death. Luckily that didn’t happen to mum or we could have been trapped in that van forever.

After all mums acrobatics we were on our way & arrived at our cottage. It was very remote just as we like it & had a nice doggie there. Mum soon settled in & was up in the bath with a glass of Prosecco while we snoozed in front of a roaring log fire.

Now the next day we were up & off early as we woke mum up so we all got to see the sunrise.

As its out of season a lot of places are closed but a few are only open at weekends so mum had prebooked tickets for today so no resting. We set off to Clonakilty stopping at Warren Beach on the way.

Now Clonakilty is famous for sausages something mum & we are very partial to.

The sausage story begins in the 1800’s in Philip Harrington’s butcher shop in sovereign street Clonakilty. Johanna O’Brien, a farmer’s wife, from Sam’s cross wanted to subsidise the household income making black pudding for Harrington’s butcher shop. When Johanna retired Philip Harrington continued to make the popular black pudding. The recipe which included a secret spice mix was faithfully handed down to Philip’s family and for over a century, the black pudding was made by Dan Harrington, Con O’Callaghan, Paddy Allman. Not only was it sold from the butcher shop it was sent in parcels to Clonakilty people both at home and abroad. In 1969, the butcher shop was sold as a going concern to Patrick McSweeny. In 1976 the butcher shop which included the black pudding recipe was bought by his nephew Edward Twomey.

But surprisingly it wasn’t the sausages mum had come to Clonakilty for it was West Cork Model Railway Village Ireland’s only Model Village in Clonakilty is a fully scaled handmade model of the historic West Cork Railway Line with fully working miniature trains and the towns that the railway served during the 1940s. Handcrafted model buildings and figurines tell the story of how people lived and worked in days gone by.

Then we whizzed down to another beach for walkies Incheydoney Beach before our drive home. Mum was trying to take selfies with us but we weren’t so keen! That’s me on the left the handsome one & Daquiri on the right.

Next day we stayed closer to home with a visit to Baltimore. In the summer this is a busy village with lots of ferries coming & going especially with whale & dolphin watching trips. In winter its a bit like a ghost town so we headed up to Baltimore Beacon instead. The Baltimore Beacon, a whitewashed tower guarding the entrance of the harbour, is Baltimore’s major landmark. The locals call him Lot’s Wife with a wink after a biblical figure that solidified into a pillar of salt.

Now as on our Ring of Kerry holiday way back last Xmas we’re often driving along the Wild Atlantic Way which is a superb if sometimes hairy route around the west coast of Ireland. Its extremely well done with lots of well signed stopping places with information boards all signified by the familiar ZigZag name pole like below. There really are some breathtaking views as you drive. During the week we drove most of the West Cork section.

Travelling the Wild Atlantic Way from Durrus to Kinsale

The Mizen Peninsula located in the south west of Ireland is a special trip and tip. It encapsulates all the special elements that makes the Irish west coast so unique – wonderful beaches, dramatic cliffs, magical fishing villages and a light tower majestically standing watch over a raging Atlantic. Fastnet Rock, which was known as „The Teardrop of Ireland“ as it was the last image of Ireland the emigrants had when sailing for the New World, houses Ireland’s highest lighthouse at 54 metres.

The Wild Atlantic Way continues along in an easterly direction towards Baltimore where the ferries depart to the islands of Roaring Water Bay (also available from Schull, Mizen Head Peninsula). Baltimore Beacon, a signal tower offers the perfect view over the islands in the bay. On the one hand this area benefits from a mild climate due to the presence of the Gulf Stream enjoying a lush vegetation, but on the other hand it is exposed to the elements of nature.

The Old Head of Kinsale – a narrow tongue of land, is flanked by preciptious rocks and with a lighthouse at its most southerly tip. An idyllic dramatic promontory mostly enjoyed by golfers as this land is owned by the well-known local golf course.”

Day 3 we had a chill out day at the cottage with mum watching her Xmas DVDs & us well errr … Snoozing of course!

The next day we ventured the other way along the WAW stopping first at Browhead. Brow Head is the southernmost point of the Irish mainland. Guglielmo Marconi came to the Mizen peninsula to try to get his first radio message across the Atlantic. He had arrived in England in 1896 and filed the world’s first patent application for a system of telegraphy using Hertzian waves. The British patent was granted on June 2nd. In 1897 he established contact across the Bristol Channel and the Solent (from the Isle of Wight to Bournemouth) He formed The Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company. In 1904, Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd. entered into a contract with the Commissioners of Irish Lights to put telegraphic equipment and aerials on the Fastnet Rock. The telegraphic station was moved up to Brow Head where the signal tower equipment had been used for so long to contact passing ships. Messages were sent to the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse by signalling methods and then relayed to the Brow Head station by wireless telegraphy for relaying on to the recipients. In 1904 a ship broke a shaft eighty miles out from Crookhaven. She was fitted with Marconi equipment and soon hundreds of messages were streaming back and forth to her as the passengers contacted their families and friends. Assistance was sent immediately and she was back on course without mishap. Marconi’s invention had taken much of the fear out of the sea.

After a walkies stop & another beach we like beaches it was onto Crookhaven then to Mizen Head. Unfortunately being out of season the visitor centre was closed so mum couldn’t walk across the bridge like she wanted to.

Our final stop of the day was at Bantry Bay as in the famous song as mum wanted shopping we’d run out of sausages!! Only joking!

Now although we had the cottage till Saturday there were a couple of places near Cork city mum wanted to see plus see a bit of Cork itself. They were all about 1.5hours drive in a homeward direction so after a bit of research mum decided we’d leave the cottage a day early & stay in a doggie friendly hotel in Cork centre.

We firstly visited the colourful town of Kinsale which is the beginning or is it the end of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Then it was off to our lovely hotel. It worked out perfect as it had its own garden behind the hotel & our room was right next to the door out to the garden. Couldn’t have been better. Mum went out for a meal at night & a cocktail!! She said she was celebrating the news of Irelands restrictions being lifted which was announced tonight. So she got to see a little bit of Cork city by night.

Then we had one final stop as we started our journey home I think we saved the best till last the beautiful town of Cobh. Cobh is a town in Ireland, on an island in Cork city’s harbour. It’s known as the Titanic’s last port of call in 1912. Titanic Experience Cobh is a themed attraction in the former White Star Line ticket office. Also Cobh: the town’s Deck of Cards is a series of 23 candy-coloured houses with the church towering above. These houses were built in 1850 and are called the Deck of Cards because, as the locals joke, if the house at the bottom fell down, all the others would pile on it, just like a deck of cards. The row of house features on many Irish travel sites. You can also do trips to the famous Spike Island in season too.

Mum also managed to capture her favourite photo of the trip here which is below as it looks like the left hand side of the photo is in colour & the right hand side in black & white. Quite incredible!

So we arrived back to the boat & the van was returned so we’re back to normal Golden Boyz life now. Most restrictions have now been lifted yippee so we’re hoping mum finally 3rd time lucky gets a proper St Patricks day in Ireland. We’re hanging around the Grand Canal till spring then the boat is booked into dry dock at Shannon Harbour for blacking before we head northwards up the River Shannon this year. We hope you’ll join us in our blogs when we restart our adventures.