Now we’re afloat in Ireland it was time to find our way around our new life. To us Ireland has a more European feel than an English feel. Of course mum is having to pay for our biscuits in euros, some of the signs are in Irish, we’re currently on data roaming & everyone talks with the wonderful Irish lilt.
Within an hour of being on the water several boaters had been by to say hello. We were struck immediately by their friendliness & helpfulness even despite us barking at them. Martin from Waterways Ireland also popped by & said he’d return soon with lock Keys for us.
We’re currently not in an ideal mooring spot as we’re on the pumpout but given it’s broken anyway we’re not inconveniencing anyone. With the imminent arrival of Storm Jorge we just tightened the ropes & added spring lines & mum deemed we wouldn’t move till after the storm had passed. We were all quite scared as we’d not seen forecasts like this in England but as it came & went it actually wasn’t too bad though we were quite sheltered down a steep bank.
Mum & Auntie Joy did quite a lot of exploring & shopping whilst we had a car available. Of course they had to test the Irish pubs out!
The cost of living is much higher over here but some boating costs are cheaper. Mum bought a waterways smart card from the nearby garage which is used up on the Shannon for the electric locks as well as for things like toilet emptying (charges for both chemical & pumpout here), showers & soon to be introduced payable rubbish disposal.
So this card cost 12 euros 70 & is a 20 unit card. pumpout is 2 units so considerably cheaper than U.K. (when it’s working) which is about £20. But in the U.K. we don’t pay for Elsan or rubbish disposal. Mum has pumpout So gains here & also has a compost/waterless toilet too onboard so shouldn’t ever be stuck or she’ll Have to use doggie bags like us! But these new bins are nearby at Sallins where you pay per bag but they’re not currently wired up & operational. In Ireland householders pay a company to collect their rubbish so it kind of follows that boaters can’t dispose of it for free. Incredibly the country so far that we’ve seen has been relatively litter free which is not good for us as we like scavenging. Here’s the new bins coming in…
The waterpoints are free but everyone moors on them so a bit tricky to access. We managed to reverse back & breast up & get water in the hail & wind as we’d not wanted to be very full of water & increase the weight coming over.
The rules & etiquette over here are much more relaxed. You’re kind of supposed to move every 5 days here but so far we’ve only seen a trip boat moving & everyone else not moved for weeks even months. We learnt that the season doesn’t start till St Patrick’s Day so no one really moves till then apart from one mad Englishwoman with 2 golden retrievers! Also when I asked about the 8 to 8 engine rule that wasn’t known about either.
So whilst we had the car as Auntie Joy Is with us till Tuesday mum did lots of exploring. Firstly they went & sussed out the next 2 locations along the Grand Canal Robertstown & Lowtown. There was space at Robertstown but Lowtown was choccabloc. So mum decided once the weather has passed that’s where we’d head as it had some little shops too.
Mum also had a look at an Irish Lock to see how difficult they are to singlehand. It was deemed this particular one would be impossible for mum to do. However, each section has lock keepers so when we’re there we’ll need to ring for help. But we’ll cover locks in more detail in the next blog.
After that we also checked out Edenderry where there’s going to be an Easter rally which we’re hoping to attend. We really liked it there plenty of space moorings & shops.
The above map shows the section of waterways we’re on. We’re on the Grand Canal at Sallins. The Naas branch & its 5 locks are currently closed for winter maintenance so we’ll come back & do that another time. Robertstown is west on the Grand then Lowtown is by L19 at the junction of The Grand & The Barrow Line. The Barrow is Canal at the top then bevones the Barrow river further south at Athy. Edenderry is down its own little branch further along The Grand Canal.
Mum is still undecided which way we are going & is waiting to get dates of the rallies so we can join in those but we are aiming to be back around this area to join the big Dublin Rally which crosses the River Liffey in May.
We also went down & explored Athy on another rainy day. The River Barrow is currently very much in flood resembling more of a lake than a river!
Naas is a fairly large town & has a much needed Three shop or Tree shop as the Irish say. We’re on an unlimited contract in the U.K. both on a wireless router for days & another for the phone. Mum likes to have two as she needs Internet for work & next venue how many phones have been dropped in the Cut it’s good to have a backup. Now we’re over here in Ireland the router & SIM card don’t be work at all & the phone is capped at 20Gb on data roaming. This has devastated mum as she daren’t play her Pokémon in case it uses all her data up. She is now however very happy as in the Three shop she managed to get an unlimited data, texts & calls SIM for 20 euros a month. We are going to have to switch to an Irish mobile no of course though. So mum also bought a cheap secondhand phone which she’s going to use her U.K. SIM in & switch the to PAYG so she can keep that no & use it if she comes back to the UK at any point. She’s now happily back playing Pokemon which keeps us happy as we get longer walkies while she’s hatching Pokemon eggs.
But the best day was Sunday. Mum & Auntie Joy deemed enough sorting out boat stuff & they Day was fun day & a huge reward for us being so good. So we were taken off to Sandymount Beach near Dublin where there was miles of sand for us t free run & run we did. We had such a brilliantly fun time running, paddling & digging. Happy days.
Check out our next blog to find out how we got on on our first cruise on Irish waterways doing the locks to Robertstown.