Little did we know it when we arrived at Killaloe that we’d be spending quite a while there due to the weather! So the first day mum went off exploring the twin towns of Ballina & Killaloe on either sides of the river. She also decided to enjoy a trip boat cruise aboard the Spirit of Killaoe so she could hear the commentary & enjoy the lough without panicking about where the next marker was.
She got to cruise right past Golden Boyz too so she gave us a wave! Mum had planned next to go to LImerick on the bus but unfortunately that evening it was announced we couldn’t use public transport anymore except for essential travel so that was that plan scuppered.
Mum is finding all the different lockdown measures quite hard when you don’t have transport so she popped into the bike shop at Killaloe to see if they had a folding electric bike not really expecting them to. And surprise surprise they said they could order one. It was ordered on Tuesday & arrived by Thursday. So without further ado mum was kitted out with a bike, helmet, lock, pump & lights & she was off like Evil Knievel on the roads of Killaoe as Falcon became the new addition to the Golden boyz crew!
Mum says its really easy to ride but is heavy lifting it on & off the boat but it will open new adventures for mum sightseeing plus she’ll be able to cycle to the shops, Her first jaunt was to the popular swimming area Two Mile Gate.
Then on the weekend she went on a round trip of about 25km down one side of lough Derg to O’Briensbridge then over the other side past Parteen Weir with a quick stop for a picnic & then returned back via the Riverside park at Ballina.
Now one of the big things mum had hoped to do whilst we were down the south end of the lough was the huge 100ft Ardnacrushna lock. But sadly after chatting to Pat who runs the boat underneath it & considering the truly awful weather that was due it was decided sadly we couldn’t do it. We’re quite pleased but mum isn’t lol. Just have a look at the photos on this link!!!!
Anyway to the weather. During our time at Killaoe we have 2 horrendous storms first Ellen then Francis. Anyone would think it was November not August. Elen hit during the night & brought Force 10 winds with her.
We were absolutely terrified even though we were in a relatively sheltered spot. The waves were slapping the side of the boat & it sounded like they were going to come in through the cupboards. I got up on the bed with mum & mum tried to make Cosmo a cushion nest on the floor as he was panting & pacing. I don’t think any of us got much sleep that night. We were very relieved in the morning to see we were still moored in the same spot with no damage. Then a couple of days later Storm Francis hit which although was also forecast to be force 10 didn’t feel so bad as the wind direction was different.
There was also a few days of just rain rain & more rain so ow all the rivers are starting to flood just as Offaly lockdown is lifted, On one of the drier days we managed a walk to Brain Boru’s fort.
Brian Boru’s fort is a large ring fort between the River Shannon and the Killaloe to Tuamgraney road. It has long been identified as the ancient seat of Brian Boru, the most famous High King of Ireland.Brian Boru’s fort is located in a very serene and spectacular setting, overlooking Lough Derg on the River Shannon, just one mile north of the picturesque village of Killaloe. Beal Boru, as it is more commonly known, stands on a spur of land which commands the point where the lake narrows into the River Shannon. Brian Boru (Bórumha, bóraimhe, meaning a cattle tribute) was either born or reared at this mystical location, according to folklorist Daithi O hOgain, and the placename, Béal Bóramha, means the ‘port of the cattle tribute’. Boru was high-king of Ireland from 1002 until his death in 1014AD.
On one of our last nights in Killaoe we were abandoned as mum was invited out for dinner at Brian & Daniella’s house who we met at Rossmore. It was nice for mum to get out with company though & she didn’t come back drunk so that was a relief!
Finally we got a small pocket of less windy weather so we set off cruising again after being at Killaoe for just under 2 weeks. Now we had intended to go to Scarriff next but we had word that the river was flowing fast so we opted to go further back up the lough to Garrykennedy that we’d missed on the way down.
All was good & calm as we set off but then the rain started & the lough started getting choppier. Mum had to abandon the map as it was getting too wet so she was using her Navionics app to track where we were on the lough as visibility was hard too in the rain. She wasn’t so keen on going past Parkers Point as the waves picked up but after a couple of hours cruise we had Garrykennedy in sight.
We had 2 options of mooring there in the main public moorings or the old harbour. On the public moorings we’d be right on the front albeit behind a breakwater & its forecast windy again so we opted for the old harbour. We were praying there as room at the steps & luckily there was only one boat there so we just tucked in nicely. The other boat moved after about an hour (must have heard about 2 furry hooligans arriving!) so mum decided she’d try & turn in the harbour whilst noone was there as it only just looked wide enough plus we could then tuck further in the harbour. Of course typical just as we’d untied 2 boats arrived but they waited for us to turn so all was Ok.
Again here the walls are very high but there are steps for us but we’re a tiny bit too long for the steps facing this way so mum puts the planks out diagonally & we just manage it. Well I do Cosmo makes a right fuss as ever.
Mum is happy though as we’re moored next to the remains of Garrykennedy castle & its even lit up at night!
Garrykennedy Castle was built in the late 15th century on the banks of Lough Derg by the O’Kennedy and the O’Brien Clans. The Tower House was badly damaged by Cromwellian troops in the mid 17th century. Some stones from the rubble of the castle may have been used in the building of a new harbour in 1857. This is a gorgeous harbour with a modern marina to the east. There may not be much left of the castle but it is still a beautiful place to stop and relax, maybe even take a picnic.
We’re also right next to Larkins pub so mum has a table booked there. She’s also pleased that internet signal isn’t so bad here as we were expecting it to be bad like in Dromineer so hadn’t planned to stay here too long. I think a day out on Falcon is planned & walkies round the Forest trail for us then we’ll move onwards,
Now the lockdown in Offaly has been lifted we could have moved off the lough – note we say could have! With all the rain the River Shannon is now flooding where we had intended to go next so we need to wait for that to subside a bit but then even if it did the road bridge at Portumna (the timed bridge we had to come under to enter the lough) has now broken & they’re thinking a couple of weeks to fix it. We think the Lough Derg fairies don’t want us to leave!!