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