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