Tuesday 05/05/09 Castle Archdale - Aghinver
Length of boat trip: 1.6 hours
Motto of the day: The last day
The storm has blustered in the night but decreases in the early morning. Before 6 a.m. Karin and Uwe on a hired 35-feet-boat start. I think they got the right time window to go down to Killadeas. We enjoy a last drive in the shelter of the islands and moor in the inner harbour of Aghinver. In the afternoon it's again stormy and non-stop raining. But we have to stow a lot of things and have nice memories which we take home and so we don't mind the bad weather and the storms of the last days.
Some thoughts at the end
The weather was mixed although we had 15 sunny days of 27, three of them bright blue and on 13 days we had no rain during the day. On the other side we had also 12 days with no sun or only a little and 6 of them with heavy and persistent rain. The rainfall was double normal in April but most of it concentrated on those 6 days. All in all we got lesser sun than average but it was mild and the temperatures above average.
And it was a windy trip with 14 days with F4 and more. So recapitulating the whole trip I'm, in retrospect, suprised that we have done a trip of 867 km crossing four times the largest lakes of the Shannon without any stress. One important point that helped us was the supply of a weather outlook from the internet by Conor, Kevin and Norbert. Thanks again! Met Eireann on the radio is mostly not precise in wind prediction and in the forecast for the following days.
Many thanks to all people which extend a warm welcome to us, especially to Tommy & Eileen, Conor & family, Ronny & friends, Kevin & Martina, Gerry, Pat, Noel, Norbert, Tom & Mikel, Mark, Gerry, Austin & Bernie and John and to the team of Aghinver.
On every trip our view changes and this time we have explored Lough Derg and the southern Shannon to Limerick. Our special thanks goes to Kevin, who has organized two trips to Ardnacusha and Limerick, and to Pat, who knows the lower Shannon like the back of his hand. All this was not planned long hand before. It all arises from a wish. We had never been on Lough Derg before. Some days before we started I have seen at home in the internet on satelitte photos that we will get unsettled weather. A lot of low pressure systems were waiting on the Atlantic south, west and north of Ireland, so I thought it would be not a realistic ambition to reach Lough Derg. But we have done it and more. It was a highlight to visit Ardnacrusha inside, and outside by boat, and the navigation to Limerick and more! And Lough Derg was also a highlight and to meet Noel on his wide river. The best weather of the four weeks was reserved for these days!
We were welcomied by everybody from the wide range of users and friends of the lovely Irish inland waterways. What we prefer is the absence of envy, intolerance, arrogance and snootiness. We are sad to say that we sometimes meet people with that kind of inconvenient behaviour. But on this trip we met thankfully only two of them, Udo and the boater with the plastic planes on his boat at Garrykennedy.
This time we have met a lot of nice people and came more in contact with unknown boaters than on the trips before. Over the times our view on boats and their crews have changed and we like the broad range of different vessels on the inland waterways. On this trip we have seen many types of boats.
I conclude with the great 'Ballad of the Erne' by Shirley Johnston published in 'The Fermanagh Miscellany 2' edited by Sťamas Mac Annaidh, Enniskillen 2008:
There are some lovely waterways
Around our famous island town.
It is the pride of Ireland
Its shores are renowned.
The people come from near and far
To visit it for days
Since we all love to boat and sail
on the Erne waterways.
It hugs its lovely islands all
Studded with woodland trees
Its blue spray washes and sways
In the fresh Fermanagh breeze.
Lough Erne how we love you
With your waters so deep
From the shores of Belturbet
To the falls of Belleek.
It rises miles and miles away
At a place called Gowna Shore
And meanders past the Ghad
A medivial tower with much folklore.
It gently flows past Crom
A majestic castle standing stall.
Over there is the quaint little church
That sure can calm us all.
Then it flows downstream past Derra
With its natural sandy shore
And divides off in two ways
Whilst passing Innismore.
It laps round its islands all
Studded on her ground,
Narrow past the 'Moorings'
Before circling the town.
Around Enniskillen Castle
which is steeped with history
It flows through the bridges
which stand so stately.
Then it flows past 'Old Portora'
A college of great renown
Where Oscar Wild frequented
As a scholar in his time
On and to Devenish tower and church
Founded by St. Molaise
And where the prophet Jeremiah
Ended his last days.
When it reaches the Broad Lough
It shows its strength galore.
We have to bow and respect it,
When winds begin to roar.
It heaves and sways under an angry sky
while the white horse waves go dancing high.
On a sunny day it takes a different mood
And invites us back again
With trips to do and barbecues
And to Lusty Beg should best we sail.
Kesh River its winding banks a dream,
Teeming with perch, roach and bream.
White Island with its sculptured stones,
Is where the ancient pagans roamed
To Innis Dever massed with blue bells still
With the birds and bees you'll find your thrill.
The lone kingfisher is on the wing
Whilst other little birdies sing.
At Killaeas and Castle Hume
There is golf to play
A pleasant place to spend the day.
With the Erne's Irish misty mornings
Filtering the golden hue,
And romantic evening sunsets
With beams of amber, gold and blue.
Some days the rains comes down like fountains
From the distant Bluestack mountains
Then the boats pull into jetties.
On the Rally the craic is mighty
For the friendly folk know how to entertain,
despite the rain
For the boaters around Enniskillen
Are not afraid to spend the shillin'
And party on from dusk till dawn.
In recent days they joined our lake
to another lovely one,
The bond together was at a lock
And now they've taken each other's names,
And as well you know,
It is the Erne-Shannon link for everyone to go
On down the Shannon the Canal we go
Through many loughs does the Shannon flow
Many lovely ports of call
Rinn and Lough Ree are the best of all.
Down and down through many a town.
For Athlone it is bound.
Not to be missed is Killaloe with
Its mountains and water oh so blue.
At Ardnacrusha locks, oh what a shock,
An awesome sight to see -
A 100 feet foot fall of water is to be found,
And then for Limerick it is bound
Where the Shannon has a mighty flow
And to the Atlantic it does go.
Erne-Shannon how we love you
with your waters so deep,
From the shores of Limerick
to the falls of Belleek.