Monday 26/04/10 Terryglass - Meelick - Banagher
Length of boat trip: 5 hours
Motto of the day: Noddling in the Shannon Callows and the Banagher hooligans
A dry, sunny and warm day starts. We are going slowly upstream to Meelick, where we have a break.
The swallows are hunting in and around Victoria Lock. In the afternoon we have a short walk to derelict Hamilton Lock. This lock was constructed as part of the Shannon Navigation Scheme around 1755 in the 3.2 km Clonahenogue Canal which bypassed the extensive rapids at Meelick and Keelogue. In the early 1800s the lock was rebuild as a smaller one and in 1844 the Victoria Lock was opened after dredging the Keelogue shallows.
We drive further upstream to Banagher. The water level has dropped and the current is considerably less.
At Banagher we moor overnight. A mechanic of Silverline repairs some minor problems on the boat.
In the evening Willi helps a boat of ESL to moor inside at the Silverline jetty. On board is a young Irish couple with a very young baby. They were moored at the public quay above the bridge and felt disturbed by noisy drinking locals next to their boat because of their baby. They asked the locals to go away but they ignored their request.
The evening ends sunny and peaceful.
Tuesday 27/04/10 Banagher - Shannonbridge - Ballinasloe, Moycarn Marina
Length of boat trip: around 4 hours
Motto of the day: Through bogland and lost history
The morning has only few sunny spells. The wind increases during our drive to Shannonbridge but it's initially dry. At the railway bridge a bog train passes. Then we reach the old bridge of Shannonbridge, built in 1759, and moor at the floating jetty.
In the afternoon we drive a bit downstream and turn into the River Suck. The River Suck navigation is 16 km long with one lock. Coming from the Shannon the river at first slowly winds through meadows and bogland. Groups of curlews and some light rain showers accompany us while going upstream. The river is now more winding and the shores rocky. The navigation has now several markers and some parts are so narrow that passing of boats is impossible. But we meet only one boat on the whole stretch. Two bridges cross this navigation. The first one is the Bord Na Mona Railway Bridge and the second one is the new M6 Bridge just before Pollboy Lock. With the building of the M6 the old part of the Grand Canal, the 23 km stretch from Shannon Harbour to Ballinasloe with two locks, which was built in 1828, has gone. Parts of the canal are now filled. It's a pity that this heritage has been lost for ever. Also the old derelict flour mill was demolished when the Pollboy Lock was build.
We moor in the Moycarn Marina and have a nice chat with Joe about the flooding last November. He was lucky the water has stopped before his door.
Wednesday 28/04/10 Ballinasloe, Moycarn Marina - Ballinasloe - Banagher - Meelick
Length of boat trip: 5 hours
Motto of the day: A bad stink, a lively market town and an evening in nature
The sky is cloudy in the morning but it's dry. We drive the short way to Ballinasloe Harbour. We pass just hundred metres beyond Moycarn a plant on the port side and meet a bestial stink. I was grown up in a large industrial region in Germany and Willi in another but we never have smelled such a bad stink. This is the plant of 'Premier Proteinst'. They produce tallow, meat and bone meal (MBM) and filters and the electrical power to use them seems to be too expensive in Ireland. Ballinasloe was and is a lively market town with history.
After some shopping we leave, again through the unbelievable stink. Then the air becomes clear and we enjoy the River Suck navigation. Back on the Shannon we go again downstream and have a nice ride with 'white horses' on the river. At Banagher we meet surprisingly Paul on 'Arthur'. Paul is so nice and gives us the latest weather forecast on the internet. We go further on and moor above the Victoria Lock for the night. A Carrickcraft boat has now a fender less.
A few showers and the sun send us rainbows and luminous colours.