St Patrick’s Weekend CIC Edenderry 2014
The season began on St Patrick’s weekend, with a Cruise in Company to the wonderful Harbour in Edenderry Co Offaly. Kildare IWAI members and their boats have always been made feel very welcome here and this occasion was no exception. We were joined by our Offaly IWAI neighbours who attended on a dry rally for our harbour side barbeque and later revelry in Pat Larkin’s establishment. Many members remained in Edenderry to view the high quality St Patrick’s Day parade and they ensured that their boats were suitably dressed for this occasion.
This gathering marked the beginning of the rolling rally for the Dublin IWAI Rally of the Decades. It also was a clear reminder that boats provide a valuable contribution to the communities that they visit, but that this contribution will only be continued with fair and reasonable regulation through sensible bye-laws from Waterways Ireland. Nobody wants this to be ‘The Farewell Rally’ do they?
Easter in Hazelhatch 2014
The rolling rally continued east into Kildare and over Easter we travelled in a large fleet and after a long absence, to the waterside community of Hazelhatch near Celbridge. It had been 9 years since the last official Kildare IWAI event in Hazelhatch so this was a welcome return to renew old acquaintances and make new friends.
After registration on Saturday morning, a small boat rally of Dublin, Kildare and Offaly craft left the 12th lock Lucan and cruised to the 13th lock at the Lyons Estate; soup and sandwiches rewarded those who took part. A beautiful day lead us to a magical night of fire displays, from a local pyrotechnic expert Hannas, who dazzled us with a display of Dancing flames reaching 50 feet into the air. Thankfully Jim’s BBQ wasn’t that exciting but enjoyable all the same. We retired to McEvoys public house to end the night with Craic agus Ceol.
The Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday morning, for those who did not partake in the previous night’s exploits was great fun, and the children had a tough enough time finding all the eggs thanks to Reg, who felt putting the Eggs twelve feet up a tree was a reasonable undertaking for a 6 year old! The kids won out in the end and got their rewards.
Hazelhatch has one of the largest live aboard communities on the Grand Canal so the topic of Canal Bye-laws was rarely off the tongue. Thirty-five members and non-members attended an update meeting on Easter Sunday morning, showing that there is a strong dedication to the IWAI position among the community and boaters.
The afternoon’s bring a dish buffet was fantastic, a variety of Salads, Pies, Pasta’s, Bread’s and Meats, with cuisine from exotic places like Italy, Germany and Offaly. The deserts all went quickly, an indication of how gorgeous they all looked, or maybe because Beattie was about. Anyway, it was great dining Al a Carte in the sunshine.
Early evening brought a close to the formal proceedings with the prize giving and speeches. Awards for Furthest travelled went to Float No 1, best dressed boat went to Loorha. Accident-prone went to Alistair on Hazy Days, enough said about that! For cutting down on his emissions, a prize went to Niall on Sonas, (he lost half his pipe overboard). Prizes went to all the IWAI kids in attendance for their ability to put up with us! Chairperson Jim Connolly thanked all for their attendance and support remarking how great it was to see so many boats from the three branches. Finishing Jim stressed how important it is for all waterways users and communities to fight these Bye-laws and not lose our Canals.
Dublin through the decades Rally 2014 – May 10 to 24
Kildare IWAI members and others continued the rolling rally, travelling further east along the Royal and the Grand, over two weekends. The trips were enjoyed by many and we had a great welcome from other IWAI members, our Dublin IWAI hosts and Waterways Ireland staff at each lock. The two fleets joined up with other boats in Grand Canal Docks who had made their way to the jetties in previous weeks.
The welcome and the events laid on by Dublin IWAI over the time we were ‘in town’ were excellent. Many thanks to everyone and a sincere hope that this was not the last Dublin Rally of its kind. One of the highlights was the parade of light on Saturday evening up the River Liffey. The photos show Kildare members and friends travelling along the canals and the River Liffey.
These excellent images are courtesy of Jimmy Cahill. More photos at Dublin Rally 2014
Shannon Harbour Rally 2014 & Midsummer Royal Festival – Jun 21 and 22
Many of the boats travelled west. On the Grand, there was a great welcome to all participants at the Shannon Harbour Rally. The harbour was packed with boats including a fleet of old barges that had not been on the navigation for years. Most of these are now owned by a new generation of owners.
The Midsummer Festival on the Royal began on June 22nd. Many of the boats moved slower than they had anticipated west to the Shannon.
Kildare IWAI Cruise in Company – North Shannon 2014
Drumsna 12 July
What beautiful weather to start the inaugural Kildare Cruise in Company. With excitement, we headed down the Jamestown Canal to Join the Kildare CIC in the quaint village of Drumsna. Our timing was poor, arriving at Albert Lock just in time to see the Lock Keeper walk off to his lunch. A phone call the previous evening had informed us there were at least three other Kildare members assembled at Drumsna. With the water tanks topped up while awaiting the return of the Lock Keeper and a spot of lunch, we continued down the Canal on his return.
Drumsna is 6 km from Carrick on Shannon and was a very important trading town. The building of the Jamestown Canal transferred this status to Carrick on Shannon and it grew to be the County Town of Leitrim. The bypassing of Drumsna in 1996 helped create the lovely under-developed village we know today. Great fishing, lovely people and a couple of fine drinking establishments, make Drumsna a must place to visit.
On arrival, we could clearly see the distinctive shape of Hawthorn and Giles in the wheelhouse. Since they have settled on the Shannon, we have not seen Giles and Jill as much as we would like, but that was to change on this CIC. Frank’s familiar Red Pedro was close by and shortly after mooring, Betty and family arrived on Carpe Diem, with Reg and Caroline as crew.
The usual formalities ensued, i.e. slagging and name-calling and then it was down to the serious stuff, which pub to continue the slagging and name-calling. A very entertaining night followed in Taylors and we all retired early.
Lough Key to Boyle 19-20 July
The Royal Canal Troupe were at a standstill due to weed and with over two dozen text messages sent and not much hope of them joining us, we altered the planned route. Another good morning saw us set out northward for Lough Key.
This 3-hour trip is beautiful and takes in Carrick on Shannon, Cootehall, Knockvicar and finally the stunning Lough Key. We left the Shannon and were on the Boyle River, when the wind really picked up, making mooring a bit tricky, but all landed safe. A spot of exploring found Eric and Zorgen moored at Drummans Island. His dad Mick, a Kildare Branch member, was to arrive later. Giles and Jill arrived soon after a night “on the hook at a secret location” on the lake.
Lough Key has been transformed recently into an exciting place with Zip Wires, the Lough Key experience, Borda Borg and Segways. They are like electric scooter thingies. It was always a favorite place of ours for the forest walks and peace, but now you could meet your faith under the wheels of an electric road hog. Still its natural beauty is worth the risk to life.
After an afternoon of exploring and some fine dining, evening came and the group assembled on Molly-Jo to plan the following day’s activities. This led to a night of planning and the ill effect of all the planning ruining the following day’s activities. Late afternoon saw the CIC set out for Boyle Harbour. A pleasant cruise around the islands led us to the mouth of the Boyle River and onto the Boyle Canal where we were to stay for the week.
Lough Key to Leitrim Village 25-26-27 July
The weather had been great for most of the summer but this weekend was to see a bit more showers appear. The return passage from Boyle Harbour to Lough Key on Friday evening was perfect with mirror-like reflective waters stretching out across the Lough. An enjoyable walk along the forest paths led us to Drummans Island to see Mick and the crew of Zorgen. Night drew in quickly and we left the Zorgen to return to the new jetties and our beds. The walk through pitch black forest with talk of banshees, werewolves, ghosts and psychopaths can be a good laugh, but when you have a wife with an over-active imagination, your arm can feel the consequences of a terrified grip. Another late night planning the next few days resulted in a late start on the Saturday.
The wind had really picked up and there were a few showers about, so after a fortifying brunch we made a move for Clarendon Lock. The weather improved on this return trip down the Boyle River and the sun reappeared to warm our faces as we cruised to Leitrim Village.
Leitrim Village has become a popular destination of late and finding a mooring in this small village can be difficult. So after a bit of negotiating we all moored safely in time for dinner. The moving of cars can be time consuming but necessary and with Red Pedro heading north to join the HBA fleet, we took the time to transfer a car to Ballinamore. On our return, an invitation was issued by Giles and Jill to host the evening’s planning session and being part of the Committee I was obliged to attend.
A very productive meeting was held which saw the presentation of the Kildare IWAI North Shannon CIC 100% Attendance Burgee. This was designed and commissioned by Jill and manufactured by Camberwell Covers for the members who had made the enormous effort to attend all 3 weekends. A lovely surprise as this hand made Burgee is irreplaceable with only three in existence.
On Sunday afternoon, with heavy hearts, we bade farewell to the Kildare IWAI North Shannon CIC 2014, as we headed our separate ways. We left Molly-Jo and crewed for Frank on Red Pedro, up the Shannon Erne to Ballinamore. Hawthorn was left behind in Leitrim due to work commitments. They were great weekends and I felt we continued the Kildare IWAI tradition of friendship and hospitality to everyone we encountered.
Big thanks to all who participated: the Three Musketeers, Molly-Jo, Hawthorn and Red Pedro, Betty and family on Carpe Diem, Reg and Caroline, the family on the Waveline hire-boat who seemed to be following us, the crew of Huckleberry Finn, Mick and the crew of Zorgen.
Postscript: No drink was taken in the recording of this epic voyage.
Kildare IWAI Christmas Walk 2014
This year’s walk arranged by Jim Connolly brought us to the heart of Kildare into the Bog of Allen. Lodge Bog to be exact, just a few kilometres from Allenwood is a fully functioning raised bog ecosystem, protected because of its immense biodiversity that was once widespread throughout the midlands. Michael Jacob an environmentalist, wildlife enthusiast, and local historian led us onto a 10,000-year-old landscape where every step revealed a fascinating collection of plant life, each supporting one and other in this harsh environment.
In the short walk, we saw The Common Snipe, some Hare Forms, Old Moth Cocoons, Heathers, Four types of Lichens, Many Sedges and Sphagnum Moss that was used during WW1 to dress wounds. Michael explained the difference between Raised and Blanket Bogs, and cut bogs that were the livelihood of many families. We saw Bog Butter dug from the Bog and still so well preserved, a Wing Slain used to cut Turf and finally stories of Bog Body’s and Murders led us off the bog and on to the Second part of our outing.
Just up the road is Lullymore West Bog that has a very Rare Butterfly living there, the Marsh Fritillary Butterfly. This species is protected and this area is one of the few places it is found. With 21 out of the 31 butterflies occurring in Ireland found here and over 150 species of moth, the site is exceptional in Ireland.
Over 300 species of bird, plant, insect and animal are found here, which is incredible and to top it off just as we entered the site we spotted a Buzzard perched on a pole keeping an eye on us.
Wet feet led us back to Glennon’s in Allenwood for some very welcome refreshments. A Huge thanks to Michael for a most enjoyable outing. Apologies to those who had not the proper footwear as we didn’t realise we were going out onto the Bog.