February Social


Niall O’Dowda organised another dinner in Lock 13 for members and their guests, it was very well attended and the food again was delicious.  This year the musical entertainment was given by Barbara and Malcolm Bridge, folk musicians of Ampere electric barge fame! 

Barbara and Malcolm had become members of IWAI Kildare Branch while they were over here from England. They were enthusiastic assets to our Branch, unfortunately their time in Ireland came to an end in Spring and they and Ampere returned to Britain. It felt like we were only getting to know them but to cheer us they promised to visit Naas Harbour Rally 2017.


© M.Davis



Easter Rally


On Good Friday the boats assembled on the west bank of the River Barrow in Athy.  Athy   Waterways had done a great job clearing the bank, putting in mooring posts and securing the area with CCTV and a lock on the gate. There were about a dozen boats, a mixture from the Kildare Branch and the HBA, some having travelled from as far as the Shannon.

On Saturday morning the Rally was officially launched by Cllr Aoife Breslin and Mayor Cllr Ivan Keatley who both spoke very positively about the Barrow and welcomed us warmly to Athy. The boats were then blessed by Rev Olive Donohoe. This was followed by coffee and croissants with Saoirse ar an Uisce, Athy Boat Tours Trip Boat.

In the afternoon there was a guided tour of very old Athy led by Marc Guernon. Amongst lots of historical information we learnt Athy had been a Norman settlement and in the early 1400s the castle was built to protect the bridge and town.

In the evening we gathered in the popular Emigrant Pub for a social evening. 

Sunday morning we were woken by a buzzing sound to discover it was a drone passing by us making a video! This video can be seen on AthyWaterways Facebook page entitled IWAI – Athy Easter 2017.  later there was plenty of activity on the river with Saoirse ar an Uisce and several dragon boats rowed enthusiastically by men, women and children. We even took our boats out and in a flotilla went under the bridge and up the river as far as maybe a mile until it got a bit shallow! Athy is really rich with the waterways running through and around the town, it's great to see it being used. 

Late afternoon Conor and Irene had us all on board 118B for the “Easter Feaster”. Amazingly 30 of us fitted around their makeshift table and we had a wonderful feast supplied by all of us bringing a dish each! In the evening we had prize giving in the back room in Frank O’Brien’s pub, the oldest pub in  Athy.  

Monday morning it was an early start for some as the HBA headed South to Carlow to continue their travels down the Barrow for the summer months. It had been a good weekend, we found a great welcome in Athy and I'd imagine we’ll be back as individual boaters and probably sometime for another rally.