I was honoured to be asked by the branch to be the Athlone Vice Commodore for the 55th Shannon Boat Rally 2015. The role brought early mornings and busy days but also huge enjoyment, getting to know more Rally entrants than I’d ever done before. Athlone Branch ralliers met on the Friday night at Sorohan’s pub in Lanesborough where finger food was provided and we enjoyed catching up with old friends and making new ones. On Saturday morning the Athlone fleet made way up-river to join with the Carrick Branch at Rooskey.
The theme for this year’s Rally was “The Vikings” and following the Ecumenical service, the Rally was offically opened by Chairman Martin Donnelly who welcomed our very glamerous Commodore, Jean Kennedy (Carrick Branch). Jean produced an impressive cheese and wine and we all enjoyed a great evening of chat, laughter and music – a receipe that was to be repeated many times over the following 10 days. An aspect of this year’s Rally I really appreciated was the amount of free time scheduled into the programme with two ‘get to know your neighbour nights’. This facilitated some excellent impromtu sessions, pontoon parties or just friends gathering for the evening.
We welcomed more starred competition entries than in recent years and I felt this was down to our Competitions Co-ordinator, Oona Herraghty, who every morning really encouraged Ralliers to participate. Despite the miserable weather of Summer 2015 we managed to get through the itinerary. In a large tent, in the middle of nowhere (Kilglass), we had ‘Rock and Roll Bingo’ in aid of R.N.L.I. followed by a fantastic time rocking the night away with Rod & Billy. Some other events that stand out for me were the quayside cocktail party for which the sun actually decided to turn up!, a fun-filled Commando Competition that involved everyone getting very wet thanks to Ian Craig and his water filled wellie! and of course the Viking Day which was a great success. We learned all about the life of a Viking village, how they made their weapons, games they played and the clothes they wore.
Most of us tried our hand at archery and this writer can happily state she will not be auditioning for a Robin Hood movie anytime soon! We dressed up as Vikings that night for the combined adult and children’s fancy dress and danced the night away to the Abba tribute band ‘Waterloo’. The children’s and adult’s talent competitions, this year in Jamestown, never disappoint and continue to entertain with some incredible talent.
Congratulations to the Premier Award winners, boat number 55, ‘Sula Bassana’ – Karl & Margaret Byrne and family
Well done to Commodore Jean Kennedy, my fellow vice commodore Colin Corcoran, and all of the hard working committee. I’m looking forward to next year already!
Fiona Hoey, Cranna