Quay Wall BBQ… the inaugural branch ‘Burgers ‘n’ Beer event!
Athlone River Festival which was to have started on Friday 9th Sept. 2016 was cancelled during the previous week. As branch executive we were disappointed with this development as we had a commitment from 40 boat owners to do an opening event in the form of a cruise into town and a lighting of the boat fleet on the quay wall on that night. A little survey of skippers was done and this confirmed that there was significant interest in going ahead with a one evening mini CIC and BBQ as a replacement event and so we decided to proceed. There was a meeting of boats arranged for the Jolly Mariner but most actually met on an ad-hoc basis at Quigleys Marina.On the day the weather was anything but suitable and some, understandably, decided not to attend due the the weather and others had to cancel due to traffic problems on the day and other issues. As if by design however as it came closer to event time the weather turned and a calm dry evening followed and the trip into town was beautiful as it so often is. The final boats joined at the Jolly Mariner and the fleet of 22 boats proceeded in a tight line-astern down river under the iconic railway bridge and past the town marina and under the town bridge making quite a spectacle as the fleet hovered for 30 minutes or so till all were moored up on the quay wall outside Seans Bar.
There was a radio broadcast going on the River Run cruise boat which provided some early musical interest and we had organised local and talented musicians The Shanaghers to set the mood. Brain Corcoran and Keith Rowe, the ever reliable organisers, had acted as guides and harbour masters for the fleet and had popped up one of the branch marquees and this was the focal point for the music. Then we had gourmet burgers cooked on the reliable Weber BBQs of which 3 were in full swing under the direction Master Chef Seamie Carr. €2 for a wonderfully cooked burger in the left hand and a pint of Seans best in the right hand made sure we were the envy of many passers-by including some foreign fishermen. The continental ambiance of the evening was evident and without much preparation we had created a wonderful atmosphere out of such a simple event.
There were new comers there with their children taking part in their first cruise in company who have gone away happy with what happens on these CIC events and want to be part of this communal cruising in the future. The Shanaghers and band members were a perfect accompaniment and this was a night we all want to repeat. The night finished with a final few drinks in Seans and later on board a few boats parties broke out with the music sessions setting the tone.On the following day the fleet broke up with some going on to Shannonbridge and others staying in Athlone but the consensus was that this event should be part of the Athlone Branch event calendar. We look forward to the smell of those gourmet burgers in 2107. See more pictures here