I’m not too sure how I ended up heading up this event but it was a pleasure to do so once again and the passage to the Inny was its highlight for me. The event kicked off the season in the usual fashion and most of the intending cruising group were in The Lough Ree Inn at Coosan on Friday evening and we all got back to boats in reasonable time to be ready to cruise on Saturday morning.
Then on Saturday we set off North onto Lough Ree and had a lovely cruise to Portrunny, 19 boats in all making the trip. Others joined by car and there was one hell of a party in 80M (the barge owned by Liam Sherringham). There was a fantastic effort by everyone in the provision of food of so many varieties and with a spread of sweet items and wine and cheese this was truly a fantastic night finished off by the usual music session. The space and comfort provided by the barge made the event possible but the participation by all was superb. Thank you to Liam for the use of his barge 80M.
On Sunday we set off for the river Inny and, while we are advised that there was a cruise in company event to the Red Bridge before, this event certainly marks the start of the Inny as a destination for regular use by Athlone IWAI members. Once again we had the use of 80M as a mooring pontoon but we also MV Ross another barge supplied by Declan Farrell. Thanks to both for the assistance at this location. 18 boats made this leg of the trip. Here we were very pleased to meet with Chris Schaper and his wife Pia who have been generous to the branch recently in supporting a work-in on Ballykeeran jetty.
Once settled in we were transported to Murrays pub of Maghera and after some splendid food we had some music and craic. Many others, not already on the event, joined for food and 52 people attended. On arrival back at the fleet we settled into more moderate entertainment and most were happy to call it a night relatively early.
On the homeward trip on Monday some experienced, to a greater or lesser degree, the thrills and spills of Lough Ree and most got home safely. We are sorry to learn of the difficulties experienced by Chris and Pia who had some damage at the notorious Hexagon Shoal. We hope that their experience is soon a distant memory and that they will join us on an event later in the season.
Once again the May bank holiday weekend event was very well attended and broke new water for Athlone IWAI and with very positive feedback we can look forward earnestly to the June bank holiday event. Leo Lee has an interesting itinerary worked out for the June Bank Holiday weekend involving Ballinasloe and Shannonbridge so we look forward to seeing all the existing and many new faces on this Cruise.