An experience report – the self-trial
On the rivers and lakes of Ireland you can rent more than 500 cabin-cruisers and enjoy your vacation with a lot of nature. You can cast the fishing rod or enjoy a bath in the fresh but not so cold lake. In the evening you can dock on a lonely island or on one of the many bases in small towns from where you can go for a typical Irish pub. Ireland has not only water around itself, it is also pervade with rivers and canals. Even if you never navigated a boat you can discover Ireland through the waterway as a holiday captain. Most popular are the rivers Shannon, Erne and River Barrow, which are connected to each other and have a proud distance of 800 km – and the are not used commercially only for fun.
We set sail on a wonderful October morning in Portumna …
After our first night at Shannon Oaks Hotel in Portumna we went to the next grocery in the town. We packed our food and drinks into the boot of the car and drove to the boat. As we arrived we were standing in front of a 12 meter cruiser called Caprice.
We couldn’t believe it, how could we navigate the boat out of this narrow harbor? But we got an introduction of half an hour. After several attemps we really managed it to get out of the harbour. It was 1 pm and the perfect time to pass Portumna Bridge … and there it was … Lough Derg. It looked majestic in the sun in front of us. We needed approximately 4 hours to cross the whole lake and reach Killaloe/Ballina on the south coast. We navigated with full speed, what mean with 25 mph. However, it was an experience. We passed sea raven and fish, small towns with secluded harbours and many islands. Arriving in Ballina we were quite hungry and the nearby restaurant was excellent. After the meal we enjoyed it to walk through the grassland back to our boat to drink a good Irish coffee on the deck. Moreover at about 10 pm our colleges arrived in Ballina. We opened a bottle of wine and enjoyed the evening or should I say the night?
Early in the morning we were waked up by the waves which crashed against the boat. It was a grey foggy day.
But in my opinion this is the appeal and during the day the fog was gone and we could see the sun. We passed castles on the way to Scariff, simply wonderful. On the left hand and right hand side was only romantic reed. We had luck that no other boat was there, because it would be too narrow to navigate that small river. The town Scariff is not worth exploring, only pubs and super markets like in every town. From the boat to the top of the hill to the town center we needed only 15 minutes by foot. In spite of that normal town the journey was profitable.
On the late afternoon we navigated the boat to Mountshannon to stay there over night. We decorated the boat with candles and played games on the front deck of the boat till it was late after midnight.
Unfortunately our friends had to leave us today in Ballina.
So we planned a visit and lunch in Garrykenndey on the other side of the coast. A lovely town with good food, but it is hard to navigate the boat into its final position when many boats are in the harbour. In the afternoon we said goodbye to our colleges and then we run the boat with a supersonic speed back to Portumna Bridge. We stayed this night in Terryglass to take the first bridge opening in the morning to explore the Shannon River for another day.
Today we had an early breakfast. We passed the bridge while it was raining at 9 o’clock.
In my opinion the way from the bridge to the Shannonbridge didn’t offer so much worth seeing.
Left and right a few cows and sheep and a big power plant on the way close to our destination.
Hence we decided to turn around in the afternoon towards Portumna again and land on the way for the night.
About 1.5 hours away from Portumna we found a delightful spot for anchoring.
Casting fishing rods … but unfortunately the fishes didn’t want to bite and we decided to eat a Schnitzel instead and drink a lot of whiskey…
Impossible to bring this good stuff back home again….
After a late breakfast and two Aspirin we passed the lock for our way back home.
Parking in the port basin of Portumna flew smoothly. I would say – learnt is learnt, what do you think?
With tears in the eyes we said goodbye to Caprice – it was a wonderful tour and we will come back next year for sure.