White Island should be on the top of you boating bucket list, it’s a marvel to see. Close by is the old RAF base of Castle Archdale. During the second world war Catalina and Sunderland seaplanes set out from this Lough Erne base through the Donegal Corridor and on out into the Atlantic where they hunted down German U-Boats.
We also take a look at Boa Island and the Janus figure. This was an ancient Celtic idol. It is a two sided figure with a male and female face standing back to back. Now getting to Boa Island on lough Erne by boat is a little difficult because there is no landing jetty in the island. We were lucky enough to be able to arrange a lift from nearby Castle Archdale. Boa Island is connected to the mainland by a bridge.
This is a Nasa BM1 Marine Battery monitor display (& Nasa BM2) and we’re fitting it to replace our our analogue battery monitor. After having battery problems on our trip to Belleek we decided to go ahead and fit a proper Nasa BM1 Battery monitor, there are other ones but in my opinion this one represents the best value for money.
It’s not too big a deal to fit it and I had the advantage of musing over the instructions for a week before I got down to the boat to install it. If you want to know how your batteries are behaving you would benefit from this or a similar unit.
You may have difficulties getting the BM1 unit delivered to Ireland directly. If you use ParcelMotel.ie you should be able to get it delivered for the UK postage fee plus €3.95. ParcelMotel.ie almost always works out way cheaper that direct post to Ireland.
The Nasa BM2 is an identical unit with the single difference being that it can handle up to 200Amps while the BM 1 can only handle up to 100Amps. So if you have a hefty inverter onboard or if you are likely to install one in the future you may be better off using the Nasa BM2. Setup is exactly the same.
Join us on a cruise across Lough Erne the broad lough all the way to Belleek. See what happens when things go wrong and how helpful we found people to be and of course how we got out of trouble on the lake. We negotiate changeable weather on Lough Erne and enjoy a cruise on an overcast day across lower Lough Erne (also called The Broad Lough) and safely into a superb mooring in the Town of Belleek. It’s here that we confirm our suspicions, that the alternator isn’t charging our domestic batteries. Now our fridge runs off these same batteries and without them getting a charge we run the onerous risk of drinking warm beer. A fate I would not like to face.
On this boat cruise we pass Enniskillen Castle and then we pass through Portora Lough. before visiting the ancient Irish Round Tower on Devenish Island. Portora lock is the only lock on the Erne navigation and it’s unusual in that the gates at both ends are usually left open. Apparently it’s only in times of very low water levels are the gated closed.
Devenish Island is something to behold. It’s a wonderful sight as you make your approach to the east mooring in the shadow of the lofty round tower as well as all the other monastic runes. The tower is just as the monks left it they day they cut the opening ribbon. It’s a marvel to their building skills that it’s still standing nearly a thousand years after it was built.
Well the Shannon Erne Waterway has been great but now we are on Lough Erne and what a great waterway the Erne system is. It’s correct to call it the Erne System because it’s way more than just two lakes. Once we cruised onto the Erne we headed towards Belturbet.
The sun was out we were captivated by the beautiful scenery, or at least that’s my excuse. See we missed a marker and very nearly ran aground. And the gas thing is that this all happened as I’m recalling a story to Marion about the last time we passed this way and how we missed the very same marker then too. Still we managed to avoid disaster and got back on course before we touched the bottom.
We are loving our cruise on the Shannon Erne Waterway, the scenery as well as the wildlife is just captivating us. One of the thinks that makes this waterway for us is that it’s a great mix of canals, river as well and so many intertwining lakes. Waterways Ireland have a wonderful amenity here and they have created some lovely moorings as well as great facilities. Most moorings have full stone-built service blocks.
This is also a very popular waterway with fishermen, in fact they seem to come from all over Europe and beyond to fish here. There are plenty fishing stands dotted along the waterway and there is a reasonably large local cottage industry providing accommodation, meals and boats to the visiting fishermen.
Join us on this cruise on the Irish waterways from Ballinamore to Lough Garadice, one of Ireland’s favourite fishing lakes. Ballinamore is in county Leitrim and has a rich history. It’s a major town on the waterway in general and the largest town on the Shannon Erne Waterway.
There is no shortage of good places to eat, and some very good pubs too. I didn’t count them but there is a pub for every age group and taste. The river weir is in the town and there are two public moorings, the one we stayed in is on the outskirts of the town and has a full service block. We were the only boat there except for a Waterways Ireland boat. The second one is right in the town centre.
We left the River Shannon at Leitrim and set out on a cruise to Lough Erne, via the towns of Ballinamore and Ballyconnel. These two great waterways are linked together by a series of canals, rivers and lakes called The Shannon Erne Waterway (or SEW if you prefer acronyms!)
Originally this waterway was called The Ballinamore and Ballyconnel Canal after the two main towns along its course.
This waterway was restored to navigation in 1994 and it is a kind of high tech waterway with everything being operated by a smart card.
River Shannon Cruises come in lots of types; on this one we’re going to cruise to Lough Erne along the Shannon Erne Waterway. Each week we publish another episode as we document our River Shannon cruises through the Irish countryside to Lough Erne and beyond.
Undoubtedly River Shannon cruises and the whole navigable waterway system both north and south are the best cruising grounds anywhere in Europe, the Irish waterways have everything. Lough Erne is our destination for the next few weeks and we are documenting all the wonderful sights along the way for you to enjoy.
Join us on the Shannon Erne Waterway as we take a canal boat trip from Leitrim village up through the locks to Kilclare.
This canal links the River Shannon with Lough Erne, it has sixteen locks and this waterway consists of still water canal, lakes and river sections all within sixty three kilometres.
In this video we take on the still water canal stretch from Leitrim up through eight locks to Kilclare. Kilclare is a lovely stop off, there is a basic shop and a nice pub the Sheemore Inn that does food all day. It’s just before the summit level too so you have all the hard work done by the time you get there!
The river Shannon has many faces, and occasionally she has a tendency to show her angry face. The trick is to get to know her and to know when she is feeling moody, and when it’s wise to keep out of her way.
We exit Dromod and out onto lough Boffin in a good strong southerly wind. I’m aware that the wind isn’t strong enough to cause an issue on it’s own, but if you were unlucky enough to have some engine trouble or to foul your propeller the odds would quickly start to stack up against you.
The stone harbour in Lecarrow makes a welcome change from Lough Ree. The short Lecarrow Canal links the harbour with Blackbrink bay on Lough Ree.
We take Driftwood on a journey from Lecarrow across Lough Ree and we head in a northerly direction stopping off at the towns of Ballyleague and Lanesborough. Then we press on to Dromod passing through Tarmonbarry and Rooskey along the way. The weather is just okay, not great just okay. Still I always say that even a bad day on the boat is still much better than a good one in work!