The mysterious and secreted Barley Harbour on Lough Ree

Barley Harbour

In this episode we head to Barley Harbour on Lough Ree. Barley Harbour is off the main navigation and out of bounds to all hire boats because there are a number of obstructions below the water on the approach.

I reckon that this is Shannon cruising at its best, we’re on the beautiful Lough Ree, one of the three large lakes on the Shannon navigation, the weather is good and all in all it’s just lovely! We set off in search of the secreted and seldom seen port of Barley Harbour.

The approach to this port is un marked and you have to take a little known transit of the land to safely navigate in. Even within the harbour itself there are some rocks waiting to wreak havoc on any propeller that strays too close.

With no pubs, no town or shop close by Barley Harbour is a great place to visit for a quiet BBQ or maybe just for some peace and quiet away from it all.

I did a bit of research to try to discover why Barley harbour was constructed at all. Given that it is a long way from any town and that it is full of rocks it’s not very functional.

I didn’t find any information either way but I tend to suspect that it may be a famine folley. You see during the famine in the mid 1840 in Ireland the British Crown (they ran the place at the time!) decided to undertake public works to provide employment. However in their wisdom they also decided not to provide any infrastructure.

So as a result roads were built that went from nowhere and led to nowhere. If you can picture a length of road with a dead end at both ends, well that’s what ┬áthese starving workers had to build.

To this day the expression ‘A famine Road’ is used in Ireland to describe something that is completely useless. So I wonder was Barley harbour such a foley? If you know something about it please add it to the comments section below.

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Music: I Found an Answer by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (
Artist: Good by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (…)

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