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!
Lough Ree like any large lake is prone to changeable weather. We demonstrate this in this video where we experience four seasons in one day, on one of the largest lakes in Ireland or anywhere in the British Isles. Lough Ree is one of the best cruising grounds any where in Europe and while we start off in poor weather within a few short hours the wind dropped and the sun came out and we got to see the beautiful sunny side of this great cruising and boating lake.
We untied the boat from its moorings in Athlone Town Marina and headed up river towards Lough Ree. There was a stiff breeze coming from the north east and not only did this make it quite cold but it stirred up the lake quite a bit. We turned at the Lough Ree Yacht club because the lake would have been quite rough and Marion is not a fan of big waves!
The 2018 boating season is up and running and this is Driftwood’s first boat trip of the year. Now it’s not a very long boat trip but you see it opens the doors for us. Because up until now we were moored in a spot that made getting the boat out quite difficult. Now though we will be able to take the boat out when ever we want and go exploring the rivers and lakes once again. The current has dropped from the winter flow to the very sedately summer flow. The River Shannon drops a mere six meters over more than a three hundred Klm stretch so as you can imagine there is usually very little flow on it.
We gave it a bit of a wash down too which wasn’t east in this cold weather. We
We chat to Ronnie & Mary on their Grand Canal Company Barge 72M.
Join us while we take a look at this old Grand Canal Company barge 72M. All the barges were 60 foot barges and were numbered by the Grand Canal Company. The M signified that it was a motor powered barge rather than a horse drawn barge.
Ronnie & Mary bought their barge when it was just a rusting hull,
in Ringsend Basin in Dublin. Over the next four years they set about making it into a floating home.
So what are the legal requirements for boating in Ireland?
People always ask us if you need a boat license in Ireland? And they also ask us about the law in Ireland about wearing life jackets. In Ireland there are a few common sense rules about the wearing of life jackets especially with children but the boat license thing never caught on here. Check the video for the full details.
We also have rules on holding tanks on boats. Basically it’s illegal to dump any effluent into the rivers or lakes. Which I think is fine too. Thankfully though you can either bring your boat here or rent one with very few restrictions at all.