These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over eight years now and are still loving it. Our Ulster born Shih Tzu, Shannon, has grown up, and has taken over the boat! After three wonderful years in Ireland, we transported The Puzzler to The Netherlands, and spent a year there. In 2015 we went southwards, to reach the north of France by June. After glorious weather throughout the summer, we arrived in Roanne in late October, and enjoyed our winter in this friendly port. We cruised extensively in France in 2016, returning to Roanne for a second winter.


Thursday, 29 September 2011

19th - 26th September Up River Shannon and across Lough Ree. Lanesborough, Tarmonbarry, and up the Camlin River to Richmond Harbour.


 It was an early start as we have a long day today. We stopped briefly at Clonmacnoise Monastery, which we  last visited in early August, before carrying on up the River Shannon to Athlone.



It is surprising how little topsoil there is over the limestone bedrock here, as the grass is so green.



After Athlone, we sailed on to Lough Ree and spent the night at Hodson Bay Hotel. In the harbour actually, not in the Hotel, but it makes a good backdrop!

The port back door will not open completely, due to the damage, so we sailed today with a bungy holding the door. However we have since removed the wooden seat, until the metal work has been straightened and rewelded.



Another early start on Tuesday up Lough Ree with a super sky ahead of us. By cruising early in the day, we avoided the wind and waves of the afternoon.



In the harbour at Portrunny, we joined several speedboats. Are they shut up for the winter already, or just waiting for the Indian Summer which has been promised?

Wednesday was a really wild day, with strong winds out on the lough, but we still managed a walk along the lough shore.
After two nights at Portrunny, we set off with the sun  rising over the lough. We have been very lucky to find such calm water.

By the time we reached the northern end of Lough Ree the sun had disappeared, although the wind did not get up until later in the day. Lanesborough Power Station, the biggest peatburning power station in Ireland, looms up ahead of us.We are burning smokeless compressed peat logs on our stove at the moment and find them very good.


It is quiet in Ballyleague Harbour. Our friends from the North, Maurice and Janet, arrived soon after us so it was good to see them again.


The barge Knocknagow arrived on Friday evening, with friends of ours in the crew. She left the following morning, with a fresh crew, bound for Lough Derg. 




Back on the River Shannon, we sail up to Tarmonbarry Lock, where the top gates have seen better days.


Do you think that this seat, above the lock, will hold Andy's weight?

It must be annoying for the boats with higher topsides which have to circle above Tarmonbarry Bridge, when we can go underneath it, and do not have to wait for it to be lifted.
We move on upriver on Sunday, as strong winds are forecast for tomorrow, and have an extremely wet trip. Three miles above Tarmonbarry, we turn off on to the Camlin River, and head south again towards Richmond Harbour, and the start of The Royal Canal. Here we are moored below the first lock, on a jetty which is new this year. Incidentally, the strong winds never arrived and the weather on Monday was fine!


The converted barge, 58M, fills Richmond Lock as it goes up into Richmond Harbour. This barge is an excellent conversion, and is very cosy inside.



The lock enters at the far end of Richmond Harbour, which has always been a very popular mooring.We will come up here next year, on our way to the Royal canal.

The Royal Canal leads out at the other end of Richmond Harbour, and can now be cruised all the way to Dublin. The canal was reopened as a through route as recently as last September, having been closed since 1961.


Richmond Harbour is in Clondra village, which has two pubs but no shop. This waterwheel has been retained underneath Richmond Mills, which have been developed into apartments.
Richmond Mills, beside the attractive Clondra bridge, operated as a corn mill from 1771 until 1827, when it was converted into a whiskey distillery, producing 80,000 gallons annually. During the Fr. Matthew Temperance Campaign of 1843, it reverted to milling corn, and later operated as a factory for curing hides.




St Brendan's Church in Clondra village was completed in 1835. The graveyard is quite impressive, with many beautiful crosses, and there are also the ivy covered ruins of a 12th century abbey.

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