These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over nine 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 and 2017, returning to Roanne each winter.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

31st July - 5th August. Back down the River Shannon to Jamestown Heritage Festival.

Our visitors having left us, we returned down the Shannon to Jamestown to join the rally. We are now the eighth boat out from land on our line. Andy has been putting out the bunting.
The Puzzler can just be seen on the end of the third row of barges, upstream from Jamestown Bridge. There are two more rows of boats, mostly barges, in front of us.
There are already over 60 boats here, with more expected to arrive during the week. Jamestown Heritage Festival takes place here once every four years. Jamestown was first built in the reign of James1 in 1621. It was besieged during the rebellion of 1641 and taken by the Confederate army in 1649. Forty years later it was captured by the Williamite army, who were then defeated by Sarsfield's army. A battle reenactment will take place on Sunday.

Our easiest route to the jetty is over and round the bows of the barges.

This is one of the easier crossings! On some barges there is no way through, so it is a question of climbing over the rails.
Rambler was moored on the other bank. This barge was recently featured in a television programme, where she crossed the Royal Canal from Dublin to the River Shannon. She had been unable to return to the Shannon for 40 years until the Royal canal was reopened at its western end late in 2010. During the week four more boats were moored outside Rambler, and two more on the line in front of us, so the river was nearly bridged by boats.

There was plenty of time during the week for good craic. Donnacha is telling Andy how he lived on this barge when he was first married.

There is so much history behind all these barges, and no two are the same.

On Saturday there was plenty of entertainment at Jamestown Quay, starting with these drummers, who used one of the barges as their stage.
The River Rats Calendar for 2013 has been a great success. Thirteen of the boatmen have been painted for this calendar and we saw art in progress for an official launch today. We hear that there was an earlier launch in May, but who cares! The calendar can be found at and all the proceeds go to the Irish Cancer Society.

Here are all the calendar boys, but with clothes on!

Photo call for Donna, the artist, too.

On Saturday night all the Jamestown villagers came to the party at the Quay, provided by the boaters. A good time was had by all.

The boats were all lit up, with an engine start and horn blowing to liven up the evening. Sixty+ boats can make quite a noise!
The children lit and launched Chinese lanterns. There have been activities for the children all week and small lifejacketed figures were very much in evidence at all times. It has been great to see.

The lanterns seemed to go up and away for ever.

On Sunday it was the turn of the village. The Jamestown Arch, which had to be taken down in 1973 after being struck by a truck, has been temporarily restored.

The dignitaries arrived in style today in this pony trap.

Next we all go to see the battle reenactment. The English army are preparing to fight.

Meanwhile the rebels are creeping up to attack from behind.

At one point there was a duel too, but in the end we are not sure who won!
The next development was an attack on the town by an army of barge skippers, armed with boathooks and oars. We did not see the ensuing battle between them and the army in the field, but hear that some of the rebels joined them to put the rest to rout. Did they change the course of history?!

1 comment:

  1. Jamestown Heritage Festival looks like it was great fun! So many boats. Did you buy one of the calendars?