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.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

1st - 2nd May. Continuing down the River Shannon, then on to the Grand Canal at Shannon Harbour.

From Clonmacnoise we cruised on to Shannon Bridge, where we met Talitha II again for some craic. Carrying on down the River Shannon we met two cruisers which were breasted up. Did one of them have engine failure, or were they just being friendly?

Shannon Harbour, at the start of the Grand Canal, is still busy with a lot of boats about.

Of interest to our readers on the English waterways might be the 80p cost of this self pumpout. We hear that it has gone up above £10 in England.

While at the pumpout, the bows of The Puzzler are overlooking the dry dock. We just hoped that no-one decided to fill the dock while we were there!

Just beyond Shannon Harbour, and again before Belmont, much work has been done to create bankside moorings. The side of the canal has been dredged, and new mooring posts have been sunk into the bank.
At Belmont it is a short walk to the village, where the wooden sculpture of a Samaritan Traveller can be found. This is located on the pilgrimage routes to Clonmacnoise and Tisaran, and is dedicated to the reflective pilgrim and all who travel.

We passed the Belmont House Stud where these mares were out on the spring grass, perhaps with a scattering of horse cubes to eat too!
Also at Belmont we visited Belmont Mill, which is an old oat mill. It is powered from the River Brosna by a waterwheel, which was set into motion for our benefit. The original oat and flour mill for grinding oats and wheat was built in 1769, and was very important during both World wars, with wheat being imported from America at great cost at that time.

Lock 33 is the double lock at Belmont, and does not look very inviting, with all these floating cut reeds. They did not create a problem though.
Just beyond Noggus Bridge is a pleasant country mooring. There were already two small cruisers there, but by a bit of manoevring we created a spare bollard for the front rope, and brought the stern in, as far as it would come, which cannot have impressed any passing boats!

1 comment:

  1. Just though I'd add a little info about Shannon harbour.
    Shannon Harbour is a beautiful little village situated where the Grand Canal joins the Shannon at the mouth of the Brosna River. It contains a fine marina with modern facilities, a shop, pub and a playground. It is a popular village for Shannon cruisers and has a reputation for its relaxing and fun atmosphere during the summer months.

    The town was founded in 1830 and was once a hive of activity. Over 250,000 people used the canal passenger barges during this period, many of them emigrating from the ports of Limerick and Cobh. In one year during the 1840s over 300,000 tons of produce was transhipped in the town’s warehouses. This was at the time of the Great Irish Famine when starving locals and emigrating families could easily see the injustices occurring here. The village once contained a Customs Barracks with holding cells, the Harbour Masters house, several pubs and the Grand Hotel. The remains of these building can be easily seen from the marina especially the Grand Hotel, which although roofless still stands proudly.

    The village has returned to life in recent years and attracts visitors from all over the world. The area’s strong reputation for coarse fishing and bird watching is the principle contributor to this. Another factor is the famous McIntyre’s pub who’s legendary pints of Guinness attract visitors from far and wide. The pub also has a shop for stocking up on supplies.

    A little over a mile’s walk north from the town is Clonony Castle. This was built in the 15th century as a stronghold for the MacCoghlan clan. It still stands impressively and a visit is recommended. A cousin of Anne Boleyn is buried in the castle yard. In Moystown, just across the Brosna River and a short stroll from the castle is the old monastery of Saint Saran. The Belmont Mill museum is also located nearby and is worth visiting.

    More information on