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.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

16th - 31st July. On Lough Derg to Mountshannon, Scarriff, Tuamgraney, Mountshannon again and Killaloe.

When I am steering on Lough Derg, Shannon enjoys lying along the handle of the tiller, under my arm. Our friends from Graiguenamanagh left yesterday, but we hope to see them again somewhere on the lough.
Another favourite place for Shannon to travel is on the rope, having rearranged it for her comfort! Andy spent time at Dromaan out in the dinghy, at anchor, reading his book.
Mountshannon harbour was very busy. This has to be our favourite place on Lough Derg and we were there off and on for nearly two weeks. The weather was really hot and we went swimming every day from the boat. One evening the temperature in The Puzzler was 90* at 10pm so Andy went for a swim to cool down!

We found good walking in Wood Park Forest Park, which is just up the Scarriff road from Mountshannon. Shannon enjoyed the cool stream there the best.

The park is near to the harbour and Shannon's dribbling skills are improving.
Shannon Princess came in overnight and towers over all the other boats. She is a hotel boat, based at Athlone, and is a very expensive hotel!

Shannon found some friends on Playtime. They had a lot of fun together, especially playing in the maze in the park!

This sculpture is quite near to the harbour.
A pair of white tailed eagles have been introduced to Lough Derg and are nesting on Bushy Island, which can be seen across from Mountshannon. They have reared two chicks, which are now as big as the adult birds. As we sailed round Bushy Island we could see the adult male, sitting on the rocks. He flew up to a dead tree, which is his main lookout point, as we carried on past him. His wingspan is about 8 feet.

The harbour at Scarriff was very quiet. We went to the library to access the internet and they were extremely helpful there. "Oh, you need a computer each. There is no need for you to share!"
The mooring at Tuamgraney is a short way down the Scarriff river from Scarriff. In the village we were most impressed with the famine memorial garden, which has been built around this oak tree.

On our way back along Lough Derg the sky was threatening, but we returned to Mountshannon without getting wet.
We found the same mooring as last time, on the end of the jetty at Mountshannon. There seemed to be a lot more sailing boats in harbour this time.

Shannon swam at the slipway every day, but dogs were also allowed on the swimming beach after 6pm. Having swum, Shannon would begin her excavations!
By the 29th July it was time to move on, but the weather was inclement, to say the least! We eventually set off after lunch and were glad to have Gus on Lady Anne 111 also out there. He was out on eagle watch, and got some good sightings. We had a quarter sea on the starboard bow so had an extremely rough and wet journey down Lough Derg to Killaloe.
At Killaloe there was plenty of space on the floating jetty. We visited the exhibition about Brian Boru, who was the great High King of Ireland from 941 until 1016 AD. It was really interesting and well worth a visit.

This great earthworks began life as a ring fort and was used by Brian Boru. It can be found a mile or so out of Killaloe on the Scarriff road and is known as Beal Boru.

What a wonderful sunset over the River Shannon at Killaloe!

On leaving Killaloe, Beal Boru can be seen as a wooded hill to our left as we sail up the River Shannon.

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