Thursday evening we had our last 3hr evening trip of the summer. The autumn is drawing in and its getting darker that little bit earlier so the 3hr trips tend to put everyone under pressure to get back before sunset and collect cars etc. However, we did have the perfect Sunset cruise with some fantastic weather. It took just over 1hrs 30min in total to reach Maganey lock from Carlow town. On the way, we passed through the haunted lock at Bestfield and shared/speculated on the various stories associated with the lock and how it became haunted. Continuing up river we also passed the confluence of the river Lerr and Barrow, followed by the river Greese. Along this stretch, the Barrow separates the counties of Laois and Carlow. Once we pass the river Lerr, the Barrow divides Laois and Kildare as the Lerr is the border between Carlow and Kildare. As a result, this area and Maganey are often referred to locally as the three counties. At the lock in Maganey, we disembarked to stretch the legs and take in the views of Maganey weir. Several passenger also brought a mini lunch or a small picnic. With a bright sun resting low over the horizon, it was the perfect spot for a Salmon sandwich while listening to the falling whitewater of the weir. Once rested, it was back into the boat and homeward bound. On the return leg, we spotted several Kingfishers, Cormorants and Grey Herons that we failed to notice on the way upstream. We were back at the Jetty in Graiguecullen for 8.15pm just in time before it got dusky.
Oscar the Boat Dog gained a gold star today at his second swimming lesson. He was too nervous for the canal or river Barrow so we started him with a pond at Kellyville in County Laois. He loved it. It will be interesting now to see how he gets on over the next few weeks but he is off to a good start. Well done Oscar!!!!
You never know what you'll see on the way to work. Here we have a pair of Peacocks using the Zebra Crossing in Graiguecullen.
We'd a fantastic evening on the river yesterday with Dr Derek Coyle from Carlow College/St Patricks. Our trip upstream to Bestfield involved Derek leading a creative writing and poetry workshop as we travelled. For inspiration, Derek focused writers attention on the surrounding wildlife and retold local stories that highlighted the unique history and heritage that the river Barrow holds. It was in the haunted lock of Bestfield that we moored in with a group of holiday makers travelling the Barrow onboard a hired Narrow Barge from Barrowline Cruisers, which are located in Vicarstown, county Laois. They were making the return trip up river with local lock-keeper, Billy O'Neill. Here, one of the passengers retold the story of the lock's haunted status and explained the mysterious banging that often occurs on the hull's of vessels as they pass through. To get the creative juices flowing, Derek and passengers recited poems themed with water by Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes and Elizabeth Bishop to name a few. This certainly worked and throughout the return trip back to the Jetty at Graiguecullen in Carlow, both pens and eyes were fixed firmly on the worksheets in hand. While a great evening of nature, history and poetry was had by all, most left having either penned a verse or two, or gained a collection of themes upon which to build. Many thanks to all who attended and to Dr Derek Coyle for facilitating a fantastic evening.
We heading down stream today on a most peaceful and tranquil trip to Milford in County Carlow. Here we stopped at the 18th century watermill for a picnic. The mill which was originally used to produce flour was later changed over to a Hydroelectric Power station. It belonged to the Alexander family and provided Carlow town with electric street lighting. Under the shadow of the mill, we spotted a gentleman Fly fishing and so it was here we sat for a while watching him ply his art.
Many thanks to Goresbridge Rural Development Group for a fantastic evening at the “Party in the Park” yesterday evening (Wed 1st August 18). We left Carlow town early that morning carrying a boat load of passengers on what was a wet and windy, warm summers day. Passing through the town of Leighlinbridge, we continued to Bagenalstown where a number for passengers departed and more stepped aboard. Continuing on, we came to the magical, hidden lock of Slyguff, where we were joined by a number of other boats and barges, all heading for Goresbridge. Lock Keepers Paul and Billy were on hand to help out and by 5.30pm we'd reached the jetty of our destination. The party kicked off at 6pm, and despite the weather, a large crowd gathered as the smell of burgers and barbecue smoke filled the air. For ourselves at BoatTrips.ie, the job was only beginning as we ferried passengers upstream to Upper Ballyellen and back. This continued all evening till 9.30 when we finally moored up and enjoyed a well earned beer around the campfire with several friends, boat owners and Indians, Sarah and Alison. Throughout the evening we managed to introduce over fifty boating newbies to the Barrow and share a little of the great history/heritage that the river holds. A special word of thanks must go to the people of Goresbridge and in particular Colette Murphy for inviting us down and making us feel so welcome. Early this morning (August 2nd ) we headed back up stream, collecting several passengers in Bagenalstown. After a few hours in the familiar summer, sun we reached the Town Park in Carlow just before 4pm. It was a tiring few days but extremely enjoyable.
About Oscar & Cliff
This is the blog of Oscar the boat dog and his human, Cliff Reid. Oscar and Cliff own and operate BoatTrips.ie and this is a diary of setting the company up and the adventures they are having messing about on boats, river and anything else.