Wednesday, June 13, 2012

13th June - Coolnahay to Abbeyshrule

Woke up to a drizzling morning that seems exclusive to this area. Looking forward to cruising a few miles along the canal where it's sunny all day, Maintenance and errands first.

9:30 am, Rambler cruises past, a lot of people excited about this. Almost 200 years old and one of only two former Royal Canal early barge cargo boats. Rambler was made most famous by Dick Warner's recent Royal Canal documentary. Crewed by 4 very enthusiastic cockney people.

10:30 am the local "duck lady" appeared. I do not have time to write about her just now but will come back to this and tell you about the ducks here. Quite a lesson on genderism :-).

1:30 pm, set off from Coolnahay Harbour, rain had stopped, some sun and it was warm. We were accompanied by a very helpful lock keeper Roy all the way through the next 13 locks.

3:40 pm, we had passed through 9 locks all close together.

4:15 pm, reached the beautiful Ballynacargy harbour where we met with a delightful senior man, Watson Mills, who has for many years been a leading campaigner for the restoration and re-opening of the Royal Canal. Watson is also a man of several other honours and talents.

John Roche had an affection for Ballynacargy, that he calls Ballinacarrigy,"Ballynacarrigy, the very sound of the name intrigues me. It has an old world, easy going sound, and such it really is. It has a harbour long and wide enough to hold a fair sized liner. Alas, trade has diverged to the railway and motor lorry, and the harbour produces little else than weeds, which in turn produced some strong language from the captain, as they clogged our propeller. We cast anchor there on a sunny broiling day.

Others may tell of the history of Ballynacarrigy, its ancient churches, monasteries, saints and politicians. I will chronicle that I met there Mr. James Braw, a gentleman of no fixed occupation, but with a pleasant ey and an agreeable thirst. We retired through a shady garden to the local wine and spirit merchant's cool bar room. There we pledged our mutual regard in two flowing tankards of the dark brown ale for which our island is famous. Mr Braw gave me much amusing local news, and we parted as old and sworn friends"

4:50 pm, fortunately we were not clogged with weeds like the Kitty in 1927 so we were back on our way again in very clean water.

5:30 pm, had passed through 4 more locks and pulled into the moorings past Kelly's Bridge to check over the boat and do some more maintenance checks including checking weed on the prop and rudder.

It was pleasing to experience sun and warmth as we stopped here by Kelly's Bridge.

6:40 pm, back on our way. Now we were to cruise through open bog big sky country with no locks.

6:50 pm, only 10 minutes cruising between Ballymaglavy Bog we crashed into a bag of turf just below the canal water and its bag wrapped around the boat prop.

7:20 pm, prop cleared by Claire in the water and we were on our way. This bogland looked quite surreal with the lowing evening sun

7:45 pm, arrived hungry in Abbeyshrule, could not be bothered to cook, so went to the pub for a bar meal, with intent to carry on down the canal while we have a warm sunny evening.

Of course, you do not enter pubs like these and come out easily.

Around midnight we came out and returned to the boat after a great evening of a great meal, good local traditional music and a local man showed me a new way of playing the spoons by running them along the knuckles on the back of the hands rather than running the spoons through the fingers.

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