Monday, June 04, 2012

4th June - Glasnevin to Chamber's Bridge

Back to a beautiful warm sunny morning, that stayed with us all day. Beautiful! Through today we joined the rest of the flotilla to pass through 6 more climbing locks towards Castlenock, but covering twice the sistance we did yesterday. We were given a cast off time of 9:10 am and off we went for this day's adventure...

John Roche wrote, from this point, "Soon the houses grew thinner and disappeared, field, trees and hedges opened out and Ho for the Barbary Coast, we are away. Pipe all hands on deck for grog, otherwise send out the welcome call for tea, and let us hear the cheerful rattle of the cups"

9:20 am we were efficiently herded into lock 7, by Broome Street station, and out of that one by 9:30 am.

9:50 am arrived at lock 8 at Reilly's Bridge, waited our turn a little while but was out of there and on our way by 10:15 am.

We were now seeing several swan families on the canal banks ...

10:20 am, time to go through lock 9, hidden somewhere in Finglas and was in and out in 10 minutes again.

10:45 am, arrived at lock 10 by Ashdown Station. This was the first of three double locks we were to go through and there a bit of a back up gridlock here. 11:15 we eventually got into the lock and was back out and on our way by 11:40.

11:55 am, its now lock 11, east of Castleknock, where there was no waiting and straight into the double lock, which we emerged from at 12:20 pm

Goung west of Castleneck involved an ancient vs modern scene as the Royal Canal becomes part of a kind of spaghetti junction with a complex criss cross of roads above and below us, including the M50. The canal had its own aqueduct flyover, exciting stuff!

On this flyover the flotilla lined up as for some reason its was slow passage through lock 12 due to only 2 lock operatora for a double lock

1:45 pm we are through lock 12 and on our way for several miles without another lock to challenge

At the other side of lock 12, by the Talbot Bridge, several of the flotilla were moored up and some drinking pints in the beer garden of the Talbot Bridge pub. We decided to carry on and make the most of progress we could make on this warm sunny day

I believe it must have been at this point, or near, when John Roche logged "Soon the houses grew thinner and disappeared. Fields, trees and hedges opened out and Ho for the Barbary Coat we are away. Pipe all hands on deck for grog, otherwise send out the welcome call for tea and let us hear the cheerful rattle of cups" The big surprise here was the fast entry into a canal stretch called the 'Deep Sinking', and enchanting hidden paradise of nature that few people are ever likely to know is there. For some reason the canal channel was cut very deep, I assume due to the soft porous rock and getting to a level that would hold the water. The actual towpath is way above the canal.

What is here is a canal going through a serene native trees woodland with a large population of singing birds and other nature voices. Along with the Woodford River in Co. Cavan this is one of the most exceptional stretches of Irish Waterways that is a must see and experience. It stretches from not far past the Talbot Bridge pub to just before Clonsilla Station.

I am surprised that John Roche did not feature here in his article, a stretch that, to me, is one of the most beautiful stretches of navigation on the entire Waterways Ireland system. After Clonsilla Station we are back to regular canal scenes of tow paths, straight stretches of water to the horizon, some trees, fields of sheep or cattle, several power walkers, often with dogs and a few fisher people who snarl at boats even daring to use their waterways

Between Clonsilla and Leixlip we pulled into a delightful slipway at Confey for some boat maintenance and a cup of tea. To our surprise, a couple of barges from the flotilla appeared behind us as they were about to moor up there for a few days.

Past Leixlip we were on our way to Maynooth.

6:45 pm we arrived in Maynooth where we stopped awhile so Claire could do some shopping. As we arrived here a huge barge was being towed by a dingy with an outboard motor, very slowly and blocking all of the canal width. We were concerned about how this may affect our progress

While Claire was away I was amazed to see how multi cultural Maynooth had becomes. There were plenty of various oriental, middle eastern, Brazilian and west African people, several as family people enjoying family time in the sun. The reaction to our boat waiting was incredibly profiled to the culture. Orientals wanted lot of photos of their children on the boat, middle eastern were curious with lots of good questions. The west africans had eyes that wondered, which became a bit of a concern when they were more interested in our itinerary too, rather than who we were and what we were doing. Brazilians just seemed eager to get a dialogue going that was wheel and deal.

7:30 pm we were on our way out of Maynooth and soon caught up with the big barge, which turned out to be "Rambler", which was the boat used in Dick Warner's recent Royal Canal documentary series on a journey from Dublin to the Shannon. Here, it had sailed back up the Royal Canal and in need of serious engine repairs. We could not find out what was wrong or why this biggest boat on the canal was being towed by the smallest.

8:15 pm we arrived at Jackson's Bridge, lock 14, quite a stiff and awkward lock to operate so it took me awhile to get Kenmor through. This lock was unique as the bridge had a seperate tunnel for the horse towpath rather than the horse walk under the main bridge. I forgot to take a photo or two of this uniqueness.

Here a man, a bit grumpy, came out of his newly built lock side house and complained that I had filled the lock so we could move on. Apparently, every time the lock filled it started to flood his house too. Poor man, but I think the architect needs the rollocking with this one rather than a desired shut down of the waterways. This lock and canal has probably been here for more than 200 years before this senior man was born.

9:00 pm, we are away from lock 14 for our final very pleasant cruise of the day

9:25 pm we arrived at Chamber's Bridge, lock 15, but decided to not go through the lock but moored in before it. When I walked over the other side of the lock, I was surprised to see two of the flotilla, Selkie and Gypsie Queen, had gone ahead of us and were quietly moored here, no sign of their owners.

12 hours on the water through 8 locks and some great crusing in the sun, especially the always memorable other world "Deep Sinking" stretch, it was time for an instant deep sleep

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