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People are being advised to mind their pets on South Lough Ree as a toxic algae is present in the water of this inland waterway. Westmeath Co Co is putting up warning signs in the area after a recent occurrence of a toxic algae bloom poisoned a dog.
Westmeath County Council is warning people about the dangers of the algae for animals which forms during spells of dry weather with little or no wind.
Cllr Kevin 'Boxer' Moran told the Westmeath Independent that the dog's owner approached both himself and the council to alert them to the danger and said it was a tragic thing to happen any pet lover. The man had also been swimming, but was not affected by the algae.
Published in Inland Waterways

Over 500 boaters gathered to welcome the President and Dr McAleese. President of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland. Inland Association president Paul Garland said “The McAleese family is no stranger to the River Shannon. Most of us have had their friendly wave as they pass by and I know that they share that special joy we all have by simply being on the river”


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On a typical wet Irish morning, President McAleese officially opened the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland 50th Shannon Boat Rally, Saturday 24th July in Carrick on Shannon.

In her address, the President recalled her first boating experience on Lough Ree – “Martin and I were only baby boaters at that time – as we met our first four foot wave, our son Justin – who had little faith in our boating skills – called on us to contact the coastguard!” Reflecting on the significance of the River Shannon to the towns, villages and communities along its route, the President said “from this silver garland – our river Shannon – you see Ireland from a different perspective”

Over 140 boats, barges and sailing cruisers crewed by over 500 people will spend the next two weeks holidaying on the River Shannon bringing much needed business to the many small towns and villages along the banks of the Shannon. The two largest towns on the river - Carrick on Shannon and Athlone along with Waterways Ireland – have invested significantly in the river’s navigation, harbours and facilities which makes boating a pleasure for the Shannon Rally. The Shannon Rally goes from strength to strength said Commodore of the 50th rally, Donal O’Siocháin, with more and more people choosing to holiday in Ireland on our rivers – year on year.

President McAleese concluded by thanking the IWAI volunteers – “the custodians of the river, the champions of the river – who cherish the river – they have taught us to be careful of the river – to keep it for the next generation.

Commodore Donal O’Siocháin presented President McAleese a specially commissioned Leitrim crystal plate engraved with the rally emblem and a copy of the newly launched book “Stories of a River” - commemorating 50 years of the Shannon Boat Rally. Vice Commodore Tom Meegan presented Dr McAleese with a bottle of single malt Irish whiskey – one of only 292 bottles matured at Kilbeggan’s Locke’s Distillery especially for the Shannon Rally.

The event was attended by Frank Dolan Cathaoirleach Leitrim County Council, County Manager Leitrim County Council - Jackie Maguire, and Waterways Ireland Chief Executive Waterways Ireland - John Martin.


The full text of IWAI President, Paul Garland's speech, and Rally Commodore Donal O'Siocháin's speech follow.


Opening Addresses of IWAI President, Paul Garland

President, Cathaoirleach, Commodore, Ladies and Gentlemen, we are deeply honoured here today by the President, Mary McAleese's attendance as we mark this moment the opening of the 50th Shannon Boat Rally.

The McAleese family are no strangers to the River Shannon. Most of us have had their friendly wave as they pass by and I know that they share that special joy we all have by simply being on the River. We thank them for their continuing support as members of our association.

I would like to thank Leitrim County Council and Lei trim Tourism for all their support and encouragement during my time as President of this association, and to take this opportunity to congratulate them on the recent improvements to Carrick, the county town.  I think you will agree it has never looked better.

Since Brian Boru brought a fleet of 300 boats up to Lough Ree from his base in Kincora in 1010 we have had 1000 years of recorded boating on the Shannon. I do not wish to compare the Shannon Boat Rally to a Raid on the Vikings but if the hat fits it's easy enough to add the horns.

Over the intervening years the Shannon and the connected waterways have influenced the many aspects of Irish life, people have lived beside it pre history, it has gone from Battle Field of Vikings to the Motorway of the industrial revolution, early monastic settlements show the holistic attract ion. By the 1930's it was giving a fledgling state electricity. It was in the early 1950's that the Shannon and Canal system saw its biggest threat. Years of decline led the government of the day to propose a Bridge Order, which would repeal the Shannon Navigation Act and allow initially a fixed low level Bridge at Athlone with Tarmonbarry and Roosky to follow. A campaign followed with a series of letters headed "Strangling the Shannon". The great friend of waterways and founder member of this association, Harry Rice, wrote "If a fixed Bridge was built it would lie functioning like so many planks across a Bog drain ,barring the passage of anything much bigger then a Lifeboat. If that happens, the closing ceremony of the Shannon will be preformed to the applause of its suicidal sponsors and the great River will sneak humbly through an ungrateful town that it could have helped to make a thriving city, neglected and forlorn, leaving behind its great future."

I am proud to read the words of our first President and of the insight that was shown by the man. Many of our founders have passed on but the legacy they have left us is celebrated every time we venture forth on what is recognised as the finest River in Europe.

It was not an easy time for these men of vision. They had each put a pound on the table and declared the association formed, Now What? Foremost was the right of navigation and the cruise of the Dragon Sailing Boat "Firedrake" is well recorded as its crew Vincent Delaney and Rory O'Hanlon assisted by the Sean Me Bride insisted with varying degrees of success that the Bridges were opened for their passage. This followed by a mission statement "To encourage water transport, to collaborate with tourism to encourage pleasure boating, to encourage Cruising under Sail and Power, t o publish Guides and compile historical and data records".

The next step was to commission a report into the establishment of a hire boat industry in 1953. Blakes, the Norfolk broads operator, admitted that the weather data was not encouraging and were quoted as saying that the Shannon would need a giant umbrella to make the hire boat business viable. George O’Brien Kennedy was certainly a man ahead of his time - he got me boating in the early 1960s and he was so free with his help that when a man from Guinness called Derek Dann came to his door he gave him the benefit of all his experience. That, coupled with the foresight of Carrick on Shannon people, Leitrim County Council and Fáilte Ireland lead Carrick to the enviable position of one of Inland Boating's Capital.

The campaign continued with improvements by the OPW, the Shannon Erne link, this years opening of the Royal Canal and of course, the planned Ulster Canal that will open Lough Neagh to southern boaters. The largest victory of all for this association is probably the least recognised and that was the establishment of Waterways Ireland under the Good Friday agreement. A well funded dedicated body with the mandate of improving and maintaining our waterways on the island of Ireland. All over Europe governments are slashing waterway authorities budgets, we are not totally unscathed but even compared to our neighbours in England who have lost 162 Million of their funds we are well placed to continue building on the success of recent years. We can never get complacent. Water abstraction, water quality, the need for a single authority are just some of the many issues facing us. Remember that all of our achievements are those of volunteers but today is probably what keeps us all members getting out on the River with friends and family.


A Uachlarain, A Chathaoirlig, A dhaoine Uaisle, Friends

To begin I must thank President McAleese for coming to open our 50th. Shannon Boat Rally. It is delightful to see the interest she shows in our inland waterways.

This Association was born in conflict, and that same conflict led to the institution of the first Shannon Rally in 1961. There was apian to use tow bridges for all crossings of the Shannon. This would have stopped all navigation on the river. The first Shannon Boat Rally was a continuation of the campaign to keep the navigation open. In this it was successful but it was successful in more ways than one as the ralliers discovered that this campaigning was fun . And so the Shannon Rally took off.

From the very early days it was decided that the Rally should also include an educational element, and the competitions ensued. The principle behind these was to improve the boat handling skills and knowledge of our members. The competitions have been supremely successful at this, even more so in that the ralliers discovered they also were fun.

Unfortunately many of our early ralliers are no longer with us but I am delighted to see some from the first Rally here with us today. Life was different in the early days. For starters the boats were so much smaller.

It was not unusual to see twelve boats or more in a lock together. Nowadays four is the maximum. Most ralliers camped out at night as they had no facilities for sleeping in the boats. There were many more sailing boats in the early days, indeed one participant in this Rally when entered in the second Rally sailed a dinghy from Athlone to Carrick and back to Athlone in one week, capsizing the boat for every bridge and power line. They were giants of men in those early days! There were also many more sailing and canal boats than we have seen in late years. I am delighted to note that the canal boats are making a welcome return to this historic Rally. It is a pity in ways that we have so few open boats entered in our modern Rallies. I suppose we are all too used to the good life.

The early Rallies had large numbers of boats attending, the second Rally for example had 150 boats. There was the campaigning element here of course, but there was also the fact that Esso gave free petrol to all entrants. I am not sure that all boats would have passed the safety parts of our current boat inspections!

The Shannon Rally goes from strength to strength. We entered in this Rally and I am looking forward to a great week of fun, competitions, music and companionship. I must finish up by thanking President McAleese for honouring us with her presence today. We are truly grateful. Thank you.

50th Rally Itinerary

The 50th rally begins on Friday 23 July and runs until Sunday 1st August. Boats will travel from all locations to arrive in Lanesborough by Friday evening 23rd for an informal start of the activities.

Friday 23rd July, Lanesborough Get together

Saturday 24th July, Carrick- on-Shannon - Opening of the Rally by President McAleese.

Sunday 25th July Cruise to Portrunny - Boating competitions en rout. Ecumenical service, Commodore’s wine and cheese reception

Monday 26th July Fleet rests at Portrunny - Competitions, dinghy sailing, zorbing, animal farm, table quiz

Tuesday 27th July Cruise to Lough Ree Yacht Club - Boating competitions en route BBQ, fancy dress for children and adults

Wednesday 28th July Fleet rests in LRYC - Competitions, commando competitions, dingy sailing, music, talent competitions for children and adults

Thursday 29th July Cruise to Lakeside Marina - Water sports, dingy sailing, RNLI Auction

Friday 30th July Fleet rests in Lakeside Marina - Land sports, prize giving, dingy sailing, 60’s Rock around the Dock

Saturday 31st July Cruise to Athlone - Informal night

Sunday 1st August Fleet rests in Athlone - Award Dinne, Sheraton Hotel, presentation of Premier and other professional trophies award.


Published in Inland Waterways

A makeshift raft, of wooden construction, floating low in the water has been reported in the vicinity of the entrance to the Scarriff river on the inland waterways.

Owners are requested to keep a sharp look-out and proceed at slow speed when in this area of the navigation.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland has commenced the first Phase of a Public Consultation programme on proposed new Bye-laws for all seven inland waterways under its remit. Bye-laws facilitate the management of a waterway, clearly outlining the roles and responsibility of Waterways Ireland and all the people involved in using the navigation, whether for recreational or commercial purposes.

It is intended that the proposed new Bye-Laws will reflect the breadth of modern day use of the waterways; bringing consistency in navigational rules across the waterway network. The new Bye-laws are also expected to facilitate waterway users understanding of their responsibilities in sharing this multi-functional environment. Whether the waterways users are in Killaloe (Shannon Navigation), Coleraine(Lower Bann), or Tullamore (Grand Canal) the same navigational rules will apply. Due to important differences in the enabling legislation in both jurisdictions as well as legislative and court procedures, Waterways Ireland will introduce the new Bye-laws separately in Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Waterways Ireland has considered global best practice, feedback from users and stakeholders and the individual characteristics of the different waterways in developing the new Bye-laws. Future proofing the Bye-laws has been an important feature of the drafting process to ensure they remain fit for purpose.

Phase 1 of the public consultation will be directed at stakeholders; groups who represent the interests of waterways users and organisations whose statutory remit could be affected. Stakeholders in each jurisdiction will receive the relevant Bye-laws for a 12 week consultation period. Copies of the Bye-laws of the other jurisdiction are available on request from Waterways Ireland HQ. Stakeholders are requested to hold internal discussions with their constituents before providing a single response to the draft Bye-laws.

The deadline for the end of Phase 1 of the Public Consultation is the 15th October 2010. Thereafter, the entire Bye-laws will undergo a further examination and revision, informed by the analysis of the responses received. Phase 2 will only commence once this full revision has taken place.

Phase 2 of the Public Consultation Programme is public meetings. These meetings will be held along each of the waterways and will be widely advertised and open to all who wish to attend.

Prior to Phase 2 of the consultation programme, copies of the revised Bye-laws will be downloadable from the Waterways Ireland website They will be distributed to all those attending the public meetings. Alternatively, they can be issued to individuals by email or post on request.

The completion of the public consultation programme will be followed by a further revision of the Bye-laws to take account of the points raised at the public meetings. The enactment of the legislation in each jurisdiction will follow.

For further information on Phase 1 or Phase 2 of the Public Consultation process contact  [email protected] or  Tel no +44 28 6634 6202.


Published in Inland Waterways

Powerboat Racing will take place at Haughton's Shore, Garadice Lake on the Shannon Erne inland Waterway from Sun 18th July 2010 from 09.00 hrs to 18.00 hrs.

Through traffic will be catered for between races. Waterways Ireland has requested Masters of vessels are requested to proceed at slow speed and with minimum wash when passing this stretch of the navigation and to heed any advice or instructions issued by the race officials.

Published in Inland Waterways

The Marine Casualty investigation board has issued its Report of Investigation into the grounding and subsequent foundering of an Emerald Star Line Caprice 8, a Charter boat, The boat ran aground on rocks in the vicinity of Mountaineer Rock, off Ryan's Point on Lough Derg, Co. Tipperary last October 9th. The four persons on board were taken off by the Portumna Fire and Rescue RIB and ferried across the lake to Williamstown Harbour. The vessel was noted to have been severely holed. The vessel was pulled off the rocks and subsequently sank while under tow. There were no fatalities and no pollution associated with this incident. A copy of the report can be downloaded below.

Published in MCIB

Waterways Ireland has issued an advisory to all masters and inland waterways users of the Shannon Navigation that the National Optimist Dinghy sailing event involving junior sailors will take place in and about Lough Ree Yacht Club (LRYC) on Sat 17th and Sun 18th July 2010 . Upwards of 200 sailing dinghies will be participating and will be making their way from LRYC to the racing course and back, on the southern part of Lough Ree.

Masters of vessels and boat are requested to proceed at slow speed and with minimum wash when passing the sailing fleet and to note any instructions or advice given by safety boats marshalling the race.

Published in Inland Waterways

Athlone Boat Club on the inland waterways will hold their annual regatta at Coosan Point, Athlone on Sat 26th. Jun 2010 from 08.00 hrs until 19.00hrs. Waterways Ireland requests Masters of vessels, boats and Personal Water Craft to note the advice of course marshals when passing near the course and to proceed at slow speed and with minimum wash so as not to upset racing boats with very low freeboard.


Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises the Shannon One Design annual long distance sailing race on the inland waterways will commence at 10.00 hrs on Sat 26th from Athlone Lock, overnight at Banagher and finish at Portumna Bridge on Sun 27th Jun 2010. The Shannon Inspector of Navigation has warned masters to give way to vessels and boats navigating by sail only. Full notice is attached.

Published in Shannon One Design

A route that follows the Grand Canal on the inland waterways being opened today provides access for walkers and cyclists from West Dublin right into Dublin centre. Details of the new route – that cost Euro 25 million – is in this morning's Irish Times by Paul Cullen here.

Published in Inland Waterways
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