#Heritage - Some 119 years after she first plied her trade as a cargo boat on Ireland's inland waterways, heritage boat number 4E has been pressed back into service to make a special delivery to Enniskillen.
Some weeks ago, in Tullamore Harbour on a bright May morning, an ancient Bolinder engine was loaded onto 4E's front deck, and so began a journey that will take three months along various canals and rivers, eventually leading to the delivery of her cargo to the Waterways Ireland headquarters in Enniskillen.
Early in the last century the Bolinder engine replaced the tow-path heavy horses as the means of propulsion for these trading boats. This engine is being presented on extended loan by the Heritage Boat Association (HBA) to Waterways Ireland for display in their headquarters.
It was thought only fitting that the engine would be delivered by a heritage cargo boat, thus saluting the hundreds of boats and their crews who worked on the inland waterways over the centuries.
The journey continued west along the Grand Canal to the River Shannon, where 4E turned north to Athlone and onward through Lough Ree to Carrick-on-Shannon. Travelling north-east, the boat and cargo then traversed the Shannon-Erne Waterway via the Woodford River to Lough Erne.
Last weekend 4E and her cargo were due in Shannon Harbour, close to Banagher, to attend the Shannon Harbour Canal Boat Rally. This annual rally, which took place over the weekend of 20-22 June, was organised by the Shannon Harbour branch of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI).
There she was joined there by many other heritage cargo boats, most of which were also set to travel on to Enniskillen as part of the heritage fleet.
Members of the HBA are particularly interested in meeting with people whose families would have had connections with the commercial trade on the canals and rivers. For information contact Paul Martin at [email protected]