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Waterways Ireland advises all masters of vessels and waterways users on the Shannon Navigation that the timber jetty at Drummans Island on Lough Key will be closed for eight weeks from Friday 2 June for planned maintenance works.

Published in Inland Waterways

A symbolic journey by boat on Lough Key in Co Roscommon at the weekend marked the start of an ambitious project to update annals written by monks five centuries ago.

Curator and scribe Colum Stapleton has included references to the pandemic in the initial pages of an updated version of the Lough Key annals, which were first written by monks on the lake’s Holy Trinity island from the early 15th century to 1590.

Stapleton, curator of the cultural centre Brú Moytura, in nearby Lough Arrow, was part of a group that took eight pages of newly scripted annals on board the wooden vessel to the island on Saturday.

Holy water was collected by the group from the abbey before returning to Doone shore.

Renato Melo, Calligrapher; Colum Stapleton, Scribe, and Jessica Reid, paper maker/ ink maker, at Holy Trinity Island Abbey, Lough Key (Ce)Renato Melo, Calligrapher; Colum Stapleton, Scribe, and Jessica Reid, paper maker/ ink maker, at Holy Trinity Island Abbey, Lough Key (Ce) Photo: Brian Farrell

“There was a moment when we went really quiet as we the boat approached the island and saw the beautiful roofless abbey through the trees; amazing to think that it is still there intact since 1590,” Stapleton said.

The new Lough Key (Cé) annal is a “continuity of a line of annals stretching back over 1200 years since Eusebius first put quill to parchment in Constantinople in the year 303 AD”, he says.

Colum Stapleton, Renato Melo and Jessica Reid gather berrries for ink at Holy Trinity Island, Lough Key (Ce).Colum Stapleton, Renato Melo and Jessica Reid gather berrries for ink at Holy Trinity Island, Lough Key (Ce). Photo: Brian Farrell

As he explains, the annals are an annual record of global events painstakingly written and preserved by monks and scholars, starting with Eusebius in Constantinople.

Now, a national endeavour is being launched to fill the 432 years gap from the last Annal of 1590 to the start of 2022, he says.

The first line of the new annals reads: “In the IXth year of the IXth President Viking/Satirist O’hUiginn/ Chaintigh..”

There are pandemic references, including from March 2020, including

“20.16 March 13th Nepal shut Mount Everest which allowed her hulk up a metre higher.

0.17 Three days after, the opposite happened: Dow Jones Industrial Average tanks 2987.10.

20.18 St. Patricks Day. Lands of Schengen shut their ample borders.

No faction fights, nor floats, no tractors, nor mitred muppets banishing ophite cults, no rain-on-your-parades over all of Ireland.

201.9 March 23rd A third of the world keeping themselves to themselves. Like canaries testing atmos, folk start to sing at each other: ‘Want to Break Free’ particularly popular.

20.20 News anchors blamed a bat for the influential outbreak.

The bat-man virus came from the Middle of the Middle Kingdom, they made out.”

Harpist Sinead Ni Ghearailt, calligrapher Renato Melo, and calligrapher and paper maker/ ink maker Jessica Reid joined Stapleton, as did illustrator Cormac Cullinan.

Auriel Robinson, board member of Sligo Leader and owner of Seatrails Sligo, also attended. Sligo Leader funded a 90 page feasibility study into the project.

The formal welcome of the annals was performed by Dr Brian Lacey at the Scriptorium of Bru Moytura, a short distance from the north east corner of Lough Arrow.

"The writing of our ancient annals transformed Ireland from a pre-historic culture to one based on written evidence,”Dr Lacey said.

“ They are the longest continuous record of our history, and a distinctively Irish aspect even of our modern culture.”

“Our revived annals imagines to prolong the future of our culture, inspired from a time of ‘pestilence’ and a sense of disintegration,”Stapleton said.

He said that the project was seeking “top news items” that warranted inclusion in the update.

“Send us your twitter length newsy thoughts to [email protected] for what struck you as most needing logging for the future across 2021,” Stapleton said.

Stapleton said a secondary aim of the project was to write up the missing 432 years of recorded history since the annals were last worked on.

Handmade parchment paper with natural ink and calligraphy is being used for the update in a ‘scriptorium’ at Brú Moytura, he said.

He said an annals crowdfunding campaign would be launched early in 2022.

Renato Melo, Calligrapher; Colum Stapleton, Scribe; with the first page of the 2020 Annal at Doone Shore Lough Key (Ce).Renato Melo, Calligrapher; Colum Stapleton, Scribe; with the first page of the 2020 Annal at Doone Shore Lough Key (Ce). Photo: Brian Farrell

Published in Inland Waterways
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Waterways Ireland has advised masters and owners of vessels that low water levels exist on Lough Key, on the river section between Clarendon Lock to Tarmonbarry and on the river section in the vicinity of Meelick and Victoria Lock.

Water levels are currently below Summer levels in these areas.

Masters of vessels, particularly those with deep drafts, are advised to navigate with additional caution and to remain within the navigation at all times.

Published in Inland Waterways
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#InlandWaterways - Waterways Ireland advises masters and owners that a green starboardhand navigation mark is reported missing just south of Athlone Lock on the eastern side of the Shannon Navigation opposite the old Athlone Canal entrance.

Masters should proceed with caution when navigating this section of the river.

Elsewhere on the Shannon, a triathlon swimming training course is now set out in Lough Key between Castle Island and the mainland to the west, in an area off the navigable channel.

This will be in place until the end of September and is marked by four yellow buoys. When swimmers are on the course they will be accompanied by a safety boat and will be wearing high visibility swim hats.

Training will take place Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7am till 8am and Tuesday and Thursday from 6pm till 8pm. Masters are requested to navigate at slow speed and with a low wash when passing the area.

Further information may be had from Donal Kennedy of Lough Key Triathlon Club at 086 109 2626 or [email protected].

Meanwhile, a swimming event will take place on Sunday 9 June from Shannon Harbour to Banagher Harbour.

Masters are requested to navigate at slow speed and with a low wash when passing the area during the event, which will take place between 1pm and 3.30pm.

For more details contact Jerry O’Meara of Shannonside Sub Aqua Club at 087 776 4252 or [email protected].

Published in Inland Waterways

#loughkey – Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht officially opened the Lough Key Waterside Development on Thursday 6th September 2012. This new mooring and services facility at Lough Key Forest Park enhances the North Shannon as a major boating and tourism destination and maximises the full tourism and recreational potential of the park and the waterway.

The new development of floating jetties and marina accommodates 50 boats with low level access ramps provided for canoes and small boats. The service block of toilets and showers, pumpout and electricity bollards, meets international standards and is superb facility to be able to offer to the public. There is an 80 metre floating breakwater provided to protect the marina which can be expanded to 100m in winter.

Minister Deenihan said "This new waterside development at Lough Key Forest will certainly ensure that the long tradition of visitors to the lake and parklands will continue well into the future. Lough Key has for many centuries drawn people to its spectacular views, abundant wildlife, historic buildings and evocative islands. This beautiful landscape is steeped in a rich history.

I am also particularly pleased that all the various state agencies responsible for tourism and product development have come together to develop and market the waterways as a single entity. It allows greater and wider access for the waterways and their products to the various tourism markets. And as we know, tourism is a key element to the economic recovery of our country."

The Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure in the north, Carál Ní Chuilín said:

"This is a superb facility which will give a great boost to this region as a boating and tourist destination, and which exemplifies the benefits of all-Ireland development. Infrastructural expansion on an all-Ireland basis is good for the whole island, particularly in building sustainable economic opportunities. DCAL, on behalf of the north's Executive, will continue to promote positive all-Ireland development and support the important work of agencies like Waterways Ireland."

In combination with other mooring facilities provided by Waterways Ireland throughout Lough Key, particularly at Boyle Harbour and 21 other areas throughout the lake this new facility will more than double the facilities and create the potential to attract large boat shows, festival events and water based activities to the area: Lough Key will become a truly international hub for tourism, recreation and business as seen by the recent Camp 101 with 10,000 Girl Guides from all over the world based here in July for over a week of activity.

Mr John Martin, Chief Executive, Waterways Ireland "Waterways Ireland is delighted to be able to provide this hugely expanded base for locals and tourists to engage in a range of soft adventure and leisure pursuits, including angling, boating/cruising, walking, and cycling. This will suit the 6500+ boats which visit Lough Key each year through Clarendon Lock and this number is expected to rise now that the facility is fully online"

Waterways Ireland designed and managed the project in partnership with

Roscommon County Council, and Moylurg Rockingham Ltd with funding from

Fáilte Ireland, Waterways Ireland and Roscommon Co Co. totalling €875,000.

Gordon Gaffney, Investment Manager at Fáilte Ireland said:

"While value for money and a high quality customer experience are an important part of selling Ireland as a destination both at home and abroad, ensuring our regions are fully equipped to cater for visitors is equally a crucial aspect to developing tourism in Ireland. Through our capital investment programme, we have provided over half a million Euro towards this project and the development is a welcome new addition to the facilities at Lough Key."

One of the challenges for Waterways Ireland is to unlock and build on the recreational, social and economic benefits which reintegration of the inland navigable waterways in Ireland holds. This project is an example of how partnership, building on existing infrastructure and taking advantage of the beauty of the natural environment can provide the necessary platform to expand

the tourism potential of the area.

The development at Lough Key is yet another demonstration of the partnership approach of the Lakelands and Inland Waterways Initiative between Fáilte Ireland, Waterways Ireland and other agencies. The Initiative has over the past four years placed Ireland's Inland Waterways at the centre of the tourism offering both at home and abroad. The Initiative has 3 pillars, i.e., Destination Development, Product Development and a Marketing Programme. The Lakeland and Inland Waterways Initiative brings many benefits to Waterways Ireland and the waterways. Economies of scale through the pooling of resources and the elimination of duplication of initiatives are also of major benefit.

Published in Inland Waterways

Lough Key, Erris Bay, Aids to Inland Waterways Navigation

Waterways Ireland wishes to advise masters of vessels that the area of Erris Bay i.e. South of the line from the entrance to Boyle Harbour to Trinity Island to the west point of Drummans Island is closed to navigation.

Works to replace navigations markers is being undertaken and a marine notice will be issued on completion which is expected to be near the end of February 2011.

Waterways Ireland regrets any inconvenience that this may cause its customers

Charles Lawn
Lt Cdr (rtd)
Inspector of Navigation
12 Jan 2011
Tel: 00 353 (0)90 6494232

Published in Inland Waterways