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#InlandWaters - A pipeline from the Shannon may be the solution for future water supply demands in Dublin and the Midlands.

But critics have expressed "deep concern" over its potential effects on boating tourism and biodiversity throughout the Shannon system.

Irish Water today (Thursday 26 November) announced that the Parteen Basin on the Shannon, close to the ESB's hydroelectric plant at Ardnacrusha, is its preferred option for the supply point of a 165km pipeline to serve a growing population in Midlands and East Coast counties, as RTÉ News reports.

Around 2% of water that would otherwise be used for power generation at the Ardnacrusha plant would be taken for distribution to a region that already comprises 40% of Ireland's population and is expanding rapidly, according to TheJournal.ie.

However, the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) claims that Irish Water's option does not account for the effects on water levels throughout the Shannon system.

"The preferred option of abstraction from Parteen Basin provides for all year round abstraction. This means that in good weather as water levels decrease on the Shannon it will also have to meet the increased water supply needs of Irish Water," said the IWAI in a statement.

"This will see further decreases in water levels all along the entire Shannon as the level is maintained in Parteen Basin to supply water and electricity."

Loss of boating traffic to the region and threats to already vulnerable waterways habitats are key concerns expressed by the IWAI, which has itself suggested desalinisation of coastal waters as an option for future needs.

The association also notes that Irish Water's neglecting to provide for surplus water storage "is a missed opportunity as it would allow for heavy abstraction during flood conditions and also provide a valuable resource to Midlands communities for new activities and enterprises."

A 10-week public consultation is now underway on Eastern and Midlands Region Water Supply Project, with more details available HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#Rescue - Three teenagers were rescued by Limerick emergency services on Friday night (11 September) as their boat drifted out of the city along the River Shannon, as BreakingNews.ie reports.

The small fishing boat has experienced engine trouble and run out of fuel, leaving the three on board adrift till they were retrieved and their boat towed to safety.

It was the second callout to the river on Friday for the Limerick City Fire and Rescue Service, after a man fell into the river from Sarsfield Bridge in the early hours.

BreakingNews.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#Rescue - A life buoy thrown by an elderly passer-by helped save the life of a drowning man in the River Shannon at the weekend, as TheJournal.ie reports.

The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon (11 July) at the Shannon Bridge in Limerick city centre, where the elderly man spotted a man in his 40s enter the water near St Michael’s Rowing Club and threw him the life ring from the bridge walkway - keeping him afloat till emergency services arrived.

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#Shannon - A teenage boy has died after getting into difficulty while swimming in the River Shannon in Athlone yesterday (Wednesday 10 June), as RTÉ News reports.

The 14-year-old was recovered from the water near the Athlone Sub Aqua Club after a short search by club members and Coosan Point lifeboat volunteers.

But he later died in hospital after being transferred from Portincula to Temple Street.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#RiverShannon - A documentary on the natural history of the River Shannon has won the top award at the 'Green Oscars'.

Originally broadcast on RTÉ television as The Secret Life of the Shannon, the film On A River In Ireland also took the gongs for best cinematography and best script at the 2014 Wildscreen Film Festival in Bristol.

The awards organisers described the winning film as “a beautifully conceived film where the script, photography, music and editing create a magical hour, reconnecting us with nature in a way that very few films do today.”

On A River In Ireland follows Colin Stafford Johnson on a journey along the River Shannon, the longest river in the British Isles. 

The film was shot over two years and features extraordinary animal behaviour captured with the very latest camera technologies.

And it has already enjoyed great success, winning three awards at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Festival, including best overall film.

Speaking after the win, director John Murray said: “My father grew up on the banks of the Shannon and to me as a child it was as wide and mysterious as the Amazon.

"In this film we tried to capture some of the wild animals and natural wonders that lie unseen under our very noses. It’s hugely gratifying that a film featuring Ireland’s wildlife would win against all comers from around the world, and a huge thanks to the team and everyone who helped us around the country.”

On A River In Ireland was made with the support of RTÉ, the BAI, ESB, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Waterways Ireland and the Heritage Council, and produced with the support of investment incentives for the Irish film industry provided by the Government of Ireland​.

Published in Inland Waterways

#TriAthlone - This Saturday 5 July sees the return of Ireland's original town-centre triathlon, the Waterways Ireland TriAthlone, for its ninth edition on the River Shannon.

Yesterday the local organising committee were joined by Triathlon Ireland vice-president Tony Daley and Charles Lawn, inspector of navigation with Waterways Ireland, to launch this year's event, which will see the return of the Vodafone Triathlon Ireland Sprint Series, alongside the Paratriathlon National Championship, which has found its home in Athlone since the hosting of a record-breaking European Championships in 2010.

As for the main event, 2013 Athlone European Junior Cup Champion and former World Junior Championships Bronze medalist Con Doherty leads the field and is favourite to be crowned champion this year, but certainly not without a challenge.

The day promises an exciting spectacle, with the genuine stars of the future battling it out in the River Shannon and on the streets of the Midlands town for national honours.

With almost every county in Ireland represented and up to 15,000 spectators expected to line the streets, Athlone is gearing up for yet another great triathlon.

And this year spectators can track triathletes as they make their way around the course via a free app for smartphones. Details of how to get the app are available at www.triathlone.com.

The Waterways Ireland TriAthlone begins with a swim in the River Shannon, from which the competitors will then take to their bikes for a cycle through South Co Roscommon before the exciting towncentre run which will see the event finish in the heart of Athlone.

Speaking about the event, chairman Liam Heavin said: "2014 promises to be another very exciting year in Athlone, and it's a privilege for us to host the top national athletes as part of the Vodafone National Series. This has been a team effort and couldn't be achieved without the support of Waterways Ireland and Westmeath County Council.

"We would like to encourage as many people as possible to come along and support the event this weekend!"

Published in Inland Waterways

#shannon – A new festival named in honour of a Limerick man who famously completed a solo circumnavigation of the world will take place along the banks of the River Shannon in Limerick City on Sunday June 8th next.

Organised and funded by the Mid West Regional Authority (MWRA) through its participation in a European Programme for developing and promoting the watersports sector in Europe's Atlantic Area, the 'Pat Lawless Sail and Oar Festival' will celebrate Limerick's status as a riverside city and will feature a series of events on the river.

For spectators gathered on either side of the river at Harvey's Quay and Clancy Strand, there will be Rowing and Sailing Regattas, a historic kayak tour of Limerick City and a Gandelow boat demonstration.

The late Pat Lawless made international headlines in 1996 when the then 70-year-old sailed his 30-foot vessel, the Seadog, up the Shannon Estuary on the final leg of his 30,000-mile around the world voyage. Mr. Lawless, who was from the South Circular Road and was a member of the Iniscealtra Sailing Club in Mountshannon, passed away in 2010.

Majella O'Brien, EU Projects Officer with the MWRA explained that the upcoming festival is part of its ongoing efforts through the NEA2 project to develop and promote the watersports sector in the Mid West Region.

"Lough Derg, the River Shannon and the Estuary are intrinsically linked with the economic and social history of this region. The potential of these waterways for tourism development remains underexplored however. By hosting the 'Pat Lawless Sail and Oar Festival" we want to demonstrate this potential to our European project partners," she said.

Ms. O'Brien continued: "Through our participation in the NEA2 programme and by working in conjunction with other regional development agencies, the MWRA will continue to look for new ways that this region can build on existing marine leisure initiatives to help inform and develop new opportunities for sustainable development of water sports on our rivers, lakes and coastline. In doing so, we could attract thousands of additional visitors to the Mid West Region each year."

"We are particularly delighted to be able to host a river festival in honour of Pat Lawless whose crossings of the Atlantic Ocean and solo circumnavigation of the world brought great pride to Limerick and the wider region," she concluded.

The 'Pat Lawless Sail and Oar Festival' takes place in Limerick City on Sunday June 8th next. 

Published in Maritime Festivals

#News - A body has been recovered by divers from the River Shannon in Limerick city today (4 October), as RTÉ News reports.

Divers with Limerick Search and Rescue had been taking part in the major search operation for missing teenager Chloe Kinsella when they made the grim discovery before noon near Thomond Bridge in the city.

Though the body has yet to be formally identified, it is feared to be the 15-year-old who went missing from her home in the city last Saturday 28 September.

Published in News Update

#Drowning - The Irish Times reports that the body of a man who fell into the River Shannon while on a night out in Athlone has been recovered.

The victim, in his 50s, was with friends when he apparently slipped off the wall of Town Bridge late last night (7 September). A postmortem is due and Gardaí are investigating the incident.

Published in News Update

#Canoeing - The Longford Leader reports on a recent canoeing adventure by four college students along the River Shannon to fundraise for the Irish Cancer Society.

The four set off from the Shannon Pot in Co Cavan, giving themselves 10 days to reach the Shannon Estuary at Limerick - more than 250km away.

And amazingly, they completed the challenge with two days to spare!

The Longford Leader has much more in the story HERE.

Published in Canoeing
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