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Irish Summer Tour 2007

Index

20 - Limerick to Ballina - Limerick and Shannon Navigations, inc Ardnacrusha and Abbey River.

Click here for maps of the Killaloe to Limerick Waterway.

Tuesday 10th July 2007

It was not good news for the turbine situation at Ardnacrusha, Gerry said that three would be running for most of the week. Neil decided to go for it, so booked Ardnacrusha Lock for 14:25, which was high water Limerick. We took an hour getting down from Adrnacrusha, ambling along, so Neil thought we should allow at least an hour and a half, so decided we should leave Limerick around 13:00. The tide may not have backed the flow coming down Abbey River by that much at that time, but at least if we managed to crawl up the start of Abbey River, we would have the extra time to get to Ardnacrusha, before the tide turned.
In the morning we checked out the Sarsfield half tide sea lock, just below the Custom House Moorings. The Sarsfield Swing Bridge, over the tail of the lock is now fixed, so incoming craft have to wait on the pontoon in the holding basin below the lock, until the tide was low enough to get under the bridge and into the lock. About 12:30 a large GRP cruiser came up the lock and due to his high air draught, had to go through the Abbey River, just before the tide crested the weir. With the considerable flow coming down from the three turbines running and no help from the incoming tide, it was an impressive spectacle as the boat went through the narrow centre arch of Mathew Bridge. There was puffs of black smoke, as the turbo's worked and the wall of water that the boat pushed ahead was most impressive, this of course, got us wondering if we could repeat the feat!
Come 13:00 Brian had dropped off Ian, his son, for the voyage back up to Ardnacrusha and he departed to find vantage points to take photos. Rather unsurprisingly Neil was at the controls. We had warmed up Earnest's engine for half an hour before, as we had been told that the worse bit was as soon as we pushed off, through Mathew Bridge and the Abbey River. It certainly was!...Earnest took a good few minutes to drag itself through Mathew Bridge, with tremendous waves behind, as water was pumped through the bridge hole. It surprised Neil that although we had little ponding up effect, seeing as the tide had only just crested the weir, Ernest did us proud, without having to resort to full power, probably due to the barge stern taking water from underneath and that Earnest is narrow and had the room in the bridge hole to drag water past.
The Abbey River past the pontoons up to Baal's Bridge was traversed at snails pace, by now we had a few gongoozlers. Once through Baal's Bridge, things improved and Neil began to cheat the current and go on the inside of the bends. From O'Dwyers Bridge we settled down to 2200rpm and had a reasonable slog until the Shannon section was reached.
Yet again there was stronger current, just above the railway bridge, between the markers. Because there was still a fair bit of water coming down the Shannon, things actually improved when we got in the Tailrace, again Neil cheated the current in a lot of places, by going on the inside of Bends. Brian got some particularly good shots of Earnest from Parteen Bridge. Finally the slog was over, as we left the Headrace and got into the tranquil canal, up to the waiting pontoon and lock at Ardnacrusha. Because of a whirlpool in the entrance to the cut, Neil kept the power on until we were well into the canal.
We moored up on the pontoon at 14:10, it had taken us 10 minutes longer to get up, than our amble on the way down! Because of our early arrival the relief lock keeper was not about, Neil foned Gerry and he said he would get the lads down as soon as possible. Brian Goggin was about on the lock upper gantry and eventually the ESB lads arrived.
The bottom guillotine was soon raised and at 14:40 we entered the chamber. Ardnacrusha is definitely a more impressive passage coming up, as the whole structure looms in front of you. Brian took many, many photos. Ian stayed with us until we were up in the lower chamber, as the water level is fairly near the top of the chamber, something which is not the case at the top. After saying our good-byes we left the lock in a spirited fashion (seeing as we did not know what pull the flow to the turbines would exert) at 15:50, plenty of time to get to Ballina in the light.
It was a long slog up the Headrace, but seeing as we had the time we just pootled along and enjoyed the scenery. As we approached the Boat Pass in the Headrace Weir an ESB bod waved, presumably he closed the boat pass behind us, we never did see it go down. So it was through the Boat pass at 17:45 and arrival at Ballina at 18:35.
It certainly was a bit different coming through Killaloe Bridge, we had to have a blast of power to avoid contact with the bouncy deflector buoys above, As we circled around the Ballina side, we spotted one mooring slot, right at the end, where we just fitted. Not the most wonderful of moorings, shelving gabions of stones, so we had to sink the tyre fenders below the water surface. Brian Goggin came out to meet us and brought his camera card for Neil to download the days images. That evening we had fish and chips on board, followed by an amble into Ballina, to the wonderful Tara's Speciality Beer House, where Guinness was NOT the order of the day. Neil tried the Carlow Brewery Company Stout and a hand pumped English style ale.


Departure from Limerick up the Abbey River. Three turbines running at Ardnacrusha, the incoming tide has crested the weir and we have 1.5 hours to get to the dam before high water! Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Earnest gets dug into the flow...and it is slow going! Abbey River. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Getting started up the Abbey River. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Approaching the worst bit, Mathew Bridge. Abbey River. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


The flow and water that Earnest drags through Mathew Bridge. Abbey River. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Mathew Bridge. Abbey River. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Mathew Bridge. Abbey River. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Mathew Bridge. Abbey River. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Phew!...we don't want too much more like this! Looking back at Mathew Bridge. Abbey River. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


The section between Mathew Bridge and Baal's Bridge was rather slow. Abbey River. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Baal's Bridge. Abbey River. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Earnest approaching Baal's Bridge. Abbey River. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Approaching O'Dwyer's  Bridge, at this point we start to cheat the current , by going on the inside of bends. Abbey River. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


O'Dwyer's  Bridge. Abbey River. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


O'Dwyer's  Bridge. Abbey River. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Abbey River. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Abbey River. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Abbey River. Bow Waves - R - Us! Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


We pass the waiting pontoon. Abbey River. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Exiting Abbey River, to turn right, up the Shannon section. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Exiting Abbey River, to turn right, up the Shannon section. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Shannon section, looking back at the railway bridge. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ho hum...just another days thrash on the water. Neil and Ian Goggin. Shannon section. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


We have just entered the Ardnacrusha Dam Tailrace section. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ardnacrusha Dam Tailrace. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ardnacrusha Dam Tailrace. Parteen Bridge. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ardnacrusha Dam Tailrace section. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ardnacrusha Dam Tailrace section. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ardnacrusha Dam Tailrace section. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ardnacrusha Dam Tailrace section. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ardnacrusha Dam Tailrace section. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ardnacrusha Dam Tailrace section. We are shifting a lot of water passed the boat! Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ardnacrusha Dam Tailrace. The dam comes into view. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ardnacrusha Dam Tailrace section. Nearly at the tranquillity of the approach channel to the lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ardnacrusha Dam Tailrace section. Only a few more yards to the approach channel to the lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Whirlpool at the entrance to the approach channel to the lock. Leaving the Tailrace of the Ardnacrusha Dam. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Approach channel to the Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


View from the dam as Earnest enters the approach channel to the Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


View from the dam of Earnest in the approach channel to the Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


A relieved Commode D'Or.


Phew!...we made it and only 10 minutes longer that our trip down. The Ardnacrusha Dam Lock lower waiting pontoon. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Brian Goggin gets some pictures of the ESB M barge. Ardnacrusha Dam. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Brian Goggin gets some pictures of the ESB M barge. Ardnacrusha Dam. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Brian Goggin gets some pictures of the Ardnacrusha Dam gantry equipment room. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


The guillotine raises, beckoning us into the lower chamber of the Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


We enter the Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


All manner of ESB bods watch the spectacle.


The lower guillotine closes. Ardnacrusha Dam Lock bottom chamber. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ardnacrusha Dam Lock bottom chamber. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ardnacrusha Dam Lock bottom chamber. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ardnacrusha Dam Lock bottom chamber. The void at the side allows excess water to a side spillway. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ardnacrusha Dam Lock top chamber, looking back at the bottom guillotine gate. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ardnacrusha Dam Lock bottom chamber. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ardnacrusha Dam Lock bottom chamber. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Nearly up in the Ardnacrusha Dam Lock bottom chamber. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Nearly up in the Ardnacrusha Dam Lock bottom chamber. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Up in the Ardnacrusha Dam Lock bottom chamber. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Three turbines running. Ardnacrusha Dam.


The centre guillotine being raised. Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Mid position control point for the Ardnacrusha Dam Lock.


Top position control point for the Ardnacrusha Dam Lock.


Brian Goggin and the relief lock keeper watch from on high as we enter the upper chamber. Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


The upper chamber. Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


The upper chamber. Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


We are in the upper chamber, looking back at the lower chamber. Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


The upper chamber. Looking back at the centre guillotine gate. Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


The upper chamber. Looking back at the centre guillotine gate. Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


The upper chamber. Looking back at the disappearing centre guillotine gate. The crash bar moves up with the level of the water. Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


The upper chamber. There are not many locks with a view like this! Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Looking down at Earnest in the upper chamber. Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Looking down at the upper chamber. Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Looking down at Earnest, nearly up in the upper chamber. Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Looking down at Earnest, nearly up in the upper chamber. Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Ian Goggin has left the boat, Brian is still snapping away. Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Earnest about to leave the upper chamber of Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Earnest leaving the upper chamber of Ardnacrusha Dam Lock, with some gusto, as we do not know what draw to expect from the turbine intakes. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Looking back at the upper chamber of Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Looking back at Ardnacrusha Dam Lock. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Approaching the Headrace Weir, the boat pass is up. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Approaching the Headrace Weir boat pass. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


The Headrace Weir, the ESB bod is waiting to close the boat pass. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


The Headrace Weir. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


Approaching Killaloe Bridge. Limerick - Killaloe Waterway.


We find a mooring just long enough on the Ballina side. Shannon Navigation.

The Tour Continues...


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