If you’re anywhere near Athlone, hie thee to the Lough Ree Yacht Club at 8.00pm on Wednesday 22 October 2014 for the Old Athlone Society meeting. It features Paul Clements, who has just written a biography of Richard Hayward, author (amongst many other roles) of (amongst many other books) Where the River Shannon Flows, a book that should be in every Irish waterways person’s library.
The evening includes a showing of the film of the same name, which (though short) is highly evocative. WW2 was declared as the filming team reached Portumna. There is some very good footage of the Foynes flying-boats.
Posted in Ashore, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Non-waterway, Operations, People, Sea, Shannon, shannon estuary, Sources, Tourism, Water sports activities, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged flow, Ireland, LRYC, Old Athlone Society, Paul Clements, Richard Hayward, Shannon, Where the River Shannon Flows
I wrote here about a Slaney cot, built by Larry Duggan, which we had spotted on its way to Wales. The owner has very kindly sent some more photos of the cot’s construction, of Larry Duggan and of the cot on the Usk; I have put them on a separate page here.
Posted in Built heritage, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Foreign parts, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, People, waterways
Tagged boats, cot, Larry Duggan, Slaney, Usk, vessels, waterways, Wexford
From the Financial Resolutions speeches:
I am committed to developing North-South co-operation within the broader arts, heritage and commemorative activities of my Department as well as through the funding of North-South bodies. A provision of more than €38 million is made available to support the two North-South implementation bodies — An Foras Teanga and Waterways Ireland. These budgets will be subject to the approval of the North South Ministerial Council in due course. The provision will enable Waterways Ireland to keep the waterways open for navigation during the main boating season and promote increased use for recreational purposes while developing and promoting our waterways to attract increased numbers of overseas visitors.
Nothing new there, I think, but note the repetition of a point I highlighted last year:
The provision will enable Waterways Ireland to keep the waterways open for navigation during the main boating season [...].
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Canals, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Foreign parts, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Irish waterways general, Operations, People, Politics, Shannon, Sources, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged boats, budget, canal, department of arts heritage and the gaeltacht, financial resolution, Heather Humphreys, Ireland, Operations, Shannon, waterways, Waterways Ireland
I am grateful to Waterways Ireland for letting me have the Shannon traffic figures for September 2014.
Regular readers may wish to skip this section
All the usual caveats apply:
- the underlying figures do not record total waterways usage (even for the Shannon) as, for instance, sailing, fishing or waterskiing on lakes or river stretches, which did not involve a passage through a lock or Portumna Bridge, would not be recorded
- the passage records would not show, for instance, a change in the balance of types of activities from those in larger cruising boats to those in smaller (sailing, fishing, waterskiing) boats
- figures like these will not necessarily be representative of those for the year as a whole. The winter months, January to March, see little traffic in any year; for April, May and June, the weather can have a large influence on the amount of activity especially, I suspect, in private boats.
On the other hand, the figures do include the Shannon’s most significant tourism activity, the cruiser hire business. And they are our only consistent long-term indicator of usage of the inland waterways.
Total (private + hired) traffic for the first nine months of each year
Not a lot to say: slightly down on last year, but the numbers for the last three years have been fairly even.
Private-boat traffic for the first nine months of each year
Note that the vertical scale is truncated, which exaggerates the scale of the changed. The good weather, especially in July and September, doesn’t seem to have resulted in a continuation of last year’s improvement.
Hire-boat traffic for the first nine months of each year
Not much change from last year, but it’s the lowest nine-month figure in my records.
Percentages of 2003 levels
Percentages of 2003 levels
The nine-month figure for private boats is the second-lowest in my records (2012 was lowest) despite the good weather. The hire-boat figure is the lowest in my records, but the pace of decline seems to have levelled off.
Private -v- hired
Still roughly 50/50
Nothing very encouraging there, alas.
Posted in Economic activities, Extant waterways, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Operations, Shannon, Sources, Tourism, Water sports activities, waterways, Waterways management, Weather
Tagged bridge, hire boats, Ireland, lock, Operations, passage, private boats, Shannon, traffic, vessels, waterways, Waterways Ireland
Here’s a piece of uninformative information.
I’ve written before about Waterways Ireland’s pension scheme and the burden it imposes on the organisation’s current expenditure. I also pointed out that WI’s current staff would be required to pay more into their pension scheme.
The Dáil exchange to which I linked above (a Labour TD asking a question of a Labour minister) seems to discuss one part of the problem but not the other. The minister says that he is happy with the increase in pension contributions. However, he is providing an escape route for [southern] employees of Waterways Ireland: they can elect to
revert to what is called ‘Reserved Rights’ status which is effectively the standard southern public service terms.
I do not know whether that is a contributory or a non-contributory scheme; there may be different provisions for officers and servants.
There is no information about those who were formerly employed by Northern Ireland public sector bodies or those who joined Waterways Ireland without previous public sector employment north or south.
Finally, the minister provided no information about the effect of a mass withdrawal on the North/South Pension Scheme or, more importantly, on Waterways Ireland’s budget. I am unable to work out what the consequences might be; I hope that WI is not left to pay out large pensions to retired staff out of a reduced pension fund and declining grant income from the governments.