Consultancy fee? No, it’s OK, thanks ….

How A N Other and I saved the Irish waterways … or at least suggested how Waterways Ireland should approach British narrowboaters.

2 responses to “Consultancy fee? No, it’s OK, thanks ….

  1. Harry Arnold - Waterway Images

    Sorry – the commission on the ‘idea’ of bringing British narrowboaters to Ireland has been claimed. You may recall that, following planning during 1995, Waterway Images worked with both Irish governments, tourist boards, officers of the Shannon-Erne scheme (now senior officers of Waterways Ireland), etc. to ship over a dozen or so narrowboats for a ‘grand celebratory cruise’ in 1996 through the Shannon-Erne and parts of the Erne and Shannon system. We even got an EEC grant for it! There are still massive files in records in Ireland and England on how to do it. A number of the boats came back but other stayed for most of the year and a couple are still in Ireland. The arrangements we set up with a particular boatyard in England and Stena has since been used quite a number of times over the years.
    I picked up a copy of the said WI leaflet from the Birmingham NEC show and would say that – although it is very useful – I wish they had consulted us first; because we could have added more useful hints and tips.
    However, as a magazine editor, I have learned not to publish claims that “we were the first to do this, or the first or last boat along a particular waterway”, as someone immediately writes and claims that they did it first – just like I am doing now!
    Also, as most Irish hire boats were built in England, people have been shipping inland waterway craft over the Irish Sea for many years, and some have also actually made the sea voyage under their own power.
    Harry Arnold

  2. Hi, Harry. I remember your own visit, and those of others including my fellow-contributor. I have also written about several of the visitors, including the Wildernii and the chap who sailed a narrowboat from Canada.

    However, the gist of our proposal was not that British boaters should visit (because, as you have said and we knew, several had done so) but that Waterways Ireland should actively seek British boating visitors. We wanted WI to take action: they should, we said, market Irish waterways directly to British narrowboaters, rather than selling to cruiser-owners or responding to proposals such as your own or that of the Wilderness gang. Until its recent endeavour, WI has not (AFAIK) directly addressed the narrowboaters. Even now I don’t think it gives proper attention to the canals: WI’s Lakelands and Inland Waterways Strategy stops at Mullingar (Royal Canal) and Athlone (Grand Canal), while the small hire-firms further east feel themselves neglected — and there seems to be no proper plan for exploiting the Royal.

    Still, I think we would be open to paying you part of our commission as a finder’s fee, and we’ll do that as soon as we get it …. Alternatively, I’ll buy you a pint when you’re next in these parts. bjg

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