A keen waterway's enthusiast based in Banagher never took the plunge to chug his craft off the Shannon at Shannonbridge and up the Suck Callows to our town’s Marina as he was advised by River gossip “ Not to”.
Derek Crawley took to Facebook to share his adventure on the River Suck and his post received numerous likes, shares and further positive comment from Boating enthusiasts, visitors and interested parties. A summary of his narrative is printed with his permission here:
“Don't go to Ballinasloe,” Is what they said to me. I have a boat and it is based in Banagher and over the years with even rental boats I never ventured up the river Suck. The reason, people put me off doing so was with comments like, you won't make it under the bridge, or there is nothing to see or do when you get to town”.
In fantastic sunshine, I decided to go to Ballinasloe via the River Suck to stay over on Friday night. We set off at 4:30pm with a plan to make the Poolboy lock around 7:30 -8pm. We got there at 7:45pm and the lock keeper was gone. I looked at the IWAI web site and it said it is open to 8:30pm weekdays. We called the number, no answer.
A fisherman on the bank made a phone call and within two minutes, the lock keeper came and without hesitation or moaning let us through. He did tell us that the times had changed and that there were notices, but I am not really on social platforms a lot to benefit from those updates. A nice guy, and a nice fisherman that went out of their way for which we are very thankful for.
The keeper told us that it might be a bit late to get food by the time we got to the Marina and suggested giving Brewery Lane Pub a call, they were good and so we did. The girl who answered was asked if we could book dinner for three people, but she explained that the Kitchen was closing, as it was now nearly 8:50pm. We said that “we were coming up the river and know we are a bit late”.
TThere was a slight silence and then she said “she would keep the kitchen open and ask the chef to stay’. I consider myself lucky to be a well-travelled person and I am struggling to remember a place in Ireland or abroad with people that have been as accommodating.
We had a great night in Ballinasloe, food was fantastic, service was excellent and to top it off there was entertainment downstairs in the Brewery Lane Pub. What was to be a respectful early night went on until 1am.
Next morning, we walked up to the town (which is stunning during the day) and found a lovely little café to have breakfast which was nice, and the staff were too. We went to the market, had a look around, chatted with the local vendors who were all nice to visitors and had a great time.
"I think it's important to acknowledge and say thanks when someone, some group or a town makes such an effort. People are always quick to complain I find, but never take the time to just recognise effort and you can see it when you go to Ballinasloe, how clean it is, how nice the people are, it has it all.
"Do go to Ballinasloe, is what I have already said to people, and I will be back to stay over and enjoy it again.” stated Derek Crawley.
It’s always nice to get a good review about our town Coyne responded with ‘Lock keeper Rory is a lovely guy and so helpful. It’s a lesson to you to not listen to other people and have your own adventure.’ Elizabeth Powell originally from Ballinasloe but now living in the UK echoed those views with her own comment “What lovely comments about Ballinasloe. A fresh pair of eyes and a lovely perspective.”
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