Monday, June 17, 2013

Shannonbridge - At a free dock

                            An Irish pastoral scene along the River Shannon

We saw a better view of the countryside today. Lots of rolling hills, lush pastures, grazing animals and even a few fisherman. Except for the design of the houses, parts of the land close to the River Shannon could pass for Dutchess county farmland. One major difference however is in the temperatures (50's and 60's year round) and rain. We haven't had a rain free day yet. The weather forecast always reads the same, showers with highs in the 60's for the next three days, then clearing with sun. The next day it's the same, the day with sun is always the fourth day out! It's been like that for the past two weeks, you think it'll get better in a few days but it ever does. We wear a light jacket with a sweatshirt underneath while topside steering the boat, the showers never last longer than a few minutes. We do have the option of steering below, inside the boat but the view is not as good. 

                               Clonmacnoise has endured since the 6th century

Our first stop was at Clonmacnoise, a 6th century monastic settlement. It had to contend with the Viking raiders, other Irish in the area and the last straw was a visit from the English who stole everything, even the glass out of the windows. It's a wonder there's anything left. It seems so much easier to plunder and destroy than build, too bad. 

                        The bridge at Shannonbridge was built to repel an invasion by Napoleon

Our last stop was at Shannonbridge. The English built a fort here in the expectation that Napoleon was going to invade from the west (they were friendly to Napoleon) and march on Dublin. As it turned out, the invasion never happened and now there's a tourist attraction, the completed fort. There's a pub in town that's been in continuous use since 1800 so we plan on having a pint to celebrate (don't know just what we're celebrating but we'll find something, no problem after some Guinness.