Historic boats and barges visit Jamestown

A fleet of historical boats including a 167-year-old vessel built during the famine are in Jamestown this weekend for the Shannonside village’s Heritage Festival.

A fleet of historical boats including a 167-year-old vessel built during the famine are in Jamestown this weekend for the Shannonside village’s Heritage Festival.

The village will be alive with marine activity as with up to 100 boats, barges and cruisers all make their way up the River Shannon.

Already, over 80 boats have arrived in the marina with plenty more expected to dock in time for this weekend’s events.

Among the vessels en route to Jamestown is a boat called Chang Sha which was built in 1845 during the famine, and a refueler boat which was once based in the Lough Erne RAF (Royal Air Force) base. This boat assisted the flying boats of which it took 60 to sink the famous Bismarck, a German battleship that patrolled the North Atlantic during World War II, weighing over 40,000 tons, one of the largest war vessels ever built.

The youngest boat on view at the weekend will be a spritely 75-year-old Guinness barge which brought the famous black stuff from the St James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin across the loughs and rivers of Ireland.

This event is not just about what floats on the water however, as there are plenty of other events and activities on offer on land for young and old alike.

Donal Boland, a Marine Archeologist will give a talk entitled ‘The Second Ardnacrusha’. This will be a lecture on the socio-economic history of the Shannon, how it provided employment locally through electricity production and how the river affects flooding in the region. It takes place on Saturday in the Mobile Cinema at the quayside at 11.30am.