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Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

Home arrow Vessels arrow Royal Canal Floats arrow Float No. 1 - Royal Canal - 1890
Float No. 1 - Royal Canal - 1890 PDF Print E-mail
02 November 2008


No. 1 Float

Sept 2006

Reg. No. Float No. 1
Built: 1890
Construction: Riveted Iron
Length (Original): 70'
Length (Current): 60'
Beam: 10' 6"
Type: Horse Drawn
Home Base: Tullamore

Prior to our custodianship of the beauty - early 2004 - before:

Celbridge Yard - external view 05 March 2004 - date on camera off! Celbridge Yard - internal view 05 March 2004 - date on camera corrected!

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31/12/13: Update ---- Hi again anyone looking here. Am conscious have not done any round up for let’s call it quite some months re the Float. Energy donated to committee business and schools booklets projects. General update as to rest of 2013 below.Lots in the logs. Got to GC dock of course, via the Royal. Lifting bridge lovely timing, and had Phizzfest Tina’s son on board for the crossover to the Grand. Hello again GC. Had waited a bit on the tide etc. Chilled out eating ham sambos. Arranging leaving Spencer Dock and getting across to Grand, thanks to Mark, lockkeeper, and many other who threw ropes, caught ropes, etc. Got a fab berth beside 53M, handy to jetty. Spent some time of the Dublin Rally learning Canoeing with WakeDock, (did the intro cert with elder offspring, later in the summer with Tullamore Canoe Club, plan to canoe a bit in 2014. Learnt various womanoevres along the Grand Canal over 2 days. Tipped off west wall of Boland’s Lock into water, practice for white water rapids don’t you know. Had to be rescued, tho, and guess what, the only person who hit the water oopsways, well sideways which went upside down once water below assisted. Yikes. But then 12 year old son very impressed.... mammies need canal creds these days of ‘well I don’t think you know everything’ from children’s questions. (Best bit of the Royal trip, has to be meeting Paddy. Met him at the 12th lock going in, as he asked a few questions. Turned out he used to play on the Float, when she at the back of Cabra, for year when he was kid. Spent a lot of time with us over the next few weekends, and saw up right over to the Hatch. Have kept in touch - - ) Digression - Dublin Rally great as usual. Was in Dublin a good bit, thereafter, had a look at the Lord Mayor’s Coach one evening with rally trip to the site, otherwise hello to many over various evenings and slept on board etc. Final leg for this trip, out the Grand, stopped at Guinness beds. Progress slow. Further on, brief stop at the Hatch, then a great night in Ticknevin with dark evening for company, and a long day with a sunny protection spot near a bridge in Edenderry for another overnight, and got to Daingean Heritage Day for June B/Hol weekend, great event, then to Ballycommon the weekend after for launch of Harvest Offaly Food Festival and Grand Canal Offaly Floating Festival – both Gatherings for 2013 and another lovely stop off. Many others heading to Shannon Harbour Rally and Derg Rally so we had a plan to do some work prior to catching up later with CIC to Leecarrow. Best laid plans and all that. Made it a bit later to Leecarrow, lovely week. Followed by our own relaxing out at Hodson Bay with kids doing the local water based camp there, and in and out to HBA event in Athlone. Another fab week and weekend better again as children elsewhere. Leaving on the following Sunday, turns, curves across the river several barges moving in the water graceful, gliding, going north, going south. A few further days. Must we head back. Well yes. Excitement re steering, gennorth of Shannonbridge. Travelling with Micheal R ensured a further hand to assist, thanks due, a bit of a learning curve, but all fine phew. Lovely overnight on the cut at Shannonbridge, kids walked all the way through village on their own and visited Granny. Adventure. Darkness. Torchlight. Slipping into a tiny ditch and a bad twist of the ankle. Stars and quiet made up for discomfort. Ballinasloe for a few days with Niall. For a change moored at the Moycairn Lodge just on the edge of town, great place to stop and kids enjoyed the freedom there. Chat, laughs, eats, the usual, relaxing really... The usual very late August, rush to get back. Then - washing kids, clothes, boat. In that order as we back to civilisation. Normally boat is first in line of course. Packing schools books, getting up at a human time, organising lunches, various bits of real life. At base since early Autumn and term time. Doing a bit more on the inside and even the outside since then. Will she ever be finished? Grateful for assistance, of various kinds, for time near home to continue work..... Much later in 2013. Now, the news of the year. WI various vessels for sale. Conversation thus from one of us to the other: “Wanna buy a barge dear?”

2013 up to mid year ish:

03/05/2013

Well hi again all. Another Bank Holiday weekend beckons. Heading up and down a few times to the big smoke. Will be nipping to the Rhode Parish Gathering, a flagship event in Offaly Gatherings on the way, maybe even with a viking helmet (!). In Dub, more radio chat, on Near FM at the Phizzfest. Looking forward to the fabulous programme the group there have put together. After that, will brave lifting bridge and the Liffey. More excitement. Heading for GC Dock to catch up with all else there, both boat and banter wise.

04/04/2013

Easter weekend, lovely! Catching up just now on Wed. Was on drama and rugby duty here with children Sat and Sun, while J floated away. Hard work there dear :-) Listened to the RTE Radio 1 Doc on One on Sat 30th April at 6pm, an additional outcome of the Offaly Co Co commissioned artworks in 2012. More on that elsewhere. Otherwise, got cracking to my Easter Egg. Well - there is an oval bit (windows to see the flame) and roundy hard bits (fuel tank). Calorie free tho' as it is an Alladin paraffin heater, approx 1950's. Donated from a pal. Took a pic of it in the garden as lots of creepy crawlies on it, cobwebs etc. Now on the kitchen counter, with sandpaper beside it some used, some unused. A bit like windows, we had not quite got round to heating over the last while (apart from some type of air or diesel thingumybobby that to date is still 'in progress'). And, as the portholes made their presence known only last summer and we since got them installed, maybe this stove was waiting to announce itself to the Float. Pics to be uploaded of poss warmth, def of 'before', and hopefully 'after'. Scrape scrape scrape scrape scrape goes the rubbing off of old paint...

22/03/2013

Hmm. Did not think could redo the excitement of last year, getting herself back onto the Royal Canal. But same is mounting. Travelled last weekend from Clondra to Ballymahon, a great trip. Am thinking of a clever quote "Of all the creatures of commercial enterprise, a canal barge is by far the most delightful to consider." -- Robert Louis Stevenson" and as you can see, 'tis not original to the Float. That aside, she is 'in her grannys' - home turf. Wonderful to be back on site via the HBA trip for 2013. J did a bit of a flit to Dublin this evening - a 'very important' work event (good move) and otherwise -parenting duty pertained in Tullamore. Biking for the kids, feeding them (as you do) and a bit of ah children, would you not like to go asleep. Him getting a lift to the midlands from Dublin via Paula and Declan, tnx for same. Not so many early starts as last year given the regional proximity to date, but hey another time. Launch of the HBA Booklet with Ballymahon School, in Ballymahon Library tomorrow at 11 am. Collected the print run much earlier today. Pupils have done amazing work, so looking forward very much to that. WI have partfunded the project. After that, weather is not great, in fact worse than that. Will see how same shifts, and maybe wait in Abbeyshrule this weekend and catch up with rest of gang during the week....

15/03/2013

Well! Have been looking through my notes of last year, a big gig for us , but really only a practice for the major HBA trip on the Royal Canal this year, during Spring 2013. Have had a busy winter ? Well kind of not really. Tho' got the fabulous portholes in - can now see how much domestic responsbility required (she says) - much to be said for living in a dark cave, had windows only in the wheelhouse prior; and have done improvements on the various mechanical bits (he says). Had been in the area of Tullamore for most of the down time over winter months. Moved west a few days in advance of the Canal closing a while back for the construction of the pedestrian bridges and the board walk. Hats off to Tullamore Town Council, Offaly County Council and Waterways Ireland re same. More recently, J got to Shannon Harbour, and then in company up to Richmond Harbour last weekend. Now - ready to head east again. Float is today back home on the Royal Canal. Looking forward to the trip and all who will hopefully enjoy the HBA boats being 'back in town'.

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2012 and prior-

Float No. 1 is one of a series of Coras lompair Eireann (CIE) maintenance craft that were utilised along various designated stretches of the Royal Canal. There were five 'Float' boats in total on the Royal Canal. Unlike the Grand Canal, where the engineering or maintenance craft were usually renumbered to 'E' (Engineering) barges, on the Royal Canal, the assigned numbers of maintenance came about by use as each 'Float' came onto the system. All the Floats were of different design and not part of any uniform fleet of maintenance craft as they originated from de-commissioned cargo boats that were re-directed to engineering use. Once a barge became a 'Float', either horses or engines were superfluous to it's re-assigned use. At the slow pace of ongoing maintenance and patching, the men attached to each barge would pull the vessel along the short distance to the next stopping point. Float No. 1, - or as now 7 years later one of us calls her (with a gritted teeth type of smile) - 'The Darling' and every few weeks enquires how are you my precious (has anybody read Lord of the Rings?) - was originally horse or man drawn, as you can see from her fabulously pointed bow. All aside, she really is beautiful. Says the eye..

The "Float" series of barges were de-commissioned when the Royal Canal closed for navigation in 1961 but most fell into disuse up to a decade or so prior, as the traffic on the system and therefore maintenance works on the Royal declined. Float No. 1 was sold by CIE, with the relevant paperwork, identifying her as No 1 of the series and a barge of approx 1890 vintage, to a Mr. Boylan in the late 1960's. At that stage she was lying near Binns Bridge, below Drumcondra, on the Dublin end of the Royal Canal. Canal signage visible in the background of an 8mm cine film recording, showing the lift-out, shows what was known as Liffey Junction as being the exact location of the lift. She was originally 70' long but had 10' was cut from her centre portion after she was lifted, to make her compatible in length with the Grand Canal locks. The operation was carried out on a trombone trailer which re-attached the two halves before they were successfully re-welded together. She was subsequently stored near Celbridge / Hazelhatch until some years ago (2004).

Float No.1 is built of iron sheeting, with 2.5" angle ribs, hot riveted, at 2' centres. Perhaps you have watched the recent (2011) tv programme on how the Titanic was hot riveted? F#1 lines include a pointed nose and stern, with a rounded keelson, original design features of a horse drawn barge. She differs from other barges with provenance to the Irish inland waterways system, in that she has a 10' 6" beam, as opposed to the normal 13' on other barges. With an original length of 70'; she could not have navigated either the Ulster Canal or the Grand Canal, due to her being longer than the minimum lock sizes on those navigations. She does have a similar line to the another ex-Royal Canal barge now known as 'The Rambler; although the Rambler is much broader in the beam.

Float No.1 is one of only three Royal Canal barges that are currently in floating condition
- the others being "The Rambler" and the Killucan Project Barge.

Float No. 1 was purchased in 2004 by John Dolan and Catriona Hilliard, who are based in Tullamore. We met her on 29th Feb 2004 with our son then small son Alim in tow, and since then one of our excuses is that we have been growing the crew - Martha arrived in May later in 2004 and Mia also in May, in 2006. We have undertaken a major refurbishment program which includes hull repairs and conversion into an engined family barge for ongoing waterways appreciation and use. She will hopefully spend many a happy year on her spiritual home now that the Royal Canal navigation is opened fully to the Shannon since Oct 2010 (we were there on other boats, a great day). She spent some time in dry dock during 2005 and 2006 in Shannon Harbour being replated, then came to Tullmore in 2008 and since 2010 is being fitted out with M&E services, an engine/gearbox system, batons for insulation provision, (with a centre wheelhouse we need hydraulics for steering), measuring for use for conscious (living area) and unconscious (sleeping areas) and so on. We are getting there....

Dec 2011 Update - still 'nearly there' tho people are getting used to us saying that now! Seriously, there have been great improvements. Engine in and working (phut, phut, phut type of sound we like to think like a baby Bolinder) since a few weeks ago - many thanks to various people. Steering to be sorted soon. Floors swept out again for the zillionth time but all moving ahead, hey we have floors! Nearly this time last year (late Dec 2010 and early Jan 2011) we were deep in the cold dry dock, deep inside a very cold metal boat, in deep freezing winter you all recall, (-14C is our record there brr brr brr) prepping for insulation (s)pray on. Miles ahead since. Further updates in due course.

In the dry dock in Tullamore Sept 2010, geting all the bits done...

Our pal Fred Dolan (no relation he says thankfully, assisting with concrete ballast insertion April 2011)

Sept 2010 - In the Dry Dock, Tullamore, getting the bits done... April 2011 - our pal Fred Dolan (no relation he says thankfully), helping out with concrete ballast insertion...

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01 April 2012

Well - she is on the move we finally hope. No it is not an April Fool's Day joke! Lots of discussion over the last few months since last update on huge technical issues such as oily things like engines and hydraulics, lots of other things - kitchen layout, loo, where to seat, where to sleep. Either previous is pretty gender specific re concerns, will leave that with you go figure out who is worrying about what. Colour co-ordinated ropes are really the most important issue. Surely?

Back to nature is enough said in general as it looks like 'twill be a mobile camp site for this season. Overall we are happy, on an upward learning curve for a change, (curves go way down too you know..) however thinking of a rename - to Argy Bargy you get the drift ha ha - but no don't really mean that. After a good day . . .

On 29th Feb last we had the first move of herself under engine, some photos will get uploaded eventually. If you have kept up with the notes to date you will realise she was then actually only two years old as we met her on 29th Feb 2004. Today 1st April 2012 another big move. Catriona and children showed her round to various pals this morning and this afternoon she had a good workout of the engine on the main line outside Tullamore Harbour. Up to about 10 engine hours now - wow. Still can't quite believe she is really getting going after so long. Thanks to all the input from many people to date.

This evening over dins a discussion on dates as to how to get to Dublin - for the IWAI rally among other things. John has her registered so we better start pointing east. Dates in the diary now. Will keep this site posted...

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Update of 25/04/2012

“Ah me nerves, don’t tell me we are actually going to move this thing?” “Really?”

Well that is what happened on Fri 20 April. Can’t think of a date that ties in with that, but star signs for one of us on that day advised:

“An endurance test will reap a good reward before too long.”
And so, from Tullamore Harbour, Float Number 1 left. Been and gone. Thanks for patience to those who know who they are.
Originally thought, yahoo! We can easily make Dublin this afternoon. What a lark. Full steam ahead please capt’n. Paddle paddle paddle kids, faster, faster. Needless to say they refused - darn. Altho’ a good pal (& co) have just been on the commemorative Titanic cruise on M.S. Balmoral, so in actual fact did not want to suggest too much of that type of speed.
Two caps in place, one for himself and one for the Mrs. In the colour of Red to go with the trim (yet to be painted). Also blue text, hey let’s say that represents the water. Also I think another colour on the cap embroidery, have to dig them out of the back of the wardrobe to ascertain same and think up what colour might mean.
Then thought – ah yikes, what is that funny smell (barge aroma?). Burning oil, jettisoning fuel, hot air?
Turned out to be a slight and must advise very slight fuel leak. Various discussions between ourselves and others about injector pipes. Got them re-done recently, except the provider has yet to order the fourth nut, currently unavailable. Coming soon to an engine provider near us. Apparently – anecdotal only – he may be making it up – one set of pals is asking “well what about the nut at home?” Don’t believe all that you hear.
Between the jigs and the reels, being somewhere between a rock and a hard place, and suchlike sayings, we stopped. Till Sunday. Had Saturday then to sort some bits. Thanks due to a few people. Lots of help except did not quite get sorted. Same experience re engine on Sunday and we now at Cappincur. Have to say F#1 looks fab on the water. Bit crooked steering wise but we getting to grips with that. Locks no bother ha ha apart from a bit of a rip of some railings but hey, not yet the wheelhouse.
J advised me today - five days later - that another good pal - advised 'ah yeah, these things will sort themselves out'. We''ll go with that suggestion, as we did years ago when he steered us in the direction of F#1!
All good...
C, J , A, M1 and M2.
Float Number 1.
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Update of 30/04/2012
Took a half day off the various work responsibilities last Thursday 26th April to have a jaunt from Cappincur to Ballycommon. Guess what – all worked according to plan, well more or less! Took it easy with the tiny new upgrade to the engine (aka that nut) and she was like a little dream. Some further bits to do engine wise and still not all that straight on the steering, but what about it, now have a long stretch till Ticknevin to practice.
Have thought about a long handled bicycle mirror somewhere near the driving position to ascertain what the rudder is doing, with some type of flag perpendicular to the tiller, still planning on a back window for the wheelhouse so we can see same. Plan foiled however, as that was on the long list John was bringing to Beaulieu – the huge boat based stall sale near Southampton, the gang travelling on Friday to get there for Sat evening and the main event on Sunday but that was cancelled at the last moment – big disappointment. Only silver lining is J got some boating in (ha ha - on the ferry there and return over the weekend) and the group met with other HBAers on the trip back – altho return trip was quite a bit earlier than expected. Hmm.
But skip back to the Thurs pm last. Thanks to a certain lock keeper, much assistance gratefully received. Dinner from the gas hob – edible. Children did their homework quietly down the back – not; had lots of cups of tea – did; and then quite fitting met 72M as our first fellow barge while travelling, thought she had gone further west.
All good? Getting better....!
From all of us.
C, J, A, M1 and M2.
Float Number 1.

26 April 2012 - Cappincur, Grand Canal. Hedge School. 26April 2012- well a bit close but not as close as the last lock! Good tyres...

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Update of 11/05/2012:

Only finally recovered from last weekend - the long one -to update here!
Now if you ever watched the TV programme 'Lost' over previous recent
years you will know 'The Hatch' is where the cast found themselves heading for re various mysterious events. Same goes for us. Boat and crew left Ballycommon early Sat morn, we ended up taking our time, had a visit to the Festival of the Fires (off boat); Mondello (kind of boat); and of course all the Canal line in between Ballycommon and Hazelhatch. John met 53M along the way. Boat hugs to each other. HBA and IWAI were on hand to assist all the boats there now, into the perimeter of the city early in the morning. Greenhorns here still but must advise J very happy with entry and exit to both Sallins and HH without any direct hits. Actually he clarifies, without any hits at all! Also, boat is going straightish now :-)

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Update of 17/05/2012


Well, it all happened last weekend. Have been in recovery since! I note second week of same, following most previous update. All due to excitement only. The big smoke beckoned!
Well the long and the short of it is, somewhere on board for J last Friday night 11th May. The next day (or night as it was still really), an 04.15 rise and shine for the Tullamore crew, to give us an hour to get brekky in, caffeine doses for the adult involved, daytime clothes on, and most importantly to drive to meet herself (oh and John of course). Leaving here with an hour and 15 minutes to get there to the 12th lock on the Grand Canal for 06.30, we made it with about 30 seconds to spare, having coped with various ‘I’m thirsty’ and ‘I’m bursting’ notifications from the back seat en route.
Last time on entry in the city on Lady Jane for Dublin rally, a couple of years ago on a similar early morning trip, the children had been coaxed with the opportunity to experience ‘the crack of dawn’, and the sky had provided the needful, clouds parting to reveal the sun. We had all felt like we were inside a giant egg, like little birdies glimpsing light for the first time. This time, we had a clear sky with the breaking morning slowly solidifying into the promise of an amazing day. And so it was.
Got there – to below 12th lock on Grand Canal. Barge engine ticking over. Boat engines starting up. Smell of diesel as it merged with the slightly frosty air. Soothing slop of the water cooling exhaust slipping out the side of the Float. Other boat occupants moving round and about a bit. Wheelhouse semi warm. Coffee same. Day emerging as promised. Magical. Nothing like it. Absolutely NOTHING like it. Left from below the 12th lock approx. 06.36 bearing east with a date to meet others at 07.00 hrs at lock number 11.
A log exists on a bit of paper. Have to transcribe it to a proper bit of paper. However in general, as follows. Various manoeuvrings over the day, on and off the boat, in and out of wheelhouse, up and down to jetties and towpaths, pulling and pushing locks, gates and the barge herself. Very particular help from several individuals as well as the Dublin IWAI Rally assistance. HBA and Royalers therein of note. Specific thanks have been sent to those involved and we are deeply grateful as has been advised directly. Float got to GC Basin approx. 17.30 ish. Looked at her in the basin and was still kind of wondering how did that happen. Well tis obvious – with the input of many. Thanks to all involved. Photos from Joe Treacy here -
http://s1182.photobucket.com/albums/x456/joetreacy/Float%20to%20Dublin/
A bit of a mammy/daddy/sibling note, in that Martha’s 8th birthday was last Saturday as well. Given that she was only in expectation when we met the Float on 29th Feb 2004 (and Martha was born in the May), it was very special to us to have them in the one place for a monumental day for us, to have that boat in Dublin. Dublin IWAI Rally cheese and wine kindly allowed us to include a candly cake and the usual sung verse. The girl was tickled pink. The boat however thankfully stayed custard and mustard and big black hull of course... F#1 colour coding story is one for another day - - -

What a day, 12th May. Very much obliged to all. And for now, we can actually advise a positive response to the small people’s ongoing enquiries ‘Are we there yet, are we there yet?’! Well, for now, yes we are, and looking forward to the 19th/20th weekend event of the Rally and next week.
Oh and a bit of a pre PS - got handed the Green and Silver logbook sometime early in the trip, will it beckon for us?
Will be in touch!
CJAMM, F#1
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Update of 18/05/2012
Bloody hell - looked at Joe's photos for the 10th time and still can't believe it happened. Heading to the basin tomorrow to check out the mirage...
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Update of 20/05/2012

Well, she is there, for sure, in the GC Basin. Was up there this weekend, lots to do and see re Dublin IWAI Rally. Busy busy not that much time to have experts over, asap tho! Time to update a few photees of the F#1 few years gone by....

Lately - a galley in place forward just below the wheelhouse Until 2011 - a lovely frame in place for wheel n steering, forward.

Late 2010 - getting the levels sorted for the ballast and the insulation. Autumn 2011 - astern more ballast, the shaft and flooring (on the side)

And - update on Green and Silver - got two stamps - Lowtown and Grand Canal Harbour - will we manage the rest of the stops to make it?

All going well so will cross our fingers - - -

CJAMM, F#1

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Update of 01/06/2012

Well - - 10 days later, have had a blast at Dublin rally, up and down to various events therein, well done to all involved in organising same. Right now, evening time, heading again to the big smoke, GC Dock, lets see what the weekend brings. Lots of boats planning to head over to the Royal, a big emotional event for the Float if we head as well - can a boat smile (?) ..last time she was on it, well we don't know when, hope to find out lots more over the next while about her heritage... Will advise!

CJAMM, F#1

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Update of 06/07/2012

Got there Fri night, 01 June. White rabbits for us hopefully? Brilliant morning on Sat last, had been informed for posterity and large barge reasons the night before that we were the last to go through Spencer Dock the following (Sat) morn. Fine with that, learning to do as we are told. No possibility of kitchen table conversations about various what ifs. They v bossy in Dub!
Left Grand Canal inner basin approx. 10.40 a.m. Sat 02/06/2012. Many there kindly turned their backs on looking at the (wo)manoeuvres. The lady can’t do that outside lark, never could on the cruiser either. Ropes, balance, bending down, swinging fenders? Take my hat off to those who can. She’ll have to learn tho. But not today. Did a twirl in the inner basin to get round the jetty. Did a few more in the outer basin as suddenly realised had to learn to tie up at a highish jetty (when out of the Liffey forthcoming kind of imminently). Got the newspaper and provisions at ‘Fresh’ beside the Bord Gais theatre. Low jetty, but hey had a practice. Back on, out in dock, nearly connected with some wind surfers and lady rowers. Eventual avoidance tho’ so all good. Later, had a meeting in the GC sea dock with the others in there too. Bit ‘just in time’. Head for 02 jetty opposite and if we go first, perhaps tie up alongside us?
Wingman and videographer Mr. N. Galway then advised he was on the Killarney, upstream, camera rolling, so of course had to head that direction. Think forgot to tell others that change of plan had occurred… (apologies) but shortly after, all tied up safe and sound opposite and slightly downstream of Spencer Dock. The Float eyeballed it a few times…
Had a few hours on that great river, pals arrived, had lunch, waited a bit more and then got the nod later from the boss, or rather the phone call – “John, are yis ready?”. Here was the real deal for us, for right now, just for the Float, her big day.
Had planned to rope her in to Spencer Dock on north side but tide was turning so too much flow. Said to ourselves, why not just aim for that big (very small) hole in the far wall. Got a ph call halfway across the Liffey, Mr. Farrell thank you. Just go port a bit he said, just go starboard a bit he said and foot by foot we made it with wind over tide and not a bang or a clatter. V lucky. Really and truly.
In Spencer Dock with a few others, engine off and roped on to wall, some turbulence on rising lock, hoped we were not going to do any damage to ourselves or companions. Final height. Had a quick look at each other, are we really here now, heading for RC? Sounded to us like great big silence as breast gates opened, could not hear another thing. Big beep or few of the horn as we entered RC, actually here! Hello dear. Boat sighed. Who cried? And a little extra tear or two as later on Dublin IWAI and all there on F#1 for a skippers meeting on board ‘cos you can hold us all..’– tricked ye – presented F#1 with the Dublin IWAI Rally Endeavour Cup and we spoke of our 3 small people who have been with us every step of the way, but not here this weekend. Flumoxxed and flabbergasted by the award. Very many thanks, even tho speech from MK said something along the lines of ‘bringing their boat here even looking like this.’ Ha. You get the drift here, slight understatement to say that there is some work still to be done…
Oh and by the way the few lines of the actual skippers' meeting bit was to start moving from 08.00 on next morn Sunday a.m. Wrecked by then that night, all out head wise and body wise. Went for a lovely Italian meal to a place recommended by Magnet. Yum yum. Met some chaps on the way back, in the pouring rain and high winds, they were on guard for the preps for the Formula One rally the next day in various parts of IFSC. Was looking at them from aboard later, would we do their gig again, no way, lovely to relax and enjoy the elements.
Sunday morn rain and wind and much well how will this go. The devil of a journey, however hastened by many angels. So good wins out over the other. And - met a colleague from years ago while still us tied up to the jetty, he lives in Phibsboro, and has loads of photos of when those levels where drained, and thinks there might be some images of old barges in the material. Has promised to dig them out of the attic so would love to see them, and will be keeping in touch on that.
Leaving SDock, first stop Sherriff St bridge, very nervewracking. It was very low. Got toward it. Ready to go? Skipper on bow shouts no. Skipper in wheelhouse shouts wha’ and various other kind of polite questions. Bow into bank as an emergency stop. Rain the night before had assisted water levels rising, by the time we were heading thro high tide was commencing slight fill into the whole Spencer Dock chamber. Went at the bridge again. 1 inch clearance on wheelehouse. Looked good. Sound told different. What is that screeching and creaking of metal? Ah no? But - turned out only to be the tiller, a further inchish or so higher than the wheelhouse. Had forgotton that. Now on the fixing list.
A long day, aided and abetted by many lock keepers and IWAI personnel. A good day? A great day. Had to wait a while in particular below Binns Bridge in Drumcondra, quite fitting as the Float had been lying there for some years before being lifted out further up the Canal, will get to that later. Had (Auntie) Mary on board from then on too. Had good chat on phone with her Irish Rail pal, he kindly advised on where we would be the next day, re rail network where Float had been, and what the area looked like now. Thereafter, all eventually got to Phibsboro, met some Phisfest people and others, connected re how did your day go with various there, and early to the leaba.
Monday, a fabulously sunny day dawned bright and early. Looked and hooked and threw a few ropes here and there as needed as others headed off. Car dropped. Had Tina from Phisfest, and sailor family from John’s side, over to visit and to fend off where needed. Slowly west. Found ourselves at Liffey Junction, a point on the train line which has since been decommissioned, the place of the actual lift out of Float # 1 off the Royal Canal adjacent to that site, many years ago, say 40 as in early 70’s from what we know to date. Others have said she out of commission i.e. Binns Bridge area since 10 years prior. Had a toot of the horn and a good few mins thinking wow well darling what you think now you back where you were born into this stage of your life. Boat did not answer verbally but psychically sent messages to use also saying wow, thanks Mom and Dad. Or maybe we just imagined that bit! Tried to bow the bow but did not work, even jumping up and down in particular on that pointy bit at the front so she could dip her head in reverence. Did not quite manage the incline, but did enough to mark the occasion.
Further west, along the way M Slevin and Anton joined us, delighted. Ashtown saw Noel Spain on board, a few photo opps and a move toward the M50. Had sat on that years ago with the Lorenz’s (maybe 2002?) when they doing from 12th Lock RC in to the city, had a blast then, and again last Sunday going the other way. Photos and hooting and all went well. 12th lock beckoned. Catriona had sat on the bus home from school for 5 years, looking at the double chamber for quite a while each day when the traffic jam started at that perimeter of Blanchardstown, and traffic did not move for a good bit. Never dreamt that we would be bringing something like the Float # 1 through many moons later. Full circle kind of, so lockkeepers kindly let herself do a ceremonial lock opening. Amazing.
Thereafter, tied off and tied up. Meal, chat, and catch up with all there.
Wonderful, wonderful. Thanks for all the support, photos, shouting ‘get a move on’ and other input.
PS Can only sign this as C and J, as Granny Dolan and Auntie Maureen played a blinder and had the 3 visiting offspring with them the whole weekend. Will be in touch...
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Final review of 2012:

Stopped updating this 'blog'. Once past 12th lock, kind of private trip for just the boat herself, just this time round. Had a great time bringing her back to her roots. Met fabulous people all along the way. All the communities involved, looked and said 'is that the boat that used to be on the Canal here'. Very humbling. Got a contact for possible portholes, from a floating lightship, and chased it up. Knelt at the altar of the Royal over the few months. Got out onto the Shannon. Went to Jamestown for the huge event. Hung around Lough Key for most of August. Fab weather, company and chilling out. Had to go back to work late Aug for one of us. So headed back down with others, and was on the pancake snack raft coming over Ree - various other reports on that. John and the children eventually got into Tullamore the night before school started. Had to put the immersion on for hours for hot showers galore and washing machine did not know what hit it!

Will be in touch.....

Last Updated ( 31 December 2013 )
 
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