A true story 😂
It wasn’t an organised trip. It had been mentioned occasionally over the early summer, often at weekends and usually at pub’s closing time.
A day’s fishing on the Shannon – on Lough Ree to be exact. We must go, we must do it sometime. It was finally arranged on a Friday sitting on the window still of Centra Foodstore.
The following Saturday morning, the three intrepid Athenry anglers met on the shore of Portrunny Bay. The day was cloudy and overcast with an occasional heavy shower coming down. There was a stiff breeze and a nice swell on the water, all of which gave the promise of a goods day’s fishing.
A short delay to let a heavy shower pass, and soon we were fishing out along the Lodge shore. A half an hour and we were into a good fish. A double bladed spotted mepps had proved effective. Joe played the fish with skill and ease, and in fifteen minutes we had him in the boat, a fine pike, little short of twenty pounds. Instead of the customary whack to the back of the head, the fish was carefully released back into the Shannon waters.
Lunch time approached. It was decided to dine on the grassy slopes of Inchcleraun. The island is also known as Oileán na Seacht Teampall – the Island of the Seven Churches. It is a place of immense peace and tranquillity, once famous for its Christian teaching and learning. Now it’s only inhabitants, a scattering of sheep, a herd of wild goats and a variety of wildlife which have made it their home.
We approached from the Longford side. Forty yards from the shore, we suddenly found ourselves aground on a shallow of submerged rocks. We were stuck fast. The wash from passing cruisers who were oblivious to our situation, threatened to tip the boat and its three anglers into the cold Shannon waters. What had been a very relaxed and enjoyable situation had suddenly turned into a precarious situation, with the possibility of ugly consequences.
The body weight was relocated around the boat, after some strenuous efforts we eventually managed to refloat and make the island. Hot coffee, onion and egg sandwiches plus the feel of solid ground underfoot was much appreciated.
We fished until evening without further incident. An interesting day and a day to remember!
Written by Brendan Gannon
Published here 19 Nov 2023 and originally published Spring 2004
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