We are three brothers, aged 25, 23 and 18. We’d never been away on holiday before, just the three of us without our parents.
We’re all keen anglers and we were well aware that Ireland is regarded as the European fishermen’s paradise, especially if you like fishing for that splendid carnivore, the pike. In addition, for quite some time now we’d been taking an interest in boating holidays and had heard nothing but good reports about them.
We did a bit of research and decided that the best starting point for our barge cruise in Ireland would be the Athlone Locaboat base (Killinure Point). It won hands down.
Any angler worth his salt will want to get full information about the equipment needed and about such details as the type of boat and the local fishing regulations. So we contacted Glenda and Brian Quigley, the brother-and-sister team who manage the Locaboat base situated in the marina that their father, Peter, built with his own hands.
They replied almost immediately and put me in touch with a gillie, a local fishing guide. They also told me that they would provide us with a small motor dinghy so that we would be able to get to the most remote, out-of-the-way fishing spots that would be inaccessible by Pénichette.
If you’re flying from Paris (Beauvais Airport), Ryanair has flights at bargain prices but you have to make sure you check-in on line and print your tickets in advance in order to avoid additional charges at the airport. There is a very regular bus service to Beauvais Airport from Porte Maillot.
After a very early morning flight, we got to Dublin Airport, where the managers of the base had organised a transfer by taxi for us. After about an hour and three quarters, we could just make out the first little coves of Lough Ree.
It’s worth noting that, on your arrival day, it would be a smart move to get the taxi to stop (the taxi-driver will probably suggest it anyway) at the Glasson service station to buy a few basics (just the essentials, because they’re rather pricey) before you’re in a position to get to a bigger supermarket like the one in Athlone.
We were agreeably surprised by the mild weather. The managers of the base gave us a very warm welcome, helped us to settle in to our self-drive Pénichette and gave us a few pieces of advice and some suggestions.
In the evening, we had dinner at the “Killinure Chalet”, located about ten minutes’ walk from the marina. We found a fantastic atmosphere there; it’s a pub in the best Irish tradition. The food is delicious and the people are welcoming, friendly and eager to help.
Our boating holiday was then spent between long days fishing on Lough Killinure and the River Shannon, a legendary place for pike fishing (especially around Clonmacnoise), and trips around Athlone where everybody is happy to lend a hand if necessary (when mooring the Pénichette, for example). Athlone boasts a very good fishing shop (open on Sundays), not to mention the oldest pub in Ireland.
We spent a day fishing with the gillie: he knows all the best spots in the area.
We were in daily contact with Glenda and Brian (mainly to find out the weather forecast, especially the wind speed). They always helped us as much as they could and their kindness was outstanding and sincere.
Our reaction to the trip can be summed up very simply: we want to do this again every year!