Alexandra's Log

Strangers Become Friends

There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met. This quote from W. B. Yeats is particularly relevant to the Shannon and boating. We meet  lots of people on the River. I suppose the relaxed nature of boating on the Shannon means it is easy to meet strangers, strike up a conversation, and chat like you have been friends for years. We meet many tourists, both Irish and foreign, and we always happy on Alexandra to help tourists. And sometimes the strangers become friends.

Sneaky afternoon pints

Something else I like about boating is being able to go for an afternoon pint. There is just something decadent about the sneaky Saturday afternoon pint! The Oarsman in Carrick on Shannon is a great place to do this because it does great food – especially seafood. One Saturday afternoon, we got chatting to a Canadian couple sitting next to us at the bar. They arrived in Ireland with no plans, except to hire a car, get and map and drive around. By the time they left to return home, they had been in just about every county and visited a long list of tourist attractions.

But they had not been on a cruiser on the Shannon. So… we asked if they would like to join us for a trip the following morning – from Carrick down river, past Butler’s Marina, along Lough Corry, Ardnaraffin Bridge and Jamestown Canal, through the lock, and home to Albert Marina.

To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting them to take up the offer – I mean, it was a brave thing to join total strangers for a few hours and be brought goodness knows where.

Quiet evening at Ardnaraffin Bridge, at the top of Jamestown Canal
Quiet evening at Ardnaraffin Bridge, at the top of Jamestown Canal

And so the strangers become friends…

But sure enough, next morning, Joe and Barb arrived and to cap it all they picked a gorgeous sunny day. The icing on the cake is being able to entertain on a boat in good weather.

So we set off and did what we always do on the boat – talked! We heard about their holiday so far, the curious places they stayed, saw some of the many pics they took along the way. Joe named a few pubs they had been to, and was amused by our ability to name the town. We also heard lots about Canada, the area they are from in Victoria, British Colombia, and their beautiful house surrounded by woodland.

By the time we dropped them back to their car (the trip is an hour and a half by boat and 10 minutes by car), we were no longer strangers but had become friends. We swapped emails, got an invitation to visit Canada, and were sad to see them leave.

Some pictures of Ardnaraffin Bridge where we moored one lovely evening, Jamestown Canal and Albert Marina.

Ardnaraffin Bridge sunset
Ardnaraffin Bridge sunset
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A few notes:

W. B. Yeats, a famous Irish poet .

The Oarsman is a great pub, that also does really good food.

Carrick on Shannon is in lovely Leitrim. Although the River itself is the border between counties Leitrim and Roscommon.


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