Shannon Harbour is a very small village built where the Grand Canal meets the Shannon River. At one time it was a very busy area. If you descend from Irish Immigrants, your family likely passed through Shannon Harbour. Now much of it is ruins.
There are a lot of campers, boaters, fishermen and birdwatchers in Shannon Harbour, though. I was told it is a famous place to fish salmon, perch and pike. Birdwatchers come to see rare birds.
I stayed at the Harbour Master’s House. I thought it would just be a marketing name, but it really is the harbour master’s house.
There is a shop, a pub and a bar.
I got these chips in the shop as I walked around.
There seems to be more empty houses and inns in Shannon Harbour than there are occupied houses and inns.
Shannon Harbour town was built in 1830 to provide accommodations to passengers traveling along the Grand Canal. There are large abandoned hotels and warehouses.
This was the route most emigrants took as they left Ireland.
The Grand Canal
The Grand Canal is much smaller than you would expect. It was built to connects Dublin with the River Shannon, which runs to the Atlantic Ocean. Construction began in 1757, but faced a lot of complications, especially trying to bring the canal through bogs. The Grand Canal runs all the way from the River Shannon to the River Liffey, near Dublin.
There are various locks. A lock is a mechanical device that allows a boat to be raised. This allows a canal to remain deep and navigable where it would otherwise be too steep.
To go up, the boat passes the first lock into a chamber. The first lock is closed and the chamber fills with water. When the water reaches the higher level behind the second lock, it is opened and the boat goes through.
This video is stop-motion animation of 1500 still photographs taken from the bow of the 68M heritage boat on the journey down the Grand Canal from Shannon Harbour to Edenderry in Co Offaly. The audio is recordings of local people and wildlife along the way. The canalboat goes through the locks. The video, called A Grand Experience, was made by Mixed Bag Media, commissioned by Offaly County Council 2012 under the percent for art scheme.
Canal boats are very narrow, to fit in the narrow canal. They are also called narrow boats. Some were painted very decoratively.