Athlone and Environs

Athlone (Baile Átha Luain) (pop.21,000) straddles the River Shannon just south of Lough Ree and close to the geographical centre of Ireland. Long an important garrison town, it nowadays likes to be regarded as “the commercial capital of the midlands”, and is also a major regional centre for a a range of state and semi-state organisations and services.

Athlone’s best feature, the River Shannon itself, is still plied by working vessels and pleasure craft, from barges to sailing dinghies; river cruisers can be hired at a centrally located 87-berth marina. The river last flooded seriously in November 2009. (above image wikipedia) Continue reading Athlone and Environs

Wexford’s Islands

Co. Wexford is not famous for its islands; only birdwatchers and historians are likely to know anything about the Saltees & Keeraghs off the south coast. Nevertheless, the county can lay claim to one Ireland’s most important offshore outposts in the shape of the Tuskar Rock.

The Saltee Islands, two large granite outcrops just off the south coast of Co. Wexford, give their name to Ireland’s most famous bird sanctuary. (Photo by Edd BC) Continue reading Wexford’s Islands

Wexford Harbour, Town and Environs

The above image is from the Wexford harbour website which gives you harbour navigation and other information.

Wexford Harbour is a large inlet near the southern end of Wexford Bay, forming a natural haven at the mouth of the River Slaney, long guarded by two sandy peninsulas to the north and south of the entrance, called the Raven and Rosslare Point respectively.

Loch Garman, the Irish name for this body of estuarine water (and Wexford town and all of Co. Wexford) derives from Garman Garbh, an obscure hero of conflicting legends about robbers and princess brides, who was supposedly drowned in a flood invoked by a wicked Enchantress.

The area is believed to have been occupied over 6,000 years ago, but little is known of its prehistory beyond a few intriguing artefacts left by the shadowy predecessors of the Gaels. The earliest Classical map reference is to Menapia, after a Belgic tribe who were believed by the cartographer Ptolomey to occupy the area. Continue reading Wexford Harbour, Town and Environs

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