Quiet week in Athlone

empty shannon in athlone

What’s wrong with this picture? Well, it’s a bank holiday weekend in the middle of the summer for one. This is the HEIGHT of tourist season. Normally there would be so many rental boats here in Athlone town they’d be moored out 4 deep along the western quay wall of the Shannon.

Look up at that picture – one measly boat.

So what’s going on? It turns out there’s a good reason for the lack of traffic, nautical and otherwise.

This is the week of the Galway races, for one. It’s also the week of the annual Shannon boat rally – most of the river traffic is up north at the moment, tied together and drifting like one huge alcoholic flotilla.

It was in the Shack at the Tuesday session this week that I was in a conversation with the owners on how quiet the pub was. She had a lovely way of describing the situation:

“Sure, it’s the same this week every year,” says she. “It might be busy elsewhere, but this week the midlands drain like a sink in reverse.”