Lough Ree Environmental Summer School and Boat Gathering this weekend

After a lapse of a number of years, the Lough Ree Environmental Summer School in Ballyleague/Lanesborough is making a welcome return this year on the May Bank Holiday weekend.

The event will be kicking off on Friday evening, April 28th at 8.30 pm with Roscommon native Cathryn Hannon (ecologist and past consultant and participant of the original Lough Ree Environmental Summer School), delivering the inaugural Dick Warner Memorial Lecture on the theme of Lough Ree and its Birdlife in the Lough Ree Access For All Centre in Ballyleague. We are delighted to announce that Geraldine Warner has confirmed that she and her son Luke will be our guests of honour at the event.

Saturday morning sees Dr. Harman Murtagh giving a lecture on Inchcleraun (Quaker Island) in the Lough Ree Access For All Centre at 10.30 am on the subject of THE STOLEN TREASURES OF LOUGH REE’… an exhibition and historical lecture on the story behind the robbery of 5/6th century grave slabs from the island of Inchcleraun on Lough Ree in the late 1980s. This will be followed by boat trips to Quaker Island on board the wheelchair-friendly Access For All boat. Bookings for the boat trips which will be held throughout the day can be made through   info@accessforallboattrips.com or by calling (089)2625505.

At 12 noon: Billy Flynn, MCIEEM MIBiolI MIEnvSc CEnv, Chartered Environmental Scientist & Ecologist, who has extensive experience in consulting on planning and design for Greenways and Trails (walking and cycling) and in preparing Biodiversity Action Plans will be giving a talk at the Lough Ree Access For All Centre. This will be followed by a guided tour through different areas around Ballyleague/Lanesborough.

2 pm sees the return of Eanna Ni Lamhna who will give her talk in the Lough Ree Access For All Centre. This will be followed by a walk through Commons North Wood in Lanesborough to view and examine many different types of flora and fauna, hopefully catching sight of the native Red Squirrels that have made a welcome return to this unique woodland. To book a place for Eanna’s talk & walk please email NLRWAG@GMAIL.Com

3 pm will see Nuala Madigan, Chief Executive Officer, Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Bog of Allen Nature Centre, give a 45-minute talk at the Lough Ree Access For All Centre, followed by an outdoor field trip on some of our native boglands. (Own transport required as we will be travelling to a local bog for the field trip).

At 4 pm Les Saunders and Matt Daniels from the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland will be giving a lecture on Electronic Boat Charts and systems that are available to use on the navigable Inland Waterways system throughout the Island of Ireland at the Lough Ree Access For All Centre.

4.45 pm will see Ciaran Clinton/Denis Baker giving a talk and demonstration on the ‘Nav Watch’ navigation reporting system and a talk on the Royal Canal at the Lough Ree Access For All Centre.

At 8 pm Dr. Tina Aughney from Bat Eco will give an indoor presentation at the Lough Ree Access For All Centre followed by a walk thereafter to view some of the bat population in the immediate area.

SUP Boarding Classes will be held throughout Saturday, at the Waterways Ireland Marina in Ballyleague. More details and booking via www.supdublin.ie


Lough Ree Distillery will be holding three tasting events at 2 pm, 4 pm and 6 pm on Saturday, 29th of April as part of the ‘Gathering’ during Lough Ree Environmental Summer School. Each will give attendees a tour of the distillery and some background to their business, and a look at what the future holds. Along the way we’ll taste some of our gins and whiskeys so people can sample first-hand the award-winning spirits being produced in Lanesborough and being exported to a growing footprint of countries around the world.

There is a nominal charge of €10 per head and we can accommodate 10 people per session. We’ll discount the €10 off any bottles bought on the day.

The sessions are set up on Eventbrite at the links below so people can book and pay online.

2pm Tasting: https://www.eventbrite.ie/myevent?eid=621828354347

4pm Tasting: https://www.eventbrite.ie/myevent?eid=621852376197

6pm Tatsting: https://www.eventbrite.ie/myevent?eid=621855686097

On Sunday the spotlight turns to the Waterways Ireland Marina in Ballyleague where a ‘Gathering’ of visiting cruisers is taking place over the weekend to celebrate all that the village has to offer for visiting boaters. The Athlone branch of the RNLI will be in attendance and performing ‘on the water’ demonstrations as well as performing Life Jacket Safety Tests for all visiting boaters. A ‘Boat Jumble Sale’, Boat Engine and Air Heater Maintenance demonstration will also take place at the marina throughout the day.

The Local Art Group ‘Brush Strokes’ will be hosting an Art Exhibition at the Access For All Centre in Ballyleague all day on Sunday. So come along and view the works of some of our local artists.

As it seems that we now have Red Squirrels in Commons North, one of the squirrels – Iora Nua –  Squirrels Reimagined – will be making its way out to Lanesborough for the Summer School, courtesy of the Longford County Arts Officer. Also on display at the Waterways Ireland Marina in Ballyleague over the weekend will be some of the work from Nádúr San Oíche. This was a project by Dysart native and professional artist Orla Clogher along with the Dysart community. These are being kindly made available to us through the offices of the Roscommon County Arts Officer and Dysart Tidy Towns.

All of the above events will be hosted in the Access For All Centre in Ballyleague, apart from the guided boat tour of Quaker Island. All of the above events are FREE of charge and tickets can be booked at NLRWAG@GMAIL.COM on a first come first served basis, as spaces are limited.

The organisers would like to pay special tribute for assistance given to them by Waterways Ireland, the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage Local Biodiversity Action Fund & Roscommon County Council as an action of County Roscommon Heritage Plan, Roscommon Arts Officer, and Roscommon County Council.