Recently, the Irish Heritage Boat Association stopped off in Maynooth Harbour for a few days. The HBA do a wonderful job in keeping Ireland’s inland waterways heritage alive and it’s really great to see them passing through.
The vessels’ imposing bulk and dark, rugged features make for a dramatic nighttime scene, especially when a number of vessels are rafted together in a normally empty harbour.
Each boat has a fascinating history, some well over 100 years old. The most common classe of boats are M & E. M boats were Motorised (first 30 Ms are converted horse barges, have pointier bows), E boats were maintenance boats on Ireland’s inland waterways (Engineering), while other heritage boats are less common. All have interesting and varied histories, for example 4E in the foreground was built in 1896, having started life as a horse-drawn boat before being fitted with an engine, before being stripped of the engine again. More info on boat names and classes.
With the Royal Canal reopened as far as the Shannon, these wonderful boats can now travel the vast majority of the routes they would have plied trade on back in the day.
Some more photos of the boats in Maynooth are on the HBA site.