A Love Story

I live in Dromineer and I love it.

I came here 35 years ago for no particular reason; out for a spin and landed here; never heard of it before but it made an impression.

I am from Blessington, a small town in West Wicklow where I grew up swimming and boating on the Lake there, so maybe it’s not surprising that when I landed on Lough Derg I was hooked. Its been a big part of my life ever since. Swimming,boating, windsurfing and Skiing, hanging out in The Whiskey Still,The Sail inn, Froggies, The Crows Nest, Henry Africa, LDYC, Otoway Lodge, many characters all with a book of stories, some told and others never to be repeated, Julianne, Frollic, Dan,Joe, PJ, Gus, Fr Michael all gone and others still around contributing to the richness of the Village.Their story only part told.

People and things come and go but as I look out across Lough Derg towards Williamstown and to the hills above in East Clare, a view that has changed very little over centuries; the same view and beauty enjoyed by the High King of Ireland Brian Boru as he moved up through Lough Derg from his Home further down the Lake outside Killaloe over 1000 years ago. He lived here too.

Skinnier dipping

The Mid-summer night ball was a huge event which took place for about ten years between the 80s and 90s.Jt was a fundraiser for Lough Derg Yacht Club and was on the Saturday night closest to the 21st June. Incidentally the same weekend that the Budweiser Irish Derby took place in the Curragh. The Ball was held in the Yacht Club in a tent…well a marquee, over 450 people from all over the country attended and tickets were like hens teeth. This was some event.

We used to meet before hand in Kennedys house opposite the Whiskey Still where Mary and Sean Kennedy held pre ball drinks. We then headed down the road in procession to the Club where Nenagh Brass Band were playing on the front lawn of the Club to welcome us. Dinner came and went and then Hurricane Johnnie and the Jets took to the Stage. Rock and Roll…John Terrie, Dave Coyle and the lads..It was magic..Johnnie be good! In the early hours the band finished to be followed by a Disco which continued till dawn. Leaving the tent in the bright was surreal as was heading from there straight to the Sail inn where Julianne was serving breakfast. Regularly on the way home a final stop off at Courtney’s pier for a morning swim. Some jumped in still in Black tie others in Ball gowns but most wore neither! Ooh…Johnnie be good!!

Love on the rocks.

The trip from Dromineer to Skariff by boat is a really very pleasant. It takes about an hour at modest speed and on leaving Dromineer Bay you will pass Garrykennedy to your left proceed up the lake passing MountShannon and Holy Island through the middle ground before entering the Scariff River passed Reddins Quay and on to Scariff. A well worth while trip.

Some years ago I fancied a girl from Nenagh and despite my best efforts was making no progress. My last attempt involved an invitation to join me on a boat trip to Scariff. It worked, she agreed and we headed of full of anticipation. All was going well till we got to the middle ground before the entrance to the river. It is well marked and one would need to be very distracted to find oneself to the extreme right-hand side of the middle ground where we were, and where we subsequently got lodged on top of a rock..stuck. I being chivalrous got out of the boat into the lake in an attempt to free us. It didn’t work but I felt my efforts were appreciated and was still unconcerned. What happened next however changed everything. I said next was what I may have been thinking however never meant to say…it just blurred out. “You are too heavy; you will have to get out…”We got free and never reached Scariff. We journied home in silence. Mary (not her name) met he now husband very soon after that and they have several kids. I wonder does the husband know the part I played making him look so good. He never thanked me!