How to navigate Ireland's idyllic new river route - no boating experience required

Lough Derg
Lough Derg is Ireland's latest Blueway Credit: getty

“Have you got a bow thruster?” is the reflex question I’m pitched across Lough Derg’s snug little ports from stupefied strangers observing me “mooring” our hired cruiser with the finesse of Basil Faulty aping Nureyev.

As soon as I realise they’re not being filthy, my manly ego replies without ever answering. That I don’t believe in using it. That I prefer to let the ropes do the work. That it takes the edges off my steering. That it even causes climate change. 

Like the lost man who pigheadedly refuses to ask directions, I tell these slacked-jawed Samaritans anything rather than let them know that I haven’t the faintest, foggiest iota what a bow thruster is, let alone whether the cruiser is supposed...

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