Celebration of Peace Paddle
Back in 1999, Ireland was closer to a peace agreement than ever before. Some of us wanted to do something to show our support for peace in Ireland, so a group of us kayaked from Enniskillen down to Limerick along the new Erne Shannon water system, which in itself was already a symbol of cross border cooperation.
We formed a team of like-minded people from both sides of the border to achieve this. From Enniskillen we had Noel Maguire and from the South we had Pat McCarthy and Jim Kennedy with Maria Kennedy and Vicky Platt at a bank support team. On the way we called on schools and they supported us by doing peace projects in the class room and cheering us on as we passed. Many villages and towns hosted us where we landed. We were given a plaque and message of peace by Fermanagh Council to deliver to the Limerick County Council. We planted trees of peace in many villages along the way. The Civil Defence assisted us on the canal section by opening the lock gates for us, thus saving us hours of carrying boats. The ESB came on board and allowed us to go through the power station at Ardnacrusha. We were interviewed on TV and Radio and received lots of newspaper coverage.
This was pre Facebook, Twitter etc. Indeed the journey evolved into a great show of support for peace from both ends of the waterways and from all walks of life.
There is now a generation in Ireland that, thankfully, has never known violence and hopefully never will. More than 20 years later we again find ourselves frustrated at all the goings on in the world and are hoping in our small way to draw attention to and celebrate 20 years of “Peace in Ireland” by kayaking from Enniskillen to Limerick, a distance of over 200 miles. We will again be carrying a plaque of peace from the Fermanagh Council to Limerick County Council.
This time there will be two of us kayaking the entire route along with our bank support team. Jim Kennedy and Colin Wong, who both operate kayaking businesses along The Wild Atlantic Way, have decided to carry out this paddle again to highlight 20 years of peace and cross border cooperation. We will again be joined by Noel Maguire from Enniskillen and Pat McCarthy from West Cork. We are also using this paddle trip in preparation for an event in Canada next July called The Yukon 1000. They hope that many other paddlers from North and South will join in along the way.
Should you be interested in joining in or finding out more about this celebration paddle, just let us know or give us a peaceful shout out as we pass by!