Having paddled the Boyne for the last number of years it was inevitable that we were going to, at some point, get ourselves a couple of rafts for no other reason than the same reason we started paddling the Boyne in kayaks – for the craic! If we ever guest speak at “small business conferences” and get asked to “divulge the secrets of our success and the strategic research and development we had undertaken to carry us through a global economic downturn with the confidence to read the markets and invest in the growth period at the first sign economic stability!?!” I can tell you now, the answer won’t be as drawn out as the question. There won’t be a chart in sight nor a business plan to be read. The answer to eh, pretty much everything Boyne Valley Activities does is “for the craic” (I hope my accountant isn’t reading this!).
We pass through 6 weirs when we are rafting on the Boyne. They were man-made 400 years ago and span the North to South banks of the river. These walls hold back the mighty flow of the river which folds over, down to the lower section. The first four “features” come quickly one after the other. We still have enough time all the same, to fish out the swimmers who exit the rafts because 1) they didn’t listen to our expert instruction on the bank 2) They were giving the guide a bit of stick and he strategically placed the paddler on the side of the raft that was going into the first stopper 3) They got chucked out by their mates 4) they didn’t listen to our expert instruction on the bank. After the “S bend”, we have a little reprieve. A time to ponder was it 1) 2) 3) or 4) that exited you from the safe confines of our 4m x 2m inflatable raft with seven other perfectly safe, dry, sniggering pals. You won’t have too long to ponder as by now you will hear the growl of the next bad boy – The Big A.
This is by far the biggest weir on the river. While we are all about the craic and having a laugh, we always treat this one with the respect it deserves when rafting on the Boyne. Rising and falling river levels can transform this weir from a great bit of craic to a very dangerous situation very quickly. Luckily our guides are hugely experienced and know before they step on the raft what this one will be like. If it is rough we can take the easy “chicken shoots” down the safe side of the weir no matter what the level is. So no need for alarm on this one. Just remember, when we say we are not running it – we are not running it.
It’s an impressive size though. The high slide on river right is a brilliant drop in the raft. We meet a big wave at the bottom and if we get our weight right it lifts up and flips – and then you are left scrambling onto the raft thinking again “was it 1) 2) 3) or 4)” .
After that we float through the heart of the Mountcharles estate. The setting and scenery here is freaking fantastic. We have the castle, the concert venue on our river left and the groovy Rockfarm Eco Village on river right. We still have two more features to tackle before we hit land. These two lovely weirs have given us all a hiding in our day and your day will be no different. We can confidentially say you will never raft a better stretch of water in this country. The blend of weirs, scenery, history and of course the ever present “craic” gives our rafting experience a fantastic edge on our nearest competitors. The weirs are big enough to give you a good run for your money but safe enough that all you will bruise is your ego if you take a swim. At 45 mins from Dublin City, this two hour trip is a must for any adventure seekers looking for a bit of craic. Now that temperatures are rising book your place online before the season stops in May.
(PS. No business plans were written in the process of building this experience.)