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Cruise on the Shannon River – Ireland’s Ancient Highway

Cruise on the Shannon River - Ireland's Ancient Highway


A cruise on the Shannon River with Le Boat is without doubt one of the most original methods to discover Ireland taking you thru the center of the nation and its lengthy historical past. When you select an Irish River cruise, you might have the prospect to self-drive alongside Ireland’s historical freeway to historic ruins and well-known castles. Each city alongside the River Shannon welcomes bargers with open arms and ice-cold pints of Guinness as gifted musicians entertain the gang with energetic conventional music.

Cruising the Shannon could be the purpose, however getting off the boat to expertise Irish hospitality is what creates reminiscences to final a lifetime. If you might be planning a cruise on the Shannon, we’re going to offer you all the data you must take advantage of your journey. Right now, Le Boat is providing early reserving financial savings of 10% till November 30 for the 2023 season. Check out all their locations in Europe and Canada. See details here.

Cruising on the Shannon

Cruising on the Shannon River with Le Boat

This was our fourth Le Boat River Cruise. We had simply completed cruising the Canal du Midi in France and made two different journeys on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Canada the summer time earlier than. We have been wanting ahead to cruising the River Shannon because it appeared much like a Rideau Canal cruise with extra open water and lakes than the lengthy and slim Canal du Midi. Ireland has a particular place in our journey hearts and we have been going to go to locations in Ireland that we hadn’t seen earlier than.

  • Read about different Le Boat River Cruise experiences:

About the Shannon River

About Cruising on the Shannon River

The Shannon River is the longest river in Ireland spanning 360 km via the center of the nation. It begins in Shannon Pot in County Cavan within the north of Ireland and ends in County Limerick on the Shannon Estuary.

Our Shannon River Cruise Route

shannon river cruise map

During our 8-day Shannon River Cruise, we traveled from Carrick on Shannon from the Le Boat workplace. (Emerald Star in Ireland) to Portumna the place Le Boat has one other workplace. Boats are all parked of their marina with full energy and amenities.

In Ireland, Le Boat is called Emerald Star. Emerald Star has been Ireland’s Number One boating vacation supplier and has been working on the Rivers Shannon for almost 50 years so I can perceive why they didn’t wish to lose their identify!

What to Expect on a Cruise on the River Shannon

What to expect cruising on the Shannon river

Carrick on Shannon to Portumna (or visa versa) is without doubt one of the hottest routes for Shannon River Barge Cruisers. It is a 160 km journey that takes you thru 5 locks and beneath 2 bridges. To journey 160 km on a Le Boat houseboat, the journey takes roughly 20 hours of cruising time. Boats are restricted to 10km per hour, so when you find yourself Shannon Cruising, you might be sitting again to loosen up. As you’ll be able to see from the map, we lined plenty of Ireland.

We have been stunned with simply what number of Irish have been cruising the Shannon River on both their very own boats or with boat leases. It positively reminded us plenty of the Rideau Canal in Canada in that sense. When cruising that canal, we noticed many impartial boaters benefit from the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

River Shannon Cruise Shuttle

We flew into Dublin the place our shuttle from Kearns Coaches picked us as much as take us to the Le Boat Headquarters at Carrick on Shannon. We requested our driver if we may cease at a grocery retailer to choose up provides and he was comfortable to have a brief break whereas we purchased meals and drinks for our week on the River Shannon.

Carrick on Shannon is a metropolis the place we may have purchased all our provides, so the cease wasn’t wanted, but it surely was good to have the ability to load meals into the van and offload it straight on the dock.

Do you Need Boating Experience to Cruise the Shannon River?

Cruising on the Shannon River do you need experience

You don’t want boating expertise to cruise the Shannon with Le Boat. A Le Boat consultant will stroll you thru every part you want on the boat after which take you out for a brief lesson. All boats have a most pace restrict of 10 km per hour and there are many bumpers on the boat. Plus, boats have thrusters that you’ll discover ways to use in your orientation and so they make driving straightforward.

Our information walked us via the heating and air con and all the controls that we’d be utilizing through the subsequent seven days. And he’ll take you out on a take a look at drive to indicate you learn how to use the thrusters and controls. By the time he left the boat, we felt assured to begin navigating our means alongside the Shannon River.

Day 1 – Carrick on Shannon

Cruise on the Shannon River Carrick on Shannon

We spent the evening at Carrick on Shannon and immediately fell in love with this city. There are loads of issues to do in Carrick on Shannon that you may spend 2 nights within the city.

Carrick on Shannon is a energetic metropolis stuffed with pubs which are packed to the hilt. We came upon that it’s a widespread Stag and Hen celebration vacation spot within the UK and wedding ceremony events had flown in from throughout Britain to have a good time.

Cruise on the Shannon River Carrick on Shannon Pub

It was straightforward to discover a pub the place we launched my brother Jim to a correct pint of Guinness. Before Ireland, he vowed that he wouldn’t change into a fan of Guinness as a result of he doesn’t like darkish beer, however we quickly made a “Guinness Lover” out of him. We spent the evening bar hopping and listening to gifted Irish bands earlier than strolling again to our boat that was positioned proper downtown within the Le Boat Marina.

Cruise on the Shannon River Costello Memorial Chapel
Costello Memorial Chapel

One to not miss vacation spot within the coronary heart of downtown Carrick on Shannon is Costello Memorial Chapel. It is alleged to be the second smallest chapel on this planet and was made by Edward Costello who devoted it to his spouse who died in 1877. Both their tombs are on show beneath glass inside.

Day 2 – Carrick on Shannon to Tarmonbarry

Cruise on the Shannon River en route to Tarmonbarry

We had loads of time every day to get to our subsequent vacation spot on the Shanon River, so every morning we made breakfast on the boat and loved a leisurely tempo earlier than setting off for Tarmonbarry.

Le Boats have full kitchens and so they provide you with pots and pans, dishes, and cutlery. By ordering the picnic starter package, we additionally had salt and pepper, olive oil and tin foil. All we would have liked to buy on the grocery retailer was the meals and snacks we needed for the week forward.

Lunch at Dromod

En route, we stopped on the beautiful riverside village of Dromod. Dromod is a picturesque city that may be a excellent cease for lunch. We docked on the harbor that has been used for greater than 150 years for barges carrying Guinness and utilizing it as a stopover. There are a few eating places and pubs with a notable steakhouse.

Cruise on the Shannon River Dromond Harbor

You can stroll out to the railway museum and might take a brief journey on the still-operating steam prepare. Outside you’ll see traditional cars, an outdated bus, an airplane, and a submarine. Inside the museum, there are weapons on show from WWII.

Cruise on the Shannon River Dromond Cox Steakhouse

If you aren’t going to prepare dinner lunch on the boat, we recommend stopping for lunch on the Brandywell Bar Restaurant and Lodge to strive some Guinness Pie or you’ll be able to top off on some groceries at Kinneden Organics to buy some natural fruit and greens. Cox’s Steakhouse is one other widespread restaurant and in case you are staying the evening, be sure that to e-book a desk upfront for dinner.

Overnight in Tarmonbarry

Cruise on the Shannon River Tarmonbarry

After a few hours at Dromod, we made our method to Tarmonbarry the place we spent the evening on this energetic city. We have been informed that we’d have to name the bridge keeper to get beneath the bridge, however as he was driving by, he yelled over to us, saying we’d make it. Just go gradual! Only in Ireland eh?

We adopted his recommendation and slowly crossed beneath the bridge ducking our heads as we handed. We have been in Tarmonbarry with loads of hours to spare earlier than sundown.

Cruise on the Shannon River Whitehall Church Tarmonbarry
Actual stone boat from the miracle of Saint Barry

It was then on the bikes that we rented from Le Boat in quest of the Abbey that was constructed by Saint Barrech, (Barry) within the Sixth Century. It was an extended bike journey than anticipated, however after biking via farmland, hills, and the Irish Countryside, we lastly discovered the Abbey that homes his stone boat.

Legend has it that Saint Barry carried out a miracle when he wanted to cross the River Shannon to are likely to a sick comrade. With no boat in sight, we turned a large boulder right into a watercraft to cross the river. We noticed mentioned boulder in all its glory at Whitehall Church simply north of Town.

This is a good city to hang around in for the night with loads of pubs and eating places. We listened to dwell music at Keenans and loved a pint open air at The Shannon Bar and Garden.

Day 3 – Tarmonbarry to Lanesborough

Cruise on the Shannon River Lanesborough

After an evening of a number of pints of Guinness, we slept like infants within the quiet marina. This marina is positioned on a biking and strolling path and makes for a great place to stretch your legs within the morning.

It was then off to Lanesborough simply in time for lunch.

Make positive to cease on this city as there are a few excellent historic church buildings to discover. There’s a distillery on the town and nice locations for espresso. It was throughout this journey that Jim and Janice discovered that Dave and I like a great cup of espresso as we set out every day to discover a scrumptious espresso store. We all the time discovered what we would have liked!

Lanesborough to Athlone

Cruise on the Shannon River Lanesborough Church

We parked our boat by the bridge throughout the Shannon River from Lanesborough. It is right here you can discover the dual cities of Lanesborough and Ballyleague. Sling Shot Gin is distilled proper on this city and you may cease in for a style and to buy an Irish memento.

Don’t miss visiting St. John’s church which dates all the way in which again to the start of the Christian custom in Ireland through the fifth Century. Lanesborough is a good place to get pleasure from lunch and to stretch your legs earlier than transferring on to your cease for the evening, Athlone.

Overnight in Athlone

Cruise on the Shannon River Athlone Castle

Athlone is the biggest metropolis in your Shannon River Cruise and we recommend spending two nights right here for those who can. I’d reasonably do day journeys out to Lanesborough and Loch Ree through the day and use Athlone as a base for 2 nights. Loch Ree is so widespread to discover that there are Viking ships that take vacationers out to discover its Viking historical past and all of its monasteries dotting the shore.

Day 4 – Athlone

shannon river cruise parking downton athlone

Athlone is residence to the world’s oldest pub and we parked our boat straight in entrance of this historic landmark. The pub is positioned straight on the Shannon River and Le Boat has prime docking areas proper within the heart of city. If it’s full, you may also park on the marina a bit of bit earlier than city, however we suggest attending to Athlone early to get a spot at this prime location. We have been inside strolling distance from all over the place. And had a thousand-dollar-a-night view from our prime location.

Cruise on the Shannon River Seans Bar

There are so many issues to do in Athlone, that it is without doubt one of the high vacationer locations in Ireland. It’s a preferred cease for tour buses touring between Dublin and Galway and for good purpose.

Wander via its Medieval Streets to peruse its retailers, eating places, and cafes. And be sure that to go to Athlone Castle which dominates the waterfront. Our boat was only a few quick steps away from this historic landmark relationship again to 1210. You can take guided excursions via the citadel grounds.

Sean’s Bar – World’s Oldest Pub

Cruise on the Shannon River Worlds oldest pub

The World’s Oldest Pub was positively a spotlight. The Guinness Book of World Records says that it’s Europe’s oldest pub, however the proof exhibits that it’s truly The World’s Oldest repeatedly working pub. They have the paperwork to show it. Sean’s Bar dates again to 500 AD and it was throughout renovations within the Nineteen Seventies that they discovered thousand-year-old cash and the unique construction product of Wattle and Wicker.

Cruise on the Shannon River Athlone Bastion Gallery

This city was made much more well-known when Michael Jackson stopped in to drop some huge cash within the Bastion Gallery. Athlone actually is a gem of a Shannon River Cruise and plenty of Shannoriver cruisers use this as a base and easily do day excursions from right here.

Day 5 – Athlone to Shannonbridge

Cruise on the Shannon River Views

Today is an exquisite day so be sure that to depart vivid and early to take your time at one of the extraordinary stops on the Shannon River. Today you go to the spectacular Clonmacnoise. This cease is an historical metropolis that showcases a Sixth-century monastic settlement.

We left Athlone as quickly because the locks opened to make it to Clonmacnoise earlier than the crowds. Even although you’ll be able to dock your boat right here on the Shannon River, bus excursions frequent this surprise of Ireland. So you can be sharing it with overland vacationers.

Clonmacnoise

Cruise on the Shannon River Clonmacnoise

Clonmacnoise is a monastic settlement from the Sixth century. Pulling as much as the dock is unimaginable unto itself. The very first thing that comes into view is the excessive fort overlooking the Shannon River. As you stroll up the trail in direction of the doorway, the crosses and church buildings become visible and you might be in for one thing particular.

Cruise on the Shannon River Clonmacnoise Abbey

Plan to spend two hours having fun with Clonmacnoise. Your go to begins with a 15-minute movie explaining the historical past of the monastery adopted by a guided tour. The guided tour provides perception into the crosses and grounds, and is nice to participate in however it is usually good to stay round after the gang leaves (And earlier than the following one arrives).

During that point, you might have time to benefit from the grounds by yourself. There are greater than 700 early Christian gravestones, excessive towers, and unimaginable stone crosses.

Cruise on the Shannon River Clonmacnoise North Cross

Inside the museum is implausible as effectively. Make positive to maintain a watch out for The North Cross, which appears much like the cross on the Book of Kells. Read extra: 34 of the Best Things to do in Dublin, Ireland

Since this web site is without doubt one of the early Christian settlements, Clonmacnoise is a well-liked non secular pilgrimage, and Pope John Paul II gave mass right here in 1979.

Overnight at Shannonbridge

Cruise on the Shannon River Shannonbridge

Tonight is the evening we docked at Shannonbridge which is one other spotlight of a Shannon River Cruise. Like so many locations that we docked throughout our Le Boat journey on the Shannon, we parked proper downtown and will stroll all over the place. In truth, we have been as soon as once more in entrance of a well-known Ireland pub! Luker’s Bar Shannonbridge is residence to one of many best-preserved pubs in all of Ireland. Luker’s Bar is so well-known that it’s on the Irish Bar Calendar that includes well-known bars within the nation.

Cruise on the Shannon River Lukers Bar Shannonbridge

We have been fortunate as a result of John, the proprietor was serving that evening and he took us on a tour into his genuine pub that has barely modified because the 1750s. There is the final remaining Victoria Regina Fireplace in all the British Isles, outdated picket tables the place you’ll be able to nearly odor the scent of an 18th-century celebration and memorabilia from a bygone period.

Cruise on the Shannon River Old Lukers Bar Shannonbridge
Owner Jon with Dave in Ireland’s most genuine historic pub

You could wish to spend all of your time within the pub when docking your boats on the River Shannon, however be sure that to enterprise out to discover extra of Shannonbridge. The bridge itself is an exquisite arched construction that was accomplished within the 1700s. There is a spectacular outdated fort positioned proper on the River Shannon the place you’ll be able to seize a espresso and discover the martello towers.

Cruise on the Shannon River Shannonbridge Fort

The fort was constructed to safe the Shannon River from an invasion by Napoleon and there are a lot issues to see. If you might be searching for dwell music, Killeen’s Bar has music on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday nights from May to October.

It could also be a small city, however you’ll be able to handle to go pub hopping in Shannonbridge. That’s simply the way in which issues are in Ireland.

Day 6 – Banagher

Cruise on the Shannon River Banagher

Banagher is a stunning subsequent cease on the River Shannon cruise the place you’ll be staying in a big marina. This marina has showers, laundry, and close by meals vans within the excessive season. It’s a really quick stroll to city to get pleasure from loads of pubs and eating places. Make positive to go to the River Shannon Brewery to take a break from Guinness and check out their artisan craft beers the Martello Tower and Crank Red Ale.

Cruise on the Shannon River Banagher Restaurants

It was on this city that we loved considered one of our favourite dinners on the River Shannon. Sadly, I fully forgot its identify, however for those who stroll right into a again alleyway not far into city, you’ll come out to a picturesque courtyard. Dave and I discovered it whereas searching for a espresso store and so they had scrumptious cappuccinos. While sipping our espresso, we made a reservation for that evening.

This beautiful restaurant is a brand new addition to the city with implausible meals and an exquisite environment. At the time of writing they didn’t have their liquor license but, however they allowed us to deliver our personal wine.

Cruise on the Shannon River Banagher River Pool

One of the extra distinctive issues to do in Banagher is to hop in for a swim within the River Shannon on the Banagher Swimming pool which is positioned proper within the waters of the river.

Day 7 – Portumna Castle

Cruise on the Shannon River Portmuna Castle

Our remaining drive alongside the Shannon River earlier than our final night was an exquisite journey via Lough Derg to Portumna. We counsel passing Portumna and making your method to the marina in entrance of Portumna Castle. It is thru the bridge and you’ll have to time it based on your timetable that you simply’ll obtain from Le Boat, however belief me, you’ll want to keep in entrance of the citadel.

Cruise on the Shannon River Portmuna Abbey

Portumna Castle is a gem of Ireland and each King James I and Queen Elizabeth I visited this beautiful citadel. You can take a tour of the citadel grounds and inside there’s a cafe providing recent espresso and meals that may be visited free of charge. Luckily we had our bike leases and loved a pleasant journey via the picturesque Portumna Forest Park.

Cruise on the Shannon River Portmuna Town

There are loads of pubs, eating places and buying on the town and as is the case with all the cities and villages on the Shannon River, an fascinating church and a few outdated ruins.

The Abbey Ruins positioned between the citadel and city will be simply explored throughout your stroll and are fully free to enter. They have been a spotlight of the numerous issues to see on the River Shannon.

Day 8 – Final Night Portumna Dock

Cruise on the Shannon River Portmuna Dock

It was a 9 am take a look at the following day, so we left Portumna Castle within the afternoon to make the ultimate bridge crossing again to the Le Boat dock in Portumna. This dock is an remoted place to verify to have what you want for the evening. You can order meals and have it delivered for a flat charge from city. The Le Boat workers have been good sufficient to make a name for us and we ordered Italian meals for our remaining evening on the River Shannon.

We spent the evening enjoyable and packing as much as be off the boat and prepared for our shuttle again to Dublin vivid and early.

Our Le Boat journey had come to an finish, however the reminiscences created will final a lifetime.

About a Shannon River Cruise

Cruise on the Shannon River FAQ Cruising

Our route took us from Carrick on Shannon to Portumna. It was an 8-day cruise and we spent about 3 hours every day on the Water.

  • Our journey spanned 160 km / 5 locks / 2 Bridges / 20 hours of cruising
  • Locks are open Monday – Saturday 09:00am -8 pm and Sundays 10:00am-6:00pm
  • When renting a Le Boat, every part is included. They offer you sensible playing cards if have to function the locks. Most of the time they aren’t wanted, however I’ve learn that they’re required on the Shannon Erne.
  • Life Jackets have to be worn on the locks.
  • This is the proper journey for rookies as no expertise is required. The days are enjoyable and also you’ll glide into every city early sufficient to discover and luxuriate in.
Cruise on the Shannon River Le Boat

Be ready for Irish climate, it may flip right away and we skilled plenty of rain. We needed to drive from under most days, however we had the warmth on and the snacks flowing as we took within the leisurely tempo of exploring the Shannon.

The wonderful thing about visiting Ireland is that if the climate is unhealthy, the pubs are open with pleasant and welcoming folks ready to heat you up with a pleasant pint of Guinness by the fireplace.

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