A cruise on the Shannon River with Le Boat is among the most unusual methods to discover Eire taking you thru the guts of the nation and its lengthy historical past. Once you select an Irish River cruise, you will have the possibility to self-drive alongside Eire’s historical freeway to historic ruins and well-known castles. Every city alongside the River Shannon welcomes bargers with open arms and ice-cold pints of Guinness as gifted musicians entertain the gang with vigorous conventional music.
Cruising the Shannon will be the purpose, however getting off the boat to expertise Irish hospitality is what creates recollections to final a lifetime. In case you are planning a cruise on the Shannon, we’re going to offer you all the knowledge it’s essential take advantage of your journey. Proper now, Le Boat is providing early reserving financial savings of 10% till November 30 for the 2023 season. Take a look at all their locations in Europe and Canada. See particulars right here.
Cruising on the Shannon
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 season earlier than. We had been wanting ahead to cruising the River Shannon because it regarded much like a Rideau Canal cruise with extra open water and lakes than the lengthy and slender Canal du Midi. Eire has a particular place in our journey hearts and we had been going to go to locations in Eire that we hadn’t seen earlier than.
- Examine different Le Boat River Cruise experiences:
In regards to the Shannon River
The Shannon River is the longest river in Eire spanning 360 km by means of the guts of the nation. It begins in Shannon Pot in County Cavan within the north of Eire and ends in County Limerick on the Shannon Estuary.
Our Shannon River Cruise Route
Throughout our 8-day Shannon River Cruise, we traveled from Carrick on Shannon from the Le Boat workplace. (Emerald Star in Eire) to Portumna the place Le Boat has one other workplace. Boats are all parked of their marina with full energy and amenities.
In Eire, Le Boat is named Emerald Star. Emerald Star has been Eire’s Quantity 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 Count on on a Cruise on the River Shannon
Carrick on Shannon to Portumna (or visa versa) is among the hottest routes for Shannon River Barge Cruisers. It’s a 160 km journey that takes you thru 5 locks and below 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’re sitting again to chill out. As you may see from the map, we lined quite a lot of Eire.
We had been shocked with simply what number of Irish had been cruising the Shannon River on both their very own boats or with boat leases. It undoubtedly reminded us quite a lot of the Rideau Canal in Canada in that sense. When cruising that canal, we noticed many impartial boaters benefit from the UNESCO World Heritage Website.
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 select up provides and he was pleased 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, however it was good to have the ability to load meals into the van and offload it straight on the dock.
Do you Want Boating Expertise to Cruise the Shannon River?
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 velocity 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 they usually make driving simple.
Our information walked us by means of the heating and air con and all the controls that we’d be utilizing throughout 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 point he left the boat, we felt assured to begin navigating our approach alongside the Shannon River.
Day 1 – Carrick on Shannon
We spent the evening at Carrick on Shannon and immediately fell in love with this city. There are many issues to do in Carrick on Shannon that you would spend 2 nights within the city.
Carrick on Shannon is a vigorous metropolis crammed with pubs which might be packed to the hilt. We discovered that it’s a widespread Stag and Hen social gathering vacation spot within the UK and marriage ceremony events had flown in from throughout Britain to rejoice.
It was simple to discover a pub the place we launched my brother Jim to a correct pint of Guinness. Earlier than Eire, he vowed that he wouldn’t turn 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.
One to not miss vacation spot within the coronary heart of downtown Carrick on Shannon is Costello Memorial Chapel. It’s mentioned to be the second smallest chapel on the earth and was made by Edward Costello who devoted it to his spouse who died in 1877. Each their tombs are on show below glass inside.
Day 2 – Carrick on Shannon 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 they usually provide you with pots and pans, dishes, and cutlery. By ordering the picnic starter equipment, we additionally had salt and pepper, olive oil and tin foil. All we wanted to buy on the grocery retailer was the meals and snacks we wished 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.
You possibly can stroll out to the railway museum and might take a brief trip on the still-operating steam prepare. Exterior you’ll see basic cars, an outdated bus, an airplane, and a submarine. Contained in the museum, there are weapons on show from WWII.
Should you aren’t going to cook dinner lunch on the boat, we propose stopping for lunch on the Brandywell Bar Restaurant and Lodge to attempt some Guinness Pie or you may 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 certain to guide a desk upfront for dinner.
In a single day in Tarmonbarry
After a few hours at Dromod, we made our option to Tarmonbarry the place we spent the evening on this vigorous city. We had been informed that we’d have to name the bridge keeper to get below the bridge, however as he was driving by, he yelled over to us, saying we’d make it. Simply go gradual! Solely in Eire eh?
We adopted his recommendation and slowly crossed below the bridge ducking our heads as we handed. We had been in Tarmonbarry with loads of hours to spare earlier than sundown.
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 trip than anticipated, however after biking by means of 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 inclined to a sick comrade. With no boat in sight, we turned an enormous boulder right into a watercraft to cross the river. We noticed mentioned boulder in all its glory at Whitehall Church simply north of City.
This can be a nice 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 Backyard.
Day 3 – Tarmonbarry to 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 very good place to stretch your legs within the morning.
It was then off to Lanesborough simply in time for lunch.
Be certain 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 very good cup of espresso as we set out every day to discover a scrumptious espresso store. We all the time discovered what we wanted!
Lanesborough to Athlone
We parked our boat by the bridge throughout the Shannon River from Lanesborough. It’s right here that you may discover the dual cities of Lanesborough and Ballyleague. Sling Shot Gin is distilled proper on this city and you’ll cease in for a style and to buy an Irish memento.
Don’t miss visiting St. John’s church which dates all the best way again to the start of the Christian custom in Eire throughout the fifth Century. Lanesborough is a good place to take pleasure in lunch and to stretch your legs earlier than transferring on to your cease for the evening, Athlone.
In a single day in Athlone
Athlone is the biggest metropolis in your Shannon River Cruise and we propose spending two nights right here should you can. I’d moderately do day journeys out to Lanesborough and Loch Ree throughout 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
Athlone is house 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 middle of city. Whether it is full, you can even park on the marina just a little bit earlier than city, however we suggest attending to Athlone early to get a spot at this prime location. We had been inside strolling distance from in every single place. And had a thousand-dollar-a-night view from our prime location.
There are such a lot of issues to do in Athlone, that it is among the high vacationer locations in Eire. It’s a preferred cease for tour buses touring between Dublin and Galway and for good cause.
Wander by means of its Medieval Streets to peruse its outlets, eating places, and cafes. And ensure to go to Athlone Fort which dominates the waterfront. Our boat was only a few quick steps away from this historic landmark relationship again to 1210. You possibly can take guided excursions by means of the citadel grounds.
Sean’s Bar – World’s Oldest Pub
The World’s Oldest Pub was undoubtedly a spotlight. The Guinness Guide of World Information says that it’s Europe’s oldest pub, however the proof exhibits that it’s really The World’s Oldest repeatedly working pub. They’ve 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 fabricated from Wattle and Wicker.
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 lots of Shannoriver cruisers use this as a base and easily do day excursions from right here.
Day 5 – Athlone to Shannonbridge
At present is a fantastic day so be certain to go away brilliant and early to take your time at one of the extraordinary stops on the Shannon River. At present 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. Regardless that you may dock your boat right here on the Shannon River, bus excursions frequent this marvel of Eire. So you can be sharing it with overland vacationers.
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 the direction of the doorway, the crosses and church buildings become visible and you understand you’re in for one thing particular.
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 gives perception into the crosses and grounds, and is sweet to participate in however it’s also good to stay round after the gang leaves (And earlier than the following one arrives).
Throughout that point, you will have time to benefit from the grounds by yourself. There are greater than 700 early Christian gravestones, excessive towers, and unimaginable stone crosses.
Contained in the museum is incredible as properly. Be certain to maintain a watch out for The North Cross, which seems much like the cross on the Guide of Kells. Learn extra: 34 of the Greatest Issues to do in Dublin, Eire
Since this website is among the early Christian settlements, Clonmacnoise is a well-liked non secular pilgrimage, and Pope John Paul II gave mass right here in 1979.
In a single day at 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 in every single place. The truth is, we had been as soon as once more in entrance of a well-known Eire pub! Luker’s Bar Shannonbridge is house to one of many best-preserved pubs in all of Eire. Luker’s Bar is so well-known that it’s on the Irish Bar Calendar that includes well-known bars within the nation.
We had 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 may be the final remaining Victoria Regina Hearth in all the British Isles, outdated wood tables the place you may nearly odor the scent of an 18th-century social gathering and memorabilia from a bygone period.
You could wish to spend all of your time within the pub when docking your boats on the River Shannon, however be certain to enterprise out to discover extra of Shannonbridge. The bridge itself is a fantastic arched construction that was accomplished within the 1700s. There’s a spectacular outdated fort positioned proper on the River Shannon the place you may seize a espresso and discover the martello towers.
The fort was constructed to safe the Shannon River from an invasion by Napoleon and there are loads issues to see. In case you are on the lookout for dwell music, Killeen’s Bar has music on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday nights from Could to October.
It could be a small city, however you may handle to go pub hopping in Shannonbridge. That’s simply the best way issues are in Eire.
Day 6 – 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 take pleasure in loads of pubs and eating places. Be certain 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 Crimson Ale.
It was on this city that we loved considered one of our favourite dinners on the River Shannon. Sadly, I utterly forgot its identify, however should you stroll right into a again alleyway not far into city, you’ll come out to a picturesque courtyard. Dave and I discovered it whereas on the lookout for a espresso store they usually had scrumptious cappuccinos. Whereas sipping our espresso, we made a reservation for that evening.
This beautiful restaurant is a brand new addition to the city with incredible meals and a beautiful environment. On the time of writing they didn’t have their liquor license but, however they allowed us to carry our personal wine.
One of many 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 Fort
Our remaining drive alongside the Shannon River earlier than our final night was a fantastic journey by means of Lough Derg to Portumna. We recommend passing Portumna and making your option to the marina in entrance of Portumna Fort. It’s by means of the bridge and you’ll have to time it in accordance with your timetable that you simply’ll obtain from Le Boat, however belief me, it would be best to keep in entrance of the citadel.
Portumna Fort is a gem of Eire and each King James I and Queen Elizabeth I visited this beautiful citadel. You possibly can take a tour of the citadel grounds and inside there’s a cafe providing contemporary espresso and meals that may be visited at no cost. Fortunately we had our bike leases and loved a pleasant trip by means of the picturesque Portumna Forest Park.
There are many pubs, eating places and buying on the town and as is the case with all the cities and villages on the Shannon River, an attention-grabbing church and a few outdated ruins.
The Abbey Ruins positioned between the citadel and city will be simply explored throughout your stroll and are utterly free to enter. They had been a spotlight of the various issues to see on the River Shannon.
Day 8 – Ultimate Night time Portumna Dock
It was a 9 am try the following day, so we left Portumna Fort within the afternoon to make the ultimate bridge crossing again to the Le Boat dock in Portumna. This dock is an remoted place to ensure to have what you want for the evening. You possibly can order meals and have it delivered for a flat charge from city. The Le Boat workers had 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 stress-free and packing as much as be off the boat and prepared for our shuttle again to Dublin brilliant and early.
Our Le Boat journey had come to an finish, however the recollections created will final a lifetime.
A couple of Shannon River Cruise
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. More often than not they don’t seem to be wanted, however I’ve learn that they’re required on the Shannon Erne.
- Life Jackets have to be worn on the locks.
- That is the proper journey for newcomers as no expertise is required. The times are stress-free and also you’ll glide into every city early sufficient to discover and luxuriate in.
Be ready for Irish climate, it could possibly flip instantly and we skilled quite a lot 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 Eire is that if the climate is dangerous, the pubs are open with pleasant and welcoming individuals ready to heat you up with a pleasant pint of Guinness by the hearth.